PopCap Games: "Android is far from the best business for most players on the market"

The high level of fragmentation on Android prevents developers from making money on their own applications, says David Roberts, executive director of PopCap Games. 

By fragmentation, he means not only a variety of Android devices, but also a large number of active versions of the platform (assemblies), as well as a variety of available app stores.  


Android is far from the best business for most players on the market,” says Roberts. – “I’m sure there are those who make money on this platform, but significant sales of devices will not turn this platform into a gaming business, which, as it seems to me, some so dream of.”

PopCap games are available on both iOS and Android, but Roberts believes that it is much easier to develop and promote games on iOS. 

Developers can’t solve this problem on Android, they want to, but they can’t. It is impossible to support all payment systems, to be present in every application market, as well as to engage in marketing on each of them,” he explains. – “Due to the lack of a single market like Apple’s, Android is not as attractive.” 

However, with the creation of large, unified application stores with large user bases, this fragmentation problem can be solved over time,” Roberts also believes.


Last week, PopCap announced as many as two projects exclusive to China under the Plants vs. Zombies brand. Their support and distribution will be handled by the largest Internet provider in China – Tencent (the number of users of its QQ Game Center reaches 220 million). 

The first project – Plants vs. Zombies Great Wall Edition – will be available to Chinese Android users on May 18. A little later, the company will also launch – curiously, on Android and phones that support Java – a multiplayer game called Plants vs. Zombies Kingdoms. 

Plants vs. Zombies is one of the most popular mobile games on the Chinese market. The number of its downloads ranges somewhere between 120 and 150 million installations. But most of them fall on the pirate market. The official number of Plants vs. Zombies downloads in China has reached a “modest” 15 million downloads.

The Shanghai office of PopCap, founded in 2008, sees the solution to the problem in the development of all new applications initially based on freemium. In their opinion, this business model has performed well in China.

In addition, Roberts claims that freemium-the experience gained in China, the company is going to transfer to other countries, including the United States.

Our task is to make the game a service, not just a separate project,” Roberts emphasizes, “and not only in Asia, but all over the world.”

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