id Software’s Carmack: Just not enough money to be made on Android vs. iOS

John Carmack, technical director at id Software, spoke with Sam Bandah for NowGamer.

On questione and answer is of particular interest:

NowGamer: With Rage HD on iOS do you see yourself ever working on Android?

Carmack: Every six months I’d take a look at the scope of the Android, and decide if it was time to start really looking at it. At the last Quakecon I took a show of hands poll, and it was interesting to see how almost as many people there had an Android device as an iOS device. But when I asked how many peple had spent 20 bucks on a game in the Android store, there was a big difference. You’re just not making money in the Android space as you are in the iOS space.

We made more money than people may expect on the Doom RPG stuff. It’s just fun to develop on iOS. We’d show people what we were working on and they’d go “Oh, when are you going to ship that? And I’d say ‘next month’ and they’d go “Aww, I wanna work on an iPhone title.”

It’s hard to make a rational business decision to say I want to take resources from something else and put them on this. We did actually hire a person to be our Android guy, but it looks like he’s going to get stuck on iOS development!

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: iLounge. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “btn” for the heads up.]


  1. iOS is the place to be if you are a developer and you want to make money. I have both the iPod Touch and the iPad as well as a HTC EVO. I am 100 times more likely to drop money on iOS apps than Android apps. If I do download an app for my EVO it’s usually a free one, especially if it’s one of Amazon’s free app of the day.

  2. It’s like I always thought; the Android otaku are simply the same old group that want everything for free. They’re cheapskates who get what they pay for.

  3. I’m not sure I care either way.

    I would never spend $20 on a game for my android phone, and I sure as hell didn’t spend $20 for any games when I had my iPhone.

    Now my xbox 360 that is a different story. I’ve spent $60 on a game for it.

  4. As a successful iOS developer (hobby) with yearly income approaching what some physicians make (profession) I’m often tempted to port my successful apps to Android. But I know that the users of Android won’t really pay for quality apps and I just forget about it. Here is one successful developer who is iOS only.

    I feel that it is the independent quality developers that will make or break an OS. Large developers (Angry birds, Facebook etc.) will always get ported to every OS since they have the resources to do this and can use a small investment in development to generate many additional users. The really small – build it in a day or two developers (iFart, flashlight, etc) will also go to any platform because these only take a few days to write. But the independent developers that take time to build quality products with limited resources that sets the OS apart will only develop for what gives them their most bang for their time and that is iOS.

    I think that this is why in the android store, you see only big developers and a whole bunch of crap.

    1. Out of curiosity doc what apps have you developed? And would you be willing to share roughly how much you have made. It would be useful to know for budding developers looking for encourage to take the plunge and develop their own apps.

  5. The really funny thing is that it’s not just the game app developers. No one knows exactly how much Google has spent and is spending on Android. We also don’t know how much ad/search income they accrue to Android. If it were a good story, we likely would. Then their handset makers are forced to advertise massively, underprice iPhones, and then go further with BOGO deals. So Androids are forever linked to customers who are loyal only to the lowest price, who don’t spend much money on apps. Nobody makes money except Apple and their developers. The Android sector is filled with companies losing money because mobile is the future and they just have to be in the game.

      1. damn thats a really low end phone too!

        On contract its normally like $50. You aren’t getting much a deal to sign up for 2 years!

        Its under $200 at full retail.

  6. We did actually hire a person to be our Android guy, but it looks like he’s going to get stuck on iOS development!

    That guy probably doesn’t realize how lucky he is!

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