You can’t help but feel like the discussions pertaining to Apple vs Android are a little bit futile. And yet, here we are once again wrapped up in the mobile gaming equivalent of groundhog day. The mobile gaming industry itself has evolved from low effort, pixelated titles to games which often wouldn’t look out of place on a next-generation console. As Apple launches iOS 13 to rival Android’s 10 operating system, the question of which is more superior in a gaming sense has once again reared its head. But is there any real noticeable difference between the two? And if there is, how much should you care?
Availability of Games
The Google Play Store is home to almost 3 million apps, which is slightly larger than the estimated 2.2 million on offer from Apple’s App Store. However, this is largely down to Google’s looser policy when it comes to what is accepted into their app store. It’s also worth pointing out that Android phones allow users to access third-party app stores, as well as the ability to “sideload” apps through the manual insertion of .apk files. In gaming terms, users are generally spoilt for choice regardless of the operating system that they use; around 25% of offerings from both platforms are gaming related. For the most part, there is little to choose between the two in terms of availability and this is not a particularly important consideration when choosing which operating system to game on.
With Google Stadia set to release at the end of the year, the streaming service will be in direct competition with Apple’s Arcade platform. Although many are of the opinion that Apple Arcade will triumph in the latest next-gen war, it’s far too early to tell and if nothing else, their release will certainly add a new dynamic to the competition between the two. When it comes to the running of casual games, both iOS and Android are well capable of handling whatever is thrown at them. Those who want to play Golden Ticket slots online, for example, or other online slot games will find that that both Android and Apple devices handle the high-quality graphics and gameplay without problem. While Android devices usually have the better specs on paper, Apple arguably just edges the performance aspect thanks to better operating system optimization.
It’s fair to say that both Apple and Google have had their fair share of problems with fake games over the years. However, the Play Store is traditionally more susceptible, with some of the platform’s most high-profile games affected. Back in 2016, tens of thousands of users downloaded fake versions of Pokémon GO and infected their devices with malware as a result. In the case of the spoofed game, Pokémon GO Ultimate, the software had the ability to lock a user’s phone and secretly visit inappropriate sites in the background. This has also happened on the Play Store with other popular titles such as Minecraft and Super Mario Run. With this in mind, Apple certainly has the edge over Google in the security stakes.
Take Your Pick
A quick perusal of the internet would suggest that iOS is the better platform for those who take their gaming exploits a little more seriously than the casual gamer. However, for casual gamers, there really isn’t much to choose between the two. The upcoming release of Google Stadia and Apple Arcade could certainly see a shift in the balance of power but until both services have had time to settle into the market, it’s difficult to assess the impact this will have on the whole debate. Ultimately. the large majority of neutral observers still believe that the choice is down to personal preference.