Game developers gain faith in Android

by Kristen Nicole

OpenFeint & The9 fund Android game ports

One driving factor for Android’s gaming success is the ongoing participation of platforms like OpenFeint, offering cross-network developer tools to publishers. With Android seeking global domination, mobile gaming is a worldwide unifier, as OpenFeint and Chinese game publisher The9 team up to create a fund for game developers looking to port their games to Android devices. An investor in OpenFeint, The9 will tap its $100 million Internet investment fund to finance the selected developers’ port. OpenFeint’s platform will do most of the heavy lifting, further establishing itself as a resource not only for mobile game developers, but for Android games in particular.

This dedication towards the Android platform is a building trend, as Google’s (GOOG) Android OS has been updated significantly since first launching a couple of years ago, and its family of supported devices branches off new broods every day. The support has lent some validation to Android’s platform, especially as revenue generated through Android vs iOS is reaching comparable levels.

Android game revenues increase

At least that’s the case for one game developer, Spacetime Studios. Their popular Pocket Legends 3D MMO Android game is out-performing its Apple (AAPL) counterpart, despite being a top game on both platforms. Pocket Legends on Android receives an average of 5,000 more daily downloads than iOS, with Android users playing the mobile game about three times more than Apple gamers. The disparity is partly attributed to the Android Market’s smaller stature, when compared to the App Store game scene. With in-app purchases becoming a heavy integration point for mobile games, the differences between the Android and Apple operating systems will become more defined.

Android’s global expanse is helping it win big, as its mobile market generates revenue across Europe and Asia as well. Juniper Networks (JNPR) recently reported that mobile entertainment is on the rise in North America, while it makes up 40 percent of mobile revenues in the Far East and Asia. PopCap Games notes that European gamers are getting more active with their purchases, with increases in upgrades to paid versions, and an increase in the amount spent per year, nearly doubling in the past twelve months.