We haven’t gotten any requests for Windows Phone 7 versions of King of Dragon Pass, but we know some of you wish you could play it on your Android phone (or I suppose other Android device, though not many of those have sold).
I’ve written before about how Android was not a possible platform when we started the iOS version. (Not just unviable, impossible.) Even if it had been, A Sharp is a small studio, and can only do one project at a time.
So what about now? King of Dragon Pass is released on iOS, after all.
Well yes, but it’s not done. We’re still working on Accessibility, using VoiceOver technology to allow blind players to enjoy the game.
On the other hand, that effort is pretty far along. Why not do Android next?
I always hate to say “no,” but I think an Android port is extremely unlikely.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that device and OS fragmentation is not a problem. And let’s assume that Android piracy is somehow dealt with (or is actually no worse than iOS piracy).
As I keep saying, King of Dragon Pass is a big project. It took 20 calendar months to do an iOS version (admittedly there were some months in there when we undertook other projects). All of the user interface code would have to be written from scratch for Android. Much of the user interface art would need to be reworked (since not all Android devices have a 480 x 320 pixel screen). So an Android version is close to the same amount of effort.
A Sharp has no expertise in Android development. In theory, we could get someone else to do it. However, they would no doubt want to be paid. (Coding 40 screens is a lot of work, if I haven’t mentioned that.) Since King of Dragon Pass is a proven product with a good reputation, it might make sense for someone to do this for royalties. However, the studio we talked to mentioned that Android users are notorious for not being willing to pay for anything. (They do both iOS and Android.) So given the scope of the project, they were not interested.
The alternative is to pay someone prior to release (and thus take on the risk of Android users living up to their notoriety). If King of Dragon Pass had become a smash hit, the risk would be less, and there would be more money to pay for the development. Unfortunately, King of Dragon Pass is probably among the top 25% of games by revenue, but it is not a smash hit.
I suppose another great risk we could take would to create a version for Kindle Fire. That’s close enough to mainstream Android that it would be easy to then do an Android version. The upside may be higher (Amazon actually knows how to sell stuff — both the Fire itself and products for it), but the drawbacks are the same. (It’s still a big project we can’t do or afford.) And I am extremely dubious about how Amazon treats app developers.
So at the moment, I see no road that would lead to an Android version. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but the ways to make it happen didn’t materialize.
But hey, it took 10 months for an Android version of Angry Birds to come out. Something might happen in the next 10 months. But don’t hold your breath.