Gameloft May Be Cutting Back On Android Development, But Not Everyone Else Is

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The iPhone store is processing about five times more downloads than its Android counterpart, and according to sentiments from mobile gaming company *Gameloft*, it’s a trend that will continue, because there will be fewer games — specifically — for Android users to buy.

At an investor conference, Alexandre de Rochefort, Gameloft’s finance director, said the company had “significantly cut” its investment in the Android platform for two reasons: *Google* “has not been very good” at enticing users to buy mobile content through the Android store, and Gameloft (EPA: GFT) — as well as other developers — haven’t been making “significant revenue” as a result (via Reuters).

Gameloft’s overall revs were up nearly 15 percent to $44.2 million (30.1 million euros) in Q3; the company said 13 percent of that — or roughly $5.7 million — came from iPhone games. “We are selling 400 times more games on iPhone than on Android,” de Rochefort said.

Fair enough, but for Rochefort to say that “many others” were cutting back, without offering an inkling of who, seems a bit premature. In terms of other developers, Glu Mobile (NSDQ: GLUU) says it plans to invest in new social games for both the iPhone and Android, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) shut down mobile service Yahoo Go, and will be building apps for smartphones running Android as well. Publishers like CBS (NYSE: CBS) have also recently launched Android apps, signaling a gradual shift toward the platform, not away from it.

Rochefort also limited his critique of the Android store to a simple statement: “It’s not as neatly done as the iPhone.” That also seems more like just spouting off than offering real market insight. The iPhone’s App Store has about a year over the Android store in terms of streamlining the payment process — not to mention market penetration — and people can also buy apps through their PCs. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has also had to upgrade the App Store interface multiple times (at the behest of developers) to make it easier to find games; perhaps Google would benefit from doing the same with the Android store.

There’s also one big carrot that Android can dangle for developers — a virtually non-existent app approval process. Companies can pretty-much make a game, a streaming video app, or whatever, and get it into the market sans hassle from Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Apple’s App Store approval process has proven so difficult, that it’s driven high-profile developers like Facebook’s Joe Hewitt to actually quit working on future projects.


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