Platforms to Stand OnMy company currently makes games for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.
The first 2 have a good business case. Lots of people run Mac OS X and Windows, and buy games to play. (Thank you to all the customers who keep us small developers alive.)
Linux doesn't have as good a business case for us. Not very many people buy the Linux versions of our games. But, I foresee Linux continuing to grow in leaps and bounds on the desktop. And our codebase is in Java, so it isn't that much extra work to make Linux versions.
The mobile OS wars are warming up fast. In the past we've gotten some scattered requests for PocketPC or Palm versions, but it hasn't seemed worthwhile. Apparently there was good money to be made selling Palm apps in the past, but greedy distributors (hearsay says Handango) and a decaying platform have destroyed it.
J2ME and BREW cellphone apps are making money, but only for a few big companies (at least in North America). The carriers have been very greedy distributors, and locked down their platform tightly.
Apple's iPhone is fresh mobile platform coming on strong. They've publicized their app distribution rate as taking a 30% cut. That's a lot better then most desktop games distributors (Yahoo Games typically takes 70%). Apple has been tremendously successful at iterating the iPod from version1 to perfection. They're following the same process with the iPhone, building a mobile platform from the ground up. I think the iPhone will be one of the long term mobile platform winners.
Google Android is the other mobile platform I'm keeping an eye on. Open-source and available for carriers to build on. Apps are written in the Java language, but using G's own VM and libraries. (A nice end-run around SUN, straight to Java developers.) It hasn't launched on any real phones yet, but I think it has huge potential. The first Android phones are supposed to be available "soon."
You already have a computer in your pocket (your cellphone). The big question for software developers is: what platform is your next one going to run?
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Written by dustin
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