Developing for 'all or nothing' iOS ended up losing us money, says Jeff Minter

Developing for 'all or nothing' iOS ended up losing us money, says Jeff Minter
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

June 24th 2016 at 11:00AM

‘Despite excellent reviews and the sheer number of devices out there which you might think make it viable, we couldn’t in any way justify carrying on with it’

Llamasoft founder Jeff Minter has revealed that the studio was forced to abandon development for iOS after the platform proved to be unsustainable.

The Space Giraffe, Tempest 2000 and Gridrunner creator said on the dev's blog: “We spent two years doing games on iOS and in the end we stopped doing them because the income generated from them was so tiny that it ended up actually costing us money.

“Despite excellent reviews both by users and on relevant gaming websites, and notwithstanding the sheer number of iOS devices out there which would, you might think, make it viable for even stuff slightly off mainstream to find enough of an audience to comfortably sustain them, this proved not to be the case and we couldn’t in any way justify carrying on with it.”

Llamasoft’s first iOS title Minotaur Rescue was released in 2011 and followed by other games including GoatUp, Super Ox Wars and a Gridrunner spin-off. The developer’s latest mobile effort was 2013 sequel GoatUp 2.

“The hardware was nice to work with and well suited to the kind of games I like to do, and I enjoyed the challenge of overcoming the difficulty of doing decent controls on a touchscreen and making something you could happily play on a phone or tablet,” Minter said.

“The sad thing is that if only there’d been a few more users, if only we’d been able to charge a couple of quid instead of a pittance, I could have been quite happy doing more of those little games indefinitely. I really enjoyed the short turnaround time on projects and being able to work on fun little designs that fit well on the platform.

“I never really expected to get Angry Birds rich or anything, I would have been quite happy just to get by, but in the end mobile these days seems to be all-or-nothing, with most developers falling to the ‘nothing’ side of the divide, and not much room for that middle ground I was looking for.”