Epic says Android fragmentation is a major issue, speaks on future development plans

So some random gaming site called The SlowDown took the time to site down and talk to Epic’s Vice President, Jay Wilbur, to talk about development of games on the mobile platform among other things. Jay Wilbur mentions that one major hurdle is the hardware fragmentation that Android currently has… really?

Jay Wilbur explains two points that are pretty much stopping Epic from developing for Android at this point in time. One being the hardware fragmentation issue Android is apparently facing although the reason used to be OS fragmentation. Second is the actual Android Market and what Jay Wilbur calls the Market Fragmentation.

The issue with the Android Market isn’t even really about the actual market itself for the most part but all the 3rd party app stores. Epic believe that they must submit something to all these stores apparently.

“The other thing is marketplace fragmentation, there are so many different appstores out there. The Android marketplace is a little more difficult [to develop for] because there is less control. I think the Android marketplace is robust … I find it very easy to buy things on it, it’s just that Apple has very tight control. So anything in the Apple world is perfect. It’s just perfect. We like that, we like that a lot. We know that it’s just gonna work. Sometimes that’s not always the case in the Android marketplace.” – Jay Wilbur, Vice President, Epic

Granted the Android Market is an open marketplace where just about anyone can submit something to it but that is part of the beauty of it. If you are a good developer with a great game, you’ll be successful whereas if you release crap, you won’t be but it gives everyone the freedom to try. A second bonus to the market is the fact you can submit updates to your game without having to wait for 2 weeks just to get a small bug fix or new content approved in your update.

Perhaps being cautious of the marketplace is one thing but we find it difficult to swallow the excuse of hardware fragmentation coming from a company that developers for multiple platforms including PC which is riddled with fragmentation thanks to being able to customize your desktop to however you like it.

So what are Epic’s current plans for developing on Android?

“No, right now all our development activity is focused on iOS, it has nothing to do with anyone else.”

Of course this hasn’t stopped other developers from using the Unreal Engine 3 to develop for Android such as Trendy Entertainment’s Dungeon Defenders: First Wave. Jay Wilbur does show off Epic Citadel during the interview running on a Galaxy S phone but it isn’t for public release and we got to play with it at CES 2011 running on the Dell Streak 7 Tegra 2 tablet. Seems hardware fragmentation isn’t that big of an issue does it?

You can check out the full interview over at The SlowDown.

Website Referenced: The SlowDown via PocketGamer

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