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Are educational (serious) games better for iOS or PC?


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#1 shinypixel   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:36 PM

I found probably four forum sections that related to this question, but I guess that's when you realize you're a game programmer. Since I'm new, but with a target in mind, I thought I'd just throw the question here.

 

I am a professional software engineer. I'm interested in doing side work for making educational games (elementary/middle target). Although I'm used to the PC, I'm wondering about if iOS is a better target.

 

The variables I'm interested in is a good user base of those who may want educational apps, is profitable, and doesn't require too much of a budget to get apps visible to users.

 

My technical experience is fine, though it's mostly in the PC area: The 3 C's, little Obj-C on my Mac, and not just to be a C-family fan, VB.NET. My game programming experience is low, but I'm thinking UI-based games in the beginning since I'm more used to event-driven GUI software.

 

So, with all of that in mind, are educational (serious) games better for iOS or PC?

 

Grazie.


Edited by shinypixel, 26 April 2014 - 07:41 PM.


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#2 SeraphLance   Members   -  Reputation: 1454

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:43 PM

I found probably four forum sections that related to this question, but I guess that's when you realize you're a game programmer. Since I'm new, but with a target in mind, I thought I'd just throw the question here.

 

I am a professional software engineer. I'm interested in doing side work for making educational games. Although I'm used to the PC, I'm wondering about if iOS is a better target.

 

The variables I'm interested in is a good user base of those who may want educational apps, is profitable, and doesn't require too much of a budget to get apps visible to users.

 

My technical experience is fine, though it's mostly in the PC area: The 3 C's, little Obj-C on my Mac, and not just to be a C-family fan, VB.NET.

 

Grazie.

 

It depends somewhat on what your demographic is (for example, I see the iPhone as a stronger platform for very young children, IME).  The question is, why not do both?  There's a plethora of game engines that make cross-platform development fairly easy.  See cocos2d, for example



#3 shinypixel   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:49 PM

Thanks. I'm aware of tools and their pros/cons, but yes, demographics is what I'm wondering on. I didn't think of my niece. She's 5, and the apps helped her tremendously on iOS.

 

Yeah, I can myself porting. I can see myself prototyping a game on PC before I port it elsewhere. Are PCs good platforms for small educational games though? I went to Steam, a popular gaming site, and I didn't see much on education there. That's why I'm wondering if mobile is a better primary target.


Edited by shinypixel, 26 April 2014 - 08:14 PM.


#4 SeraphLance   Members   -  Reputation: 1454

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 08:28 PM

Thanks. I'm aware of tools and their pros/cons, but yes, demographics is what I'm wondering on. I didn't think of my niece. She's 5, and the apps helped her tremendously on iOS.

 

Yeah, I can myself porting. I can see myself prototyping a game on PC before I port it elsewhere. Are PCs good platforms for small educational games though? I went to Steam, a popular gaming site, and I didn't see much on education there. That's why I'm wondering if mobile is a better primary target.

 

Probably.  I'm not an expert on modern educational games, but my 3-year-old nephew absolutely adores his iPad.  Cross-platform development these days though, particularly in a low-complexity space like education games, is practically free.  That's free, free in time, and free in effort.  You get a much larger set of platforms to pick from too, like Android, Mac (which I assume still has a large presence in public education sectors), and Windows Phones.

 

I'd say the correct question to ask when you're worried about market penetration these days isn't "what platform should I develop for?" so much as "how can I develop simultaneously for as many platforms as possible?"


Edited by SeraphLance, 26 April 2014 - 08:29 PM.


#5 shinypixel   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 08:40 PM

I see your point, thanks. I'll go that approach.



#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10160

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:05 AM

1. I found probably four forum sections that related to this question,
2. I'm interested in doing side work for making educational games (elementary/middle target).
3. The variables I'm interested in is a good user base of those who may want educational apps, is profitable, and doesn't require too much of a budget to get apps visible to users.
4. are educational (serious) games better for iOS or PC?
5. I went to Steam, a popular gaming site, and I didn't see much on education there. That's why I'm wondering if mobile is a better primary target.


1. I see this as a business question, so I moved it to Business. Certainly not a beginner question like "which language should I learn" or "what do squiggly-brackets do".
2. Okay. We'll come back to that.
3. There are two audiences: parents and schools.
4. A lot of schools are trying to adopt tablets, particularly the Los Angeles school system - but they're not there yet. Haven't figured out the problems of breakage, loss, and controlling internet access. Desktops don't wander off and get lost, don't get dropped, and can't be handed to a geek to jailbreak. But tablets are more attractive. As the previous poster said, develop for both.
5. That's probably the wrong delivery platform. Have you researched education games and where schools and parents find them?
-- Tom Sloper
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Making games fun and getting them done.
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Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#7 shinypixel   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 11:56 AM

@Tom: Thanks for the thoughts, and I agree this is more business-oriented. Among other classrooms with observing and volunteering, I was observing a special education room, and they used a few desktop computers to play small flash serious games, which were free to play on a single site. There was one professional software they used for improving social behaviors, and it most likely had a large budget. I agree tablets are still getting there, but it's difficult price-wise and possibly fragileness. At certain times, we would hand out tablets or small laptops to learn Spanish, journaling, etc. At the end, from my own experience, I see both being used. It increasingly sounds ideal to reach both ends.

 

That's a good point about if the tearget is teachers or schools. My focus is parents for now.


Edited by shinypixel, 27 April 2014 - 12:07 PM.


#8 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1685

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 12:47 PM

I think the tablet would be best, as many schools are doing that "Bring your Own Technology" and are using tablets a lot. Also, the form factor of a tablet is a lot easier to use for children. The Nabi is a very nice tablet to develop for too(it is sorta gaining popularity), and I have bought one for a little girl also. 

 

Btw, I wish there were more educational apps for adults on IOS. 


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#9 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10631

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:22 AM

Quick aside here, "Serious game" is a term that may not mean exactly the same thing as what you're setting out to do (especially if you're going for kindergarden / elementary school).

 

Based on the title, I was going to say PC, because they're likely to be present in offices where an exercise in Serious Gaming is likely to happen. That being said, for children, I'm afraid I don't have much to contribute to this discussion save for the fact that I've seen and worked on a number of iOS apps aimed at toddlers and pre-schoolers.

The likelyhood that parents have such devices to share with their children has increase dramatically, and kids tend to adapt very easily to the controls of a "tap" interface, moreso than a keyboard and mouse (adults that have grown without tend to be much more proficient with keyboard and mouse, as funny as that may be).



#10 AndreeU717   Members   -  Reputation: 115

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 01:17 AM

I found probably four forum sections that related to this question, but I guess that's when you realize you're a game programmer. Since I'm new, but with a target in mind, I thought I'd just throw the question here.

 

I am a professional software engineer. I'm interested in doing side work for making educational games (elementary/middle target). Although I'm used to the PC, I'm wondering about if iOS is a better target.

 

The variables I'm interested in is a good user base of those who may want educational apps, is profitable, and doesn't require too much of a budget to get apps visible to users.

 

My technical experience is fine, though it's mostly in the PC area: The 3 C's, little Obj-C on my Mac, and not just to be a C-family fan, VB.NET. My game programming experience is low, but I'm thinking UI-based games in the beginning since I'm more used to event-driven GUI software.

 

So, with all of that in mind, are educational (serious) games better for iOS or PC?

 

Grazie.

 

Not sure whether i'm late to the post. But oh well, i might as well give my opinion. Most libraries now a day are cross-platform supportive as a few members mention (skimmed through the thread)! A great library in which i used before some very simple and i mean very simple logic is, LibGDX. This library allows you to create a game application an in the ending results, offers a source code for multiple platforms : Android, iOS, HTML, and Desktop. However, since your more familiar with C languages (the C families) then maybe try Mono for C# and i think C++! Mono is also a cross-platform game engine ! However, during my trials in c#, i never managed to indulge myself into game programming more of a GUI base. Now i'm into C++ an im looking for a game library. Personally i suggest you go with the most comfortable language you know. Search for libraries with cross-platform support. Also as for iOS, please bear in mind that there is a yearly cost of 99$ (United States) and on top of that, your application must be reviewed before submition into the App store last time i checked. However, Android simply charges a 1 time fee of 25$ which will grant you access to upload as many games as you like for that one time payment which is great. But then again the Play Store for Android has a lot of crappy games! 

 

In my personal opinion, i suggest to go for a library that is cross pplatform which will help you knock 2 birds with one stone. Good Luck OP

 

PS: this is merely my opinion and my opinion alone, if you disagree then simply do so but try not to express any harsh language or tone in case you decide to reply! Good LUCK

 

-Jonathan



#11 Nusakan   Members   -  Reputation: 444

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 06:01 AM

I work in a friendly restaurant as a part time barman to keep me going while im developing games. I have been working in this restaurant before i started the uni. thats about 7 years. (i know its sad T.T). But here is my observation from that 7 years. Hardly ever I seen a kid or a teenager coming with a laptop to a restaurant. Not even before the boom of touch devices. For the last 4 years though, I seen kids with their tablets and phones all the time.  I am pretty sure you can experience this. Go to a friendly restaurant on a sunday afternoon  and observe. I am confident you will come to the exact same conclusion.

 

any touch devices seems to me more user friendly and portable compare to a laptop. Which I believe is the reason why its so popular between kids and teens when they out of the house. Then again I am not sure entirely what they do in the house. that is something we can not observe to find out. Also Im sure computers are still major parts of student life in schools around the world.

 

Going for both computer and mobile device would seem advicable at first. until considering who you will be competing with.

if your going for a PC for an educational game, I think its hard to find a platform where you can exploit the market. Mainly because there are many educational pc games out there that is so easily accessible by anyone. typing "free flash games" in google will produce you a huge list. Can you compete with these providers? after all their money comes from advertising unlike you (presumably) relying on game sales.

 

Secondly, I seen you mentioning Steam. Steam has a system where a game project has to get a green light first before being published on steam. If there aren't any educational games in steam this is quite positively means that educational games didn't get a green light more likely because it s not a popular platform for educational games.

 

There is one place we can target for educational game though.The social game market. Making browser games with  face book support would seem to me the best platform for an educational game. Then again this market is still booming with established companies. in terms of content you will be competing with them. Not to mention,games are free in social market. revenue is made by selling in-game items. Providing such services will come with a cost of running your own server(s) or a purchasing  cloud space(s) somewhere. Which boils down to answering the following question " is my game worth the risk?" 

 

based on these circumstances, I would suggest you to go for mobile devices if you want to start somewhere first. Then based on the success of the game you could decide to move on to the browser games. However if you have a great idea then going for browser game is equally advisable to going mobile.

 

Side note: you can make social games in mobile devices as well since the facebook SDK has massive support for both android and iOS.



#12 shinypixel   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 05:29 PM

I was just thinking on this topic, and it was helpful seeing additional replies. So many options... Thanks for the thoughts. It gave me some realities to the market. Good observations. I think both are good markets if done right.



#13 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:13 PM

I feel like it might do better on iOS. iOS tends to generally be a great market for small games.

 

But the PC market might work too.



#14 shinypixel   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:29 PM

I found this site for the PC: http://www.datawaregames.com/html/kids.htm

Looks cool. I suppose if you build a website, stick with a target audience, they will come. Theoretically.


Edited by shinypixel, 15 May 2014 - 06:29 PM.


#15 Tenebrae   Members   -  Reputation: 397

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 05:47 AM

Take a look at swrve and flurry's data reports, as that would help out. There is something else that was missing in the replies, and that is segmenting your market based on income.

 

iOS usually goes along with the middle & upper class, so if you want to make a serious game that's more geared towards in app purchases (for an educational benefit of course), I would stick with iOS. If you want to hit the schools though, as Sloper mentioned, then you would be generally looking as a one off purchase (if it is for sale) and go with PC.

 

Other things with iOS, other than the income class that tags along with it, is the demographics and stuff. You can find out more information there with swrve and flurry though. It's always good to do research with these things.

 

Cheers


Let me create worlds, and I'll let you imagine they are realities.

#16 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 07:53 AM

Are you thinking for home use or education? I think phones are a bit small but kids love tablets and schools are definitely starting to use them.

 

For young children I'd say tablets are just more accessible, having watched all my friends have kids over the last few years they all like playing with iPads at age 2 and above but wouldn't be using a laptop/desktop for some years.


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