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Difference between mobile and PC game development

By Editorial @stacktips, On Sep 17, 2023 Blog Posts 2.51K Views

This article will explain you the difference between Mobile game development and conventional PC and Play Station game development from different technical and business aspects.

Modern mobile phones are small computers, with limited processing power by desktop standards, but power enough to run a small game. Today’s phones are also by their very nature networked computers, efficiently sending and receiving digital data. Primarily geared for voice data, they can send and receive other kinds of data as well. This inherent ability to share information offers a unique opportunity to design games wherein players interact with other players, perhaps even on the other side of the world.A number of different technologies are used for games on mobile phones.

  • Embedded Games
  • SMS Games
  • Browsing (WAP) Games
  • J2ME (Java)
  • Native platform games (using Android, iPhone, iPad, Symbian)

Mobile game development differs from conventional (PC and Play Stations) game development in a number of ways.

Team Size

Conventional PC and console games typically require teams of 12 to 30 people. Because most mobile games are less extensive than their console counterparts, they are typically developed by teams of 3 to 5 people, and often by lone programmers/designers.


Conventional games have budgets in the $1.5 million to $5 million range. Most mobile games are implemented on budgets of less than $100,000. Essentially, the limited display capabilities of mobile phones, coupled with limitations on application size, make it difficult to spend the huge amounts devoted to conventional games. This is, in a way, a strong advantage.

Development Cycle

Conventional games typically take two to three years to develop. Most mobile games are developed in a few months. In other words, with a small team, and a small budget, you can develop and deploy a professional-quality mobile game. For many developers, frustrated by the conditions of the conventional game market, it is one of mobile game development’s strongest appeals.

Networked Devices

Mobile games can be unlike any games we’ve seen before: limited in terms of media, but networked and multiplayer. Modems for PCs have been widely deployed only for the last eight years or so; consoles are only now going online. Mobile phones are networked devices by their very nature. Even though their processing capabilities are reminiscent of older computing technologies, their network capabilities are far superior.

Open Standards

Console development requires authorization and support from console game manufacturers, who use their control to require high “platform royalties” from game publishers, and to control what sorts of games get developed for their hardware. In the world of wireless (as in PC game development), you are free to develop whatever sorts of games you like, without paying Nokia, Sun, or anyone else.


Conventional games are (mostly) purchased in software outlets. Mobile games are (mostly) downloaded and installed by the user from different mediums. They are downloaded over the air network; some phones allow you to download an application to a computer, and then sync it to the phone. Consequently, the distribution channels for mobile games are quite different from PC games. Every mobile manufactures has come up with application distribution stores. Here are the list of officially declared application stores listed below

  • Nokia Store
  • iStore for apple devices
  • Android market for all android enabled devices
  • Blackberry app world for all Blackberry RIM devices
  • Windows market for all windows enabled phones
  • Samsung app world
  • Opera store

Huge Potential Audience

More than a billion mobile phones are in use today, and the number is growing. In every developed country except the United States, a higher proportion of the population owns a mobile phone than owns a computer. While only a small portion of those phones are low end Java-enabled, and an even larger number run an high end OS like iOs, Android, Symbian or RIM OS, the numbers are increasing rapidly. Your potential audience is larger than the potential market for any other platform—Playstation and GameBoy included.


There’s a reason that GameBoy has sold more units than any other game console ever manufactured: portability is prized. People like being able to play whenever and wherever they choose. A phone may not be a great game device by comparison to modern consoles or computers, but people have their phones with them almost all the time. Give them good games to play when out of the home, and they will play.

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