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Top 3 iOS and Mobile Game Development Problems - Solved

By Matthew Pulsipher|

April 18, 2024

Introduction to iOS and mobile game development

Mobile game demand continues to hold steady year-over-year. In fact, over 1 billion mobile games were downloaded in 2023  – That's 2.7 million games installed on smartphones every day last year. After Apple announced their focus on gaming performance at WWDC 2023 and their October ‘Scary Fast’ event, we have seen an increase in core gaming experiences made available on iOS. As mobile gaming experiences become larger and more complex, the need for efficient and streamlined development becomes much more important as project scope and build times increase. 

To get games into players' hands faster, you need the latest software and machines. Mac cloud solutions give you access to the newest Apple hardware, in the cloud, for faster iOS build, test, and deploy, all without the hassle of maintaining and paying for physical machines.  

Main problems iOS and mobile game developers face + solutions 

A Mac is required to build apps for any Apple platform

iOS is the most revenue-generating mobile platform, taking up 66% of app consumer spending in 2023. In the gaming industry, mobile gaming is the largest segment in terms of revenue. But to publish to Apple’s App Store, games must be built using macOS on genuine Apple hardware, as a part of Apple’s developer program requirements. This adds complexity for most game developers who do most of their development on Windows or Linux, as many SDKs are not compatible with macOS. And any hardware required for publishing to the Apple app store is used for that purpose only. 

Running builds on developer laptops is not scalable or efficient 

If you’re trying to build or scale your iOS and mobile game development process, running independent builds on individual Mac workstations is not an efficient solution, as it results in inconsistent build processes and inefficient use of developer resources. Modern game and software development practices demand hosted compute for continuous build and test jobs. 

To ensure consistent software quality and limit regressions, automated tests should run continuously on all builds, which requires persistently running machines. Without consistent availability, automated build processes will fail, as well as the associated unit tests. For this reason, the uptime of a hosted CI/CD service is paramount in ensuring continued developer productivity. 

Given the general complexity and asset sizes in modern games, game projects tend to be substantially larger than other applications, which can dramatically increase build time and the compute requirements for successful builds. 

Self-hosting can be complicated

It may be tempting to grab a handful of Macs to use for testing your iOS game, but self-hosting Mac compute is hard to maintain long-term. The machines themselves aren’t space-efficient when compared to rackmount servers. Additionally, macOS is built around desktop/workstation use, which complicates things for remote hosting, such as the need for physical power button access. These limitations can make it difficult to consistently ensure continuous uptime for hosted machines. 

While self-hosting solutions can work in some instances, it’s critical to consider other cloud-hosted solutions that can benefit your dev team. 

Start scaling your iOS and mobile game development with MacStadium 

 MacStadium allows game development studios to target Apple users without needing to take on the burden of self-hosting or managing fleets of expensive developer laptops. You can have the best of both worlds – Powerful iOS build and test machines without the costly hardware or maintenance.  

Squash more bugs with quicker build and test cycles and scale your testing operations with automated tests and cloud-based simulators to help testers validate gameplay daily. 

MacStadium allows iOS game developers to access the latest and most powerful Mac hardware with lower upfront costs, enabling increased dev productivity by speeding build and test jobs up by nearly 2x when compared to other Apple Silicon options. Check out our latest M3 Max benchmarks to see what we’re talking about. 

Talk to a MacStadium expert today and start growing your mobile game development! 

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