KaiOS developer survey


We’re trying to gauge interest in developing games for KaiOS.

KaiOS is a Linux based operating system for feature phones. It is the second largest OS in India and it is growing in popularity in many countries. The phones are inexpensive with fairly low-end specifications. Screen resolution is 240x320 at 30 FPS with either 256MB or 512MB RAM and a few GB of storage.

Applications and games are web based and installed through the KaiOS store. The number of available applications is less than 1000. Monetization is mainly done through ads using the KaiAds API.

Despite the low hardware specification of KaiOS enabled devices Defold HTML5 games can run on KaiOS. Some care must be taken when creating the games to limit the amount of code running every frame and the amount of garbage created and to keep the number of draw calls to a minimum.

There is a lot of potential in the OS and coming in early with high quality games while the store is small could be an excellent business opportunity for Defold developers.

Would you consider developing games for KaiOS if Defold had full support* for KaiOS?

* Full support = Template project, manuals, KaiAds native extension, samples and tutorials

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters



If the workflow would be similar as if you only supported iOS and then wanted to release Android builds I would definely try to have a release out. But also depends on KaiOS release workflow too, if it is as involved as releasing on iOS I would probably wait until my users asked for it.

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I won’t, but just because I don’t know it and I don’t know that market :frowning: though in my opinion (if it does not demand a lot of work) it is very interesting and might attract some mobile devs for sure. Also I think Defold might be really suitable for this, after all, Defold is focused on mobile games, so I think you already have your plans :grin:



I haven’t released a proper game yet, but i am put off by the google and apple app stores. I would be interested in alternatives

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Apparently most KaiOS apps suck so based on the popularity it would be worth developing for to give some quality. But you’re not going to be able to simply release your existing games to the platform, they have to be made with the limitations of the platform in mind. The most common devices might also be the slowest.

Ask a community based on it if they think it would be worth a game engine supporting the platform https://www.reddit.com/r/KaiOS/





I have read several topics. The main complaint is their insistence on integrating ads and making it difficult to pass moderation without ads. There are also complaints about the low quality of advertising:



Has anyone found some post mortem with numbers and analytics?

Many of us hear about this operating system for the first time, so it will be great to understand the potential, does it worth the Defold team’s work.



Reaching out to other developers may be helpful to get data too. Ask them about their analytics if you can find anyone who will reply… I looked through some publishers and most seem to stock HTML5 game vendors. Most likely just dumping their existing low quality HTML5 games on the store… the store itself seems like a mess, maybe it’s different on device. No ratings / no stats.

I voted yes only out of personal interest but business wise nothing about this stands out as a good idea to focus resources on unless it is trivial to support.



Some great discussions here in this thread! It is understandable that you have concerns about a new platform, especially one where you need to make a lot of adjustments and where it is likely that you can’t just port over existing games but should rather create games from scratch specifically targeting the platform. We’re in touch with representatives from KaiOS and I’ll see if I can get you some data about sales etc



A concern is if we invest in making some great games for the platform how will our games get visibility? How are games picked for promotion on the platform? Are higher quality games promoted over low quality? Currently the platform seems to have a bad reputation game quality wise for having low quality stock HTML5 games dumped on it. Even if there are some high quality games I could not find any obvious stand outs that I would not find on a generic low effort HTML5 game portal by browsing the web version of their app store.



An understandable concern, but with a small amount of games in the store it is probably easy for high quality games to get recognition. And having a close collaboration with the people at KaiOS will help as well.

With other developers you mean? I’d like to get an opinion by the end users though. A lot of users do not afford the luxury of an expensive smartphone with millions of apps, and while that shouldn’t mean that they also have to accept low quality games and apps it could also mean that high quality games will get a lot of attention if the quality is indeed low. I’ve tested quite a few games and the quality varies, just like on all stores. There are some really good games and some not so good :slight_smile:



It does interest me personally still regardless of commercial viability and it’s encouraging to hear the KaiOS people will be helping. If it looks like a real opportunity in the future I will make at least one original game for the platform.

Is buying one of the devices required for development or is there a tool which can emulate the different hardware setups?



I didn’t say they promised to help. We’re talking to them about ways to collaborate. But there is not much to discuss if Defold developers aren’t interested in the platform, hence the poll :slight_smile:

There is an emulator, but I would really encourage on device testing. The phones are really cheap.



My main concern is whether the integration would be handled mostly by the Defold crew, or by KaiOS. If by Defold, that’s likely to mean the existing issues on Github would get less love and progress slower.

I’m all for trying new platforms (exciting!), but it would be a shame if it slowed down the progress on new features such as improved 2d physics, which affects all currently supported platforms.



Based on the list, it wouldn’t be that time consuming things to do to make this opportunity more accessible to Defold devs. If the KaiOS team helped with some of these it would be done more easily and quickly. If KaiOS people are lurking then go for it! :innocent:

Template project, manuals, KaiAds native extension, samples and tutorials

A NE is even a luxury, interacting with the ads SDK can already be done with html5.run() commands + maybe a little JS by the looks of it. This is also a small list of features so a NE to make it easier would not require much development time either.


Reading some more docs…






Thank you to everyone who answered the poll! I will close the poll Tuesday evening and share the results. I’ll also get back to you with some numbers for Kai OS apps later this week.



I don’t think it worth the effort. If you want to develop for KaiOS I think you are better off with some JS game engine like pixi.js



I took the question as if I were someone who were supposed to release on all (or most of the) available platforms. So Switch, iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux, if I then would release for KaiOS too.

But if pixi.js is better to release on for KaiOS why not only use that and skip Defold all together?



The thing with KaiOS is that the game you’d make would have to be limited by the small resolution and performance constraints, so porting existing iOS/Android games is a bit out of the question for most of the cases, so we have to talk making games specifically for KaiOS.

There is a benefit of using Defold vs Pixie.js here, namely the editor and the ease of use and I think there’s as case to be made here, but, for me, personally, it would definitely be a fun weekend project, but I don’t see it as something commercially viable from what I’ve read so far.



That being said, I think I’ll buy a KaiOS phone (not a bad idea having a backup phone around the house) and make a few apps, but I’m not sure if I have any good game ideas yet.