Better Mobile Crash Statistics

As a developer, it is very hard to gauge what devices are having issues in my game.

Right now, the only crash statistics we are given is a list of devices and the percentage of players who are crashing on it. While it’s nice to get a list of devices that have issues, it is simply not enough information to make any decisions on.

Lets take an iPad Air, for example, in a hypothetical game, 60% of users on this device are experiencing crashing. If you asked yourself something along the lines of “but how many people are even using that device in the first place?”, you would be in the same boat as me. That is the only statistic we are given as developers.

There are so many other aspects which can be used to track down device crashes, which we simply aren’t given any way to investigate with:

  • No information on what iOS version is having the most trouble. This is a very big detail that is missing; every version of iOS has different performance (whether good or bad). So while iOS 10.1 is crashing on the iPad Air, iOS 10.1.1 could be totally fine.
  • No information on how many users are playing on this device, this also includes how many experienced a crash. Knowing these numbers allow the developer to determine whether or not they should persue trying to get crash rates down on a device. This hypothetical iPad Air crash rate could be at 60%, but there could only be a small amount of people actually playing on that device. A percentage doesn’t give you any real idea on this.
  • No information on how long these users are playing the game before crashing. Sure, we have average visit length, but that can’t be filtered by platform. This would be something that developers can track over time to see if their optimizations are even making a difference.

A realistic example of how crash percentages are not informative is the fact that I can play Robloxian Highschool, on a few devices that we have reported as having high crash ratios, without crashing at all. This tells me it could be network dependent, OS dependent, or hardware dependent (such as the device having cooling problems); I would never know if it were because of these cases because we are mostly left in the dark when it comes to device crashes.

Developers are also not given any crash reporting for Android devices. This doesn’t make much sense, given how much of a market share Android has over iOS.

Going forward, I would love to see this void of information addressed, and maybe even more data than this.

Personally, if just those three points were addressed and this information was exposed, it would make optimizing for mobile that much easier. And on the plus side, capturing a larger mobile audience of players who never get to play our game because of crashing.