Sprite Kit Vs Cocos2D

If you miss the news: apple announces Sprite Kit a 2D rendering engine for games at WWDC 2013. This is a small step for apple and giant leap for game development kind.

Many iPhone application developers compare sprite kit with cocos2d-iphone.sprite kit is under NDA like the rest of IOS 7. I am posting here list of strengths and weakness of sprite kit as per my thought.


One of the reasons I think to announce Sprite kit is because it will work with any new apple hardware from first day. Existing sprite kit game “Adventure,” published by apple will likely to be very easy to port to “iTV” and also in other devices apple will announce in future.

Developer needs not to worry about any compatibility issue, with new software releases. Sprite kit will work flawlessly with new versions of Xcode, IOS, or OS X and whatever software apple changes.

While in cocos2d-iphone it regularly took several months to adapt new changes done in IOS and also add support for new devices Apple announces. This may take several months to check compatibility and announces official (stable) version of cocos2d-iphone.

In cocos2d-iphone there are problems in versions. Stable version doesn’t work with current technology some times but unstable version does.

I’m glad we won’t be having any of these issues with Sprite Kit.

API Dependency

Cocos2d-iphone haven’t added new features for years, it was constantly being changed. Every new version introduced some changes that force developer to change their code.

Consider that Sprite Kit will largely remain as it is. If you expect Sprite Kit to improve frequently, think again. What you see now is the near final API, and it wills likely to be 90% of what Sprite Kit will be 3 years from now.

This is good thing. knowledge, tutorials and books will increase. I’m thinking from perhaps 3-9 months up to 1-3 years or more! This makes it easier to pick up on Sprite Kit, and Apple apps developers are even more likely to service it by writing tutorials, answering questions, building support frameworks, etc.

Stick to native

Apple knows how loyalty iPhone application developers and game developers are to their platform – just as much as the users of Apple devices and systems – so Sprite Kit is an investment in a growing game developer base.

Now Cocos2d-iphone is still most popular game engine but in recent years Zyaga pulled game development towards cross platform with javascript extension and attract game developer to use. Apple is neither happy with this nor in the interest of the cocos2d-iphone users. IOS engine being diluted with cross-platform developments.

By introducing sprite kit apple will reassure, convenes and funnel game developer stick to IOS and OS X. apple taking control over game apps developers that how they develop game for apple devices.

There are still reasons for using other game engines, but this is now a desire only shared by hardcore programmers. Not the ones Apple is targeting with Sprite Kit.

Apple also comes to know that how important game is in its sale so they have introduced game engine. From every 100 paid app sold 60 are games.

Apple’s eyes are also to compete with Xbox one and playstation 4. Apple recently have TV device in their pipeline that would greatly benefit from a native rendering engine. Any IOS game can easily ported to TV and can give tough competition to Playstation and Xbox. If you consider Cococs2d-iphone it may take long time to give support to Apple TV.

Cocos2d, not easy as it could be

How cocos2d became known to be beginner is due to comparison with OpenGL only. There is no doubt that it is better then openGL.

If you have any experience of other game engine then you may probably know the cocos2d API leaves a lot to be desired, and it is easy to learn, more elegant. But many developer faces problem of lack of documentation and new user experience varies greatly depending on who and what they learn from.

If are you beginner then Sprite Kit will be user friendly. Actually, it’s very well designed and trimmed API which was provided by Apple. Sprite kit also has excellent documentation that will stay up to date and complete always.

Apple started with a clean slate and took great care in designing the Sprite Kit API. Everything falls together as nearly as possible. I’m heavily impressed, and convinced that Sprite Kit is to cocos2d-iphone what ARC is to manual reference counting.

Step Backword

It’s advisable, not to build strong hopes up that Sprite Kit will be a stepping stone for a coming generation of cocos2d developers “upgrading” from Sprite Kit.

Anyone who will have started with Sprite Kit and then tries out cocos2d will find it confusing, inconsistent, old fashioned, badly documented, unnecessarily complex and requiring a lot more work to make it usable. This is not an upgrade; it’s a step backwards.

Does it support 3D games?

Sprite Kit, as the name implies, is 2D only.3D field is really not for beginner. So apple developer first learn 2D game development using sprite kit meanwhile apple engineer may changes in API and support 3D gaming because sprite kit is newer for both apple developers and apple’s developers. It’s very hard for both to compete with them from scratch. Apple is new to the game development field.

Also there is not that many 3D apps on either app store from Indies. The most 3D games are mostly developed by id Software, Epic, Ubisof, and EA.

Over 80% games currently on app store are 2D. Among 3D games there are only few games that are truly 3D and can actually move in 3 dimensions. Developing 3D game is more difficult, more expensive and time consuming.


With Apple implementing a rendering engine for games, everyone is going to adopt Sprite Kit and in a short time there’ll be more Sprite Kit experts and code add-ons and tools than there ever were cocos2d experts and code add-ons and tools.

The usual IOS adaptation is 90% up and growth of new IOS device sale most developer will cut down support for IOS 6 in near future. So the backward compatibility issue is not going to be an argument for long.

As we believe apple providing its own framework so why to go for other framework which may be not compatible in near future. Sprite kit is purely apple product so apple never give up and always provide support for the same.


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