May 11, 2007

Flash Lite on Handango – A Reality Check

I have been following the Flash Lite content spill on Handango and have observed a number of points which I hope will get noticed for the benefit of the community and the technology –

1. Pricing of content needs immediate attention.
While browsing through the content I noticed that while there are some games priced at a range of $5-10, there are some also priced at $0.50. The pricing of wallpapers is even more shocking with some of them being priced at $4.99!!

With uneven pricing of content, I wonder if users are really paying to download content, or rather even having faith in the content?

According to me, a good price for games on Handango (which are not even a Single A Titles) should be approximately between $1-3 and wallpapers around $0.25-0.50, which can be maintained across the content.

2. No monitoring on content quality
There is no monitoring on the quality of content going up on Handango. Developers are coming up with varied content and pushing it on the portal with the intension of getting great downloads. Serious quality content developers are then getting lost amongst the populaters.

3. High downloads for free content and humble downloads for paid content
Free content on Handango is seeing more acceptance and testing, than content that is paid. Could this also stem from the fact that the content quality and pricing are not monitored?

I feel that if developers are serious about the technology and want it to be accepted positively on a wider scale, they should try forming a community and coming to a consensus about their sale strategy, instead of just building Flash Lite content and putting it up at Handango at a price convenient to them! Infact the team at Handango can help developers build such community on their portal itself.

It would be great if I could get some feedback on this topic because I have been thinking about it since a long time.



At 11:19 PM , Anonymous Alessandro said...

Ciao Mariam,

interesting post. I was looking at those prices and content and had some thoughts.

Flash Lite development is cheaper and faster which should reflect on the price.

Games should cost less then J2ME or C++, on the other hand wallpapers and screensavers should cost more then static ones such as jpg images since can do "more" animation.

About the content quality, the consumer will at the end decide and buy the better one.


At 12:10 AM , Blogger Mariam Dholkawala said...

Yea thats true Alessandro.

Consumers will always be the power holders in accepting or rejecting a content. And this is true even after carriers sift the best out of the lot to put up on their decks.

But in case of no monitoring, the consumers have to scan through pages and may also be missing out on the best without even knowing about it.

At 12:29 AM , Anonymous Scott Janousek said...

People can write reviews (but apparently are not) ... however this does not immediately solve the problem of searching for content based on feedback rating.

Yes, it would be nice if Handango would add a user driven rating system as well (aka a point system).

I use this feature all the time at when looking for quality software that isn't going to muck up my XP install.

At 1:53 AM , Anonymous Ryan Unger said...

Hi Mariam—
I also hate that there is not a unified code for pricing, but I think that 25 cents would be too low for a Flash Lite wallaper/screensaver.

The only product that I have up is a screensaver/wallpaper called Mobile Ocean. I priced it at $1.99 for several reasons.

1) JPG wallpapers and animated GIF's often cost $1 or more when sold through a wireless carrier.

2) The content is FL 1.1 — not 2.0

3) I have included 5 swfs: 96x65, 128x160, 176x208, 176x220, and 240x320

4) I have offered a trail download — which should eliminate the quality control issue.

That said, if there is no trial download, the content is FL 2.0, and the content is only sold at one SWF size, perhaps less than $1 would make sence.


At 9:13 PM , Blogger William Gregoire said...

Yes, it's true Flash Lite content price should be compared with other contents.

But what is the consumer point of view ? Is he ready to pay more for Flash Lite content ? Is he aware of FL-content advantages ?

I saw you have +50 downloads for Mobile Ocean, may I ask you if it's +50 PAID downloads or only trial ?
I would like to see if Flash Lite content is sold or not.

About monitoring, there is a lot of websites with review of J2ME content (games/apps). We need to wait they include FL content I think.
I don't think FL-only webzine is a good idea.
I'm more for FL to be view by consumer like a mobile content, like anything else.
Let's the consumer find himself FL content best value...with our help ;)

At 7:25 PM , Blogger Ryan Unger said...

Hi William—
About half are paid.


At 5:26 AM , Blogger Dale Rankine said...

I agree with you Mariam. We have concerns about mobile content portals such as Handango basically for the same reasons you outlined - pricing, poor quality, etc - and have been monitoring the flow of content onto similar web portals.

These site sare effectively self-monitoring in all aspects. So eventually what happens is as more content is sold, more developers see what price points are acceptable to consumers, and also what quality/type of content sells more. But this take s along time to become apparent. Right now with FL content, it's all too new for consumers to know the difference, so when they DO pay (which ain't all that often from what I see) they are paying a lot more than they should be for the content they are getting.

As the market globally floods with more content on and off deck, self-correction will eventually have a better effect, but right now it's a dangerous time for developers who are putting a lot of time into content to be selling via open portals.

Just my 2c worth.


At 6:41 PM , Anonymous Matt Pollitt said...

Hi miriam,

great article that pulls up some really valid points.

As a developer that has sold content through NSM and Handango, i have had the problem of deciding on some sort of pricing structure.

With reactive, or code generated wallpapers/screensavers developed in flashlite, i have always had the opinion that the technology is not the defining factor , but the overall look, feel and clarity determines the value of the product. With wallpapers that either react to phone's status or use Actionscript to produce a high quality (non - repetitive) environment, i personally believe that they have a higher value.

How high i am not sure though.

For example, one of the wallpapers i made and sold on NSM started retailing at 3.50 euros. I selected this price as this is what other flashlite content was selling on the portal for. And it sold....
This month i have just dropped the price in half , and placed it in the "on sale" category, to try and get a comparison in sales figures. Will fill you guys in as soon as I see the difference.

I agree with dale, selling content via these open portals is a mine field, there is no real price structure defined, and the real danger is that flashlite will be de-valued as a product by sub-standard value for money.

just my 2p's worth ;)

At 1:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you on that one, it's sometimes so hard to find quality software on handango now, there's so much rubbish up there!
I normally use or for my phone software, as everything up there is top quality. I believe that all titles have to be approved by the site admin before they are shown on the site, which im sure must be very time consuming for them, but definatly worth it! It means i can go on and buy in confidence knowing that what i buy will work and be great - and if there ever is a problem ( i had one which was due to a slip up by the developer) it's resolved almost instantly, i was very impressed by the speed of reply and resolution of the problem!

At 2:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mariam,

Your thoughts on this post definitely make sense to me from a buyer's point of view. However, from a developer's perspective the price point is probably set by factoring in expected number of downloads and the cost of development. My quick estimate on the cost of a good flash lite game is at least $5000. With a 50% revenue split with a site like handango, that means a developer would need to see at least 2500 downloads for a game sold for $3. That seems a pretty hard task to me. That in the end is what I think is driving the price up for most of the games posted on the site.


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