News Flash (Lite)

A while ago, I blogged about a cool new site French company Mobitween had launched, namely on user-generated games. Now, the good folks are a bridgehead in mobile Flash (they had their fingers in the code more or less from day 1). So, where is Flash Lite today?

Here's the install base numbers as recently released:

From just over 14% to 23% in a year (yes, I know, this is based on a flat 2 bn handsets out there)... In any event, that is rather respectable, don't you think?

Flash has the great advantage that its graphics are vector-based and therefore scalable. This means that most of the porting nightmare that contributes to 30-50% of the cost of mobile games, etc would fall away. Nice thought... It would make the whole commercial model of mobile games dramatically rosier. And it appears to be gaining traction: e.g. does Adobe make Flash Lite available on Verizon phones (and I've been told - confidentially - of one publisher having recorded more than 2m Flash game downloads on there already).

Flash is particularly good for casual games, which is, as everyone close(-ish) to mobile games knows, all the hype for the (small) mobile screen, and rightly so, as it is normally easier to adapt a casual game to the screen limitations (not even starting to talk about processing power) that are inherent to mobile phones. A natural fit, huh? Just look what Mobitween and their users have come up with! And I don't even get started on Atom/Shockwave (read an interview here) and all the others out there...

Is it then that we only need to wait until Flash Lite (finally) reaches the mass market? On the web, Flash hurt Sun's Java badly. Will the same happen on mobile? Or will Sun be smarter this time, and make sure that its currently dominant position will be reinforced by making it easier for developers to publish on their platform? The jury is out...


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