Flash iPhoneI’m following up on post by Liz Gannes over at GigaOM, where it was reported that OneAppAtATime, a new startup led by Evan “Rabble” Henshaw-Plath has announced it will enable developers to convert their Flash-based games into full-fledged iPhone apps.

According to OneAppAtATime “part of the service we provide is expertise in navigating the Apple App Store approval process.” So developers can essentially turn a Flash-based game over to OneAppAtATime and out the other end (if all works out) comes the game in the Apple app store. Since the developer’s already committed their original resources to Flash development, this can been seen as incremental income for them. Or a nice revenue boost if the sales of their Flash-based game has stagnated, especially since it may have gotten lost in the sea of Flash-based game titles out there on the Web.

OneAppAtATimeHenshaw-Plath is leveraging a ton of Flash-based developers in Uruguay (where he’s recently relocated) who will utilize Adobe’s new Flash developer software beta to convert the games.  The development effort is funded through Cubix, and each app is expected to take a couple of weeks to develop (not a couple of days as GigaOm has reported).  OneAppAtATime will also take your game and utilize iPhone features such as the GPS, accelerometer, and compass if possible. Henshaw-Plath believes most converted Flash games will go into the App Store at $2.99. Keep in mind that the sweet spot today may be $2.99 for an iPhone game, but the move towards monetization within the app is pressuring more apps (including games) down to 99 cents or even free (see my earlier post on this).

So, if I’m a developer with a Flash-based game—a $3 sale in the iTunes App Store means that 30% or 90 cents goes to Apple, while 35% or $1.05 goes to OneAppAtATime. This leaves me with $1.05 in revenue. Like I said, that’s incremental revenue since my original work was in Flash. I hand over the app, it hopefully gets converted and approved, and I collect a third of new (think additional) sales.

But if converted Flash-based games start to sell well in the App Store compared to games developed specifically for the iPhone, then many iPhone developers are going to cry foul! Especially if Henshaw-Paths follows through on his promise to utilize a liberal dose of social media marketing for each converted app that makes it into the App Store! Many iPhone developers know just how hard it is getting their app through the iPhones approval process in the first place, let alone become a “featured” app in the app store.

Update on 12/18/09

According to someone who has seen the CS5 beta recently, these apps may run at 2 fps versus 30 fps for native apps, which would translate to a lousy consumer experience, and one Apple may not want to see happen on their platform.

-Randy Giusto

randygiusto@newdigitalcafe.com