Flash Applications on the iPhone

Adobe recently announced that Flash Professional CS5 will be able to compile native iPhone apps. I suspect that this will have a significant affect on the iPhone App Store. We’re probably going to start seeing a flood of apps over the next few months as Flash developers start porting their website games into iPhone apps. I suspect this is going to make it somewhat harder to be a successful developer of 2D games, or anything else that you can do in Flash, as you now have a million or so Flash developers to compete with as well.

2 Responses to “Flash Applications on the iPhone”

  1. Joel Davis Says:

    Right now it’s pretty slow… I tried “trading stuff in space” and it was noticeably laggy, even for such a simple game. Pretty impressive that it was developed in eight days though. And, space ponies.

    It’s not a trivial process, either (yet), as far as I can tell. And the funny thing is it would probably only take a day or two to port most of those little flash games to native C on the iphone. And it’s not as if having to use C or O-C has prevented a flood of crappy games/apps anyways. There’s also going to be the issue of flash games not handling the iPhone’s features like multitouch/accellerometer as well as a native game (or at all).

    Personally, I’ve been watching flash for a while, and I love the direction things are going. Things like HAXE are pretty cool, and I’d love to be able to write a single codebase and build it for PC, iPhone and Web distribution from that. But that’s still a ways off. One thing that really struck me from the LD48 contest is that people who use flash get double or more votes than do people writing compiled games — and that’s a motivated and very technical audience.

    I think, like any market, the app store is starting to segment into “cheap, low-quality, high volume” apps, and “high quality, high value” apps (like Civ, , Rockband). Hopefully Apple will do more to encourage and manage this, but it will happen regardless. The Flash stuff will only speed up the inevitable.

    Have you read the “love letter to flash” articles on lost garden? Great articles (though the video version is just creepy and bizarre). Also check out pushbuttonlabs, former GarageGames folks trying to make flash into a “high end” gaming platform.

    I think that gaming (on all platforms) is heading towards an entirely subscription or in-app-purchase model. It won’t be overnight but it’s the only model that really makes sense in the long term. You can even look at the most profitable entries in the traditional model of game publishing as a primitive version of this, like The Sims with their endless expansion packs (just like in-app purchase) or Madden with a new version every year. Not to mention WoW or Guild Wars. That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be room for hobbyist and indie developers like us — on the contrary — as the big publishers move to more of a continuous payment model, it will leave more room for smaller standalone games.

  2. Mach Says:

    Wow, Joel, your comment was way more informative than my actual blog post… Thanks for all the cool info. =)

    I hadn’t seen either of the articles before. If anyone else is interested in this topic, check out Lost Garden’s Flash Love Letter and Push Button Labs.