Interview

Accumulate’s Lauritzson on why removing demo options can increase mobile games sales

Accumulate’s Lauritzson on why removing demo options can increase mobile games sales
Looking like a case of the right product at the right time, UK/Swedish mobile retailing solutions company Accumulate has extended support for Flexion, its Java games wrapper technology, to Android.

But what’s Flexion all about and how does it increase mobile game sales?

We caught up with Accumulate MD Jens Lauritzson to find out more.

Pocket Gamer: Can you explain what Flexion does?

Jens Lauritzson: We take the full version of a Java or Android game, wrap it up and control access to it, which means you can preload and price it as you want.

What advantages does this provide?

One example is an experiment we did with 3 UK. We've been working with it for 18 months and all its devices come preloaded with Flexion.

We wanted to see what would happen if we turned off the usual free trial options we provide so the only choice available to the customer was to buy a game for £5. Because of the way Flexion works, we can make such changes via our server.

We were surprised to see a big increase in games sales.

The reason is that when customers buy a new device, that's a time they are in buying mood and probably also have credit, so they're keen to buy. If you give them a free trial of a game, that defers the buying decision, so demos can be counter productive in that scenario.

From your experience, what's the best way to sell mobile games via Flexion?

Preloading is most important because it means we get on devices and aren't dependent on downloads, which are relatively small amount of the market.

What we've found is if you preload four or five games, you will probably sell one. When someone gets a new phone, almost everyone will try at least one of the preloaded games. Of those people, you might get a 30 or 40 percent conversion rate into a sale. If you compare this the number of people who buy a game via an operator portal, it's up to five times the conversion rate.

Aside from preloads, what other options do you provide in terms of upselling?

We have a lot of customers who play game every day and they connect to our server so we can check the daily usage of games on a per title and per device basis.

When we compare statistics with on-portal activity, we see that we have four to five times the daily usage through games, so these people are keen gamers who we want to advertise to. For that reason, we use most of the space within the wrapper for the upselling of content. We do this by providing access to a dedicated store front, which can be turned off and on depending on how and when our customers want to advertise.

What stores do you link to?

Jens: It can be our store or it can link out to a thirdparty store. For example, on O2 UK, any game you download from its portal will have this discovery element contained in the wrapper. This makes it a very natural way for people to access the O2 store on their device.

What does the consumer see?

To begin with they see the normal game logo. The first time they launch it, we don't show them anything else apart from the game information. But the second time they open up the application, we include the store information too. The customer has the option to turn this off if they want to, but obviously we encourage them not to do this.

How is Flexion branded?

Flexion is white label. It can be branded as part of the operator's or OEM's store.

What's your business model?

We work like a credit card company and take a percentage of each billable transaction through our system.

Why have you extended Flexion to Android?

The Android Market hasn't worked very well so carriers and OEMs are now considering their options in terms of how to retail to customers, and coming out with their own markets. We think with Flexion, we have a perfect solution for them.

Another strong selling point for Android is with Flexion we can offer operator billing as well as credit card and premium SMS.

Who are potential customers for Flexion?

Anyone who takes on the role of the retailer can use Flexion so publishers, carriers or OEMs. We work with companies like Sony Ericsson, O2, 3 UK, and Orange.

How does the wrapping process work?

What's unique in our solution is we take the pain out of the situation because of the way we've industrialised the process of wrapping content. We take the Java or Android game file and put it through our engine, which takes a matter of seconds. Then it can be put on a content management system for download or put directly on a device.

What's important to point out is that we don't need access to the source code and we don't make any byte changes to the game, which is something that developers and publishers hate. Once they've completed and tested a game, they don't want to make any changes to it.

We don't do that. Our wrapper sits around the game and controls access to it.

How does this work?

The wrapping itself is just a gateway. It doesn't contain any information itself but it connects to our server. For example, it checks what game it's been accessed through, what channel it's being sold in, and then we retrieve the graphics, layout and branding for that channel.

It also works out the billing and price points options, so it filters a lot of information but nothing is hardcoded into the wrapper itself. This means we can wrap a lot of games and put them on a device and then decide how we want to sell them.

Are data charges an issue?

When we work with operators, they can zero rate the data. To be honest, there's not a lot of data transfered, but if we can't zero rate it, we use connection logic to minimise it. So if you've purchased the game, you don't have to connect again.

Thanks to Jens for his time.

You can find out more about Flexion from the Accumulate website.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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