Nonoba Flash Payment Engine

In case you don’t know it, the guys over at provide a payment engine for flash. From what I understand it is a library you can just plug into your flash game to allow people to buy in-game items with real money.

It is quite tempting not having to go trough all the hassle to setup a payment system and just use such an off the shelf solution. However I find two things rather discouraging:

  • 30% Revenue cut for Nonoba. Dude, this is serious money. My Ultimatum Game instincts start to tingle.
  • 5$ minimum payment for Paypal transactions. This is again apparently because Paypal also takes a cut and Nonoba wouldn’t make a profit below that.

So although very intriguing, I found myself struggling to develop a plausible scenario with that system. I could imagine developing a small flash game and sell an expansion pack with some really challenging levels for people who really liked the basic game but would people pay for a 5$ “level pack”? Does anybody have experience with that kind of revenue model? What do you think will happen?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

4 responses to “Nonoba Flash Payment Engine”

  1. Oliver


    Thanks for noticing our API — I’m from Nonoba, if you haven’t guessed :-)

    I wanted to address some of your concerns.

    70%/30% Revenue Split
    While this might sound large for a pure payment processor, it’s not that large when you consider a) what it really is, b) how little you need to do and c) other ways of monetizing your game.

    a) It’s not a payment processor; we’re aggregating a whole bunch of payment methods; credit cards (currently paypal), SMS payments (will launch soon), promotion based payment and more coming. We’re also hosting your game to ensure it’s not stolen, manage who bought what and deal with fraud and all the base payments for different monthly providers plus their individual integration systems. It costs us money to provide and run this system.

    b) The idea is: You just concentrate on building the very best game you can, and we’ll make sure you can monetize it however you want. You don’t have to build a webshop or have serverspace or anything.

    c) If you compare it with in-game ads, nobody is directly telling you what the spilt they’re taking for themselves is. I think it’s higher then 30%.

    We wanted to build a system here with total transparency. 70% of every sale to you, 30% to us. Easy to understand and deal with.

    We’ll improve the split when it becomes financially possible for us.

    Btw, it’s the same split as Apples iPhone store, which is still pretty successful.

    5$ Minimum PayPal purchase
    Yes, it doesn’t make sense for use to charge less then 5$ from PayPal, but that’s just PayPal. Other payment providers have different minimums. We’ll be launching SMS shortly, and the minimum there will be much lower.

    Also, you can sell items for less then 5$ if you want to. The excess amount will just be credited to the users account which they can then use it later in your game or in another game.

    I hope you’ll give it another look. If you want to discuss how your game could have a good payment model, just msg me on nonoba. My username is “Oliver”


  2. Krystian Majewski

    Hi Oliver,

    thanks for taking you time to comment! I do understand the position you are currently in and I you do have a point. That’s why I’ve mentioned it in the first place. There are a couple things you’ve said I would like to comment on:

    In-game ads spilt being worse – yes, that’s true. You get only 35% on Kongregate and 50% on Mochi-Ads. But Ads seem to be a different thing. That money is being paid by some random companies who seem to think that advertisement is a good way to invest money. Frankly, I disagree and I don’t want to deal with that kind of business directly. But if they still want to burn money and I get a cut of that – fine with me. Things are different when when the money comes out of the pockets of my players. When it is my audience that is paying, I feel obliged to make sure they get their money’s worth. I know it is a bit irrational, that’s why I referenced the Ultimatum Game.

    The reference to the Apple Store doesn’t work since the Apple Store also takes care of the distribution. In fact, the Apple store IS the distribution. There is just no alternative for iPhone. Distributing Flash games takes more effort and is more complex.

    About the 5$ limit for paypal – the problem is that for such small products as flash games, it is 5$ and below where it starts getting interesting.

    Crediting the excess amount is ok but for players this would be only relevant if there were A LOT of things they would like to buy with it. Right now, in most cases it would be the first time they see Nonoba and even if my item is 1$, they need to invest 5$. Actually this is even worse because they will have the impression that they “wasted” 4$ or have been tricked into paying more than necessary. So I’d rather make sure they won’t come out with excess credit.

    As for SMS payment – it sounds promising! Will it work internationally?

    The other Payment methods you provide don’t seem very exciting to me. It’s not bad that you have alternatives but it’s Paypal’s direct approach I’m really after.

    You see, for me, as a flash developer I have the following dilemma: Yes, I do want a payment method in my game. I can do two things.

    1. I use Nonoba, which is simpler but a little bit limiting because of the cuts and the 5$ minimum.

    2. I integrate a paypal payment directly into my game and cut out one middleman. This is a little bit more challenging but the difference is not that big. Paypal also provides a API after all. It is not as ready-to-use but I have to do it only once and re-use the code for further games. I will need to deal with a customer database but that can be also seen as an advantage because I will gather email addresses for marketing of further products. The cuts will be lower and I can go lower with the price. From what I see I can sell products between 1$ and 2% with the same cut as Nonoba’s.

    So the way I see it, Nonoba is only interesting if I don’t have the time or experience to set up a custom payment system. For more complex games, I would go for a custom system.

    Which is fine! I might try to come up with something quick I think is worth 5$ and give it a try. It really is something new and I’m eager to gather some experience with that business model. So you might hear from me soon! ;-)

  3. Krystian Majewski

    P.S.: Oh, now I see the dilemma – Nononba payments makes only sense for quick and small games. But those game srarely have content worth 5$. If I have a game with content worth 5$ it is likely that I invested so much time in it that going for a custom solution is more attractive.

    But as I said, there is generally little experience with that Model. There are rarely any flash games who do payments. So players might find that price point acceptible even for small games after all…

  4. axcho

    I have the same concerns, plus the concern that the payment screen is cluttered and unattractive. Though on that last note, I’m trying to come up with a new design that Nonoba might use if they deem it worthy.

    Do you think it might be more appropriate to use the system for donations, for games you don’t explicitly work to monetize beyond, say some MochiAds plus Nonoba for donations, or would PayPal still be better?

    I do see the dilemma you point out. Though it would be interesting if because of Nonoba, people got used to paying $5 for a Flash game… ;)

    On the bright side, this could be a good opportunity for fun experimentation, right? :)


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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