Adobe updates Flash Player and AIR, continues to expand support for game devs

Today, Adobe is rolling out an update to both Flash Player (11.4) and AIR (3.4); both updates are designed to better provide developers the ability to utilize hardware acceleration. We sat down with Diana Helander, the Group Product Marketing Manager  for Gaming Solutions at Adobe to talk about how the updates are only part of how Adobe’s continuing to support game developers on all platforms.

The updates will likely be useful to developers looking to take their games cross-platform, both onto mobile devices and the web. These include  more support for iOS (like push notifications and AIR direct deployment without iTunes), hardware-accelerated video and Stage 3D video card/webcam development. Developers will also find support for transparent images with Stage 3D, the ability to leverage hardware resources with concurrency and SWF size reductions.

In fact, the updates mark the continuation of Adobe’s plans to increase its presence in the game development sector and get Flash Player adopted on a wider scale. Helander explains that a big part of Adobe’s growing presence in the industry comes from its continued support of developer communities, something that it’s actively working to expand. Case in point: Adobe’s gaming team is appearing at both the Unity Unite conference in Amsterdam and CEDEC in Japan. At Unity Unite, Adobe will be showing off the Premium Features for Flash Player and showcasing Madfinger’s Shadowgun and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (both of which were created using a Unity workflow). Meanwhile, GREE will be talking about how it developed Monpla Smash, the company’s first mobile social game built with Flash.

Although Adobe announced last November that it wouldn’t continue to invest in Flash Player for mobile platforms, the company’s been pushing its AIR packaging technology for mobile development while web application developers continue to use Flash technologies. Last week, Adobe said it would disable new installs of Flash Player on Android devices. However, Adobe’s been working to make sure Flash’s departure from mobile platforms doesn’t affect developers, since AIR creates a new path for Flash games to be delivered in the format they want for a mobile device. Some developers are even using the new technology to go back and release popular Flash games for mobile platforms, as was the case with Amanita Design’s Machinarium and State of Play’s Lume (which you can watch the trailer for below).

Adobe’s penetration isn’t dropping off, either. Flash Player 11.2 shipped four months ago with a silent auto update feature, which 400 million people have opted into. There are also approximately 25,000 AIR apps today on mobile markets, across iOS, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.

For desktop-based gaming, though, Flash is still widely used in both social and casual games by developers like Zynga, GREE and Amazon. Helander says 24 of the top 25 Facebook games with more than 100,000 monthly active users and the highest user satisfaction scores are delivered with Flash. Likewise, Helander also tells us the top nine Flash games in China generate $70 million a month.

“Gaming is a holistic story,” Helander explains, “but Flash tends to dominate the conversation in terms of money being made and maturity.”

Game developers interested in using Adobe’s technology for their workflow can learn more here.

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