Flash Premium Features: Adobe Wants Some “Zynga Money”, But Probably Not Yours

By Steve Fulton

Adobe announced yesterday a set of “Premium Features” for Flash.  These are features that, when used for web games, will require a license fee after a certain threshold of revenue  has been reached (currently $50K)  After that, they want their “tribute” in the form of a slice of the profits.

The features are limited to Flash on the web (not Air on iOS and Android) and include the use of domain memory and Stage3D that are utilized by Adobe Alchemy.  According to Adobe, Alchemy “allows developers to  compile C and C++ code this is  targeted to run on the open source ActionScript Virtual Machine”…basically allowing the same type of middleware compilers used to make console games to also produce games for the “console of the web” as Adobe now refers to Flash.

Adobe explains it this way:

“The premium features enable these existing C/C++ codebases to run sandboxed across browsers in Flash Player. C/C++ developers, and developers using other languages who build on native middleware/engines, can now join ActionScript developers in benefiting from the ubiquity of Flash Player. And ActionScript developers benefit from now being able to leverage millions of lines of existing optimized C/C++ code in their ActionScript projects.”

So basically, unless you plan to port your console game to Flash,  or if you say, have a giant Flash-based social game that you want to convert to Stage3D, you really have nothing to worry about.    Obviously Adobe sees all the money being generated on the back of it’s tools, and now wants a to harvest some of the bounty too.   That seems fair to us, but it’s likely to drive even more indie devs away from the technology as it appears they will be penalized for moderate success.

We do find it interesting that Adobe has now embraced games in a BIG way.  It was only 3 years ago when they appeared to embarrassed by using Flash as gaming platform.   Times have certainly changed.


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