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Adobe reels in game coders with a quick free Flash

Then taxes apps that bank more than $50k

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Adobe is allowing programmers to use "premium features" in Flash Player 11.2 for free to kickstart take up among games makers.

After unleashing the Flash build and AIR 3.2 upon the world, Adobe announced that premium functionality in Player will be available free of charge to content published before 1 August and there will be no charge for apps that rake in less than $50,000 in net revenue. Each application that makes more will be charged 9 per cent of its takings.

The premium features in question are Stage3D hardware acceleration with domain memory, which allow game engines for C++ apps to run across browsers without loss of quality. This feature was in earlier versions of Flash but is now also available for Android and iOS apps as of version 11.2.

Adobe senior product manager for gaming Tom Nguyen wrote here: “We’ve designed this pricing to encourage the creative experimentation that sparks great ideas and great games. This also allows us to invest in and support innovation in Flash technologies that benefit an ecosystem of game middleware and development tools, beyond Adobe’s own first party tools.”

Thanks to HTML5-loving Steve Jobs playing hardball with Flash on iPhones and iPads, Adobe was forced to reassess the future of Flash as a sprawling multimedia format and its place in an increasingly mobile world.

After Apple co-founder Jobs blocked the player that’s ubiquitous on PCs and even his Macs, Microsoft bought into HTML5 at the expense of its Flash alternative Silverlight and a whole industry is closely following developments in the mark-up spec.

The result is an outbreak of pragmatism at Adobe, with the Flash biz even saying that HTML5 is the best technology for enterprise applications "in the long term".

The Flex SDK, which lets programmers build applications for the Flash runtime using XML and ActionScript code, is being handed to the Apache Software Foundation. Adobe plans to continue supporting Flash on desktop browsers and will further develop its Flash-based AIR.

With the world now frowning on Flash, Adobe has repositioned its technology from mass-market media player to a development and runtime for gaming and video. You can see the Flash Player roadmap intended to support that shift here. ®

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