Adobe sets its sights on the next cash cow: 'Console quality' gaming

Adobe sets its sights on the next cash cow: 'Console quality' gaming

Summary: Adobe is setting its sights on its latest cash cow venture: charging developers who create 'console quality' games.

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Come August 1, Adobe is set to charge developers, who use its Flash platform to create 'console quality' games, 9 percent of net revenue beyond $50,000 if they make use of new premium features of the platform.

There are two premium feature APIs that Adobe will charge for.

The first is Stage3D, an API that is used for hardware acceleration, and the other is domain memory, which becomes useful when converting games previously written in a different language, such as C++.

According to Adobe the combination of these new APIs "enables unprecedented gaming experiences across the web" and allow "native game engines that power premiere titles on the most advanced modern console hardware to run directly on the web with no install, consistently across browsers, while reaching the largest possible audience."

The licensing fee will only apply to apps that make use of both these APIs. Adobe also says that a nominal program fee may be introduced in August, although no details have been released.

There are two exceptions to the licensing fee. First, apps released before August 1 will continue to be royalty-free. Second, Adobe will offer all the features found in the AIR 3.2 platform -- which can be used to package Flash content into standalone apps for iOS and Android -- and the premium features free of charge.

According to Emmy Huang, product manager for Flash Player, the license fee is designed to: "encourage the kind of innovation and experimentation that often helps to spark inspired and inventive games."

I'm unclear as to how charging developers a 9 percent fee will help encourage innovation and experimentation, beyond perhaps making them look at alternative technologies such as HTML5.

Huang also says that the new revenue stream will enable Adobe to further invest in Flash technologies.

It's hard to see where Adobe is going with this. Charging a licensing fee for game development tools is nothing new, but these are normally established ecosystems with established developers and a loyal customer base, such as the Xbox of PlayStation platforms.

What is seems that Adobe is doing is trying to now monetize what was once on offered free to developers. While for now only two features are subject to this licensing fee, it's now clear that Adobe is looking for new ways to monetize its existing platforms, and this could be enough to put developers off and make them look elsewhere.

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Topics: Apps, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Software Development

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10 comments
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  • profiting off others' labor

    Redistribution of wealth?
    HypnoToad72
    • that's why foss is superior

      the money stay with the people!
      The Linux Geek
      • Right !

        Money stays with people . Let us go back to barter system. You take my code, I will take your code, eat code, drink code.
        mKind
      • Sorry LG, we are talking about games

        Remember, the thing Linux doesn't have.
        tonymcs@...
    • Huh?

      How does that even make sense?
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Misguided

    Why would any serious game development company take a huge risk and release their console game on the Flash platform to begin with? Is there any incentive? Is anyone looking to run Gears of War 3 on their browser? Questionable, but let's say they are. No platform decision-maker could ever justify a 9% hit on revenue for the privilege. I would be surprised if they get even 1 taker on this.
    kinda4
    • Sounds like a good deal to me

      If Adobe's platform has a 9% revenue overhead and either Adobe distributes their games or the developer can sell the games from their own website, it's a heck of a smaller hit than Apple, Google, and brick-and-mortar retailers take. Of course, if AIR is the development environment for an app that is later sold in the Android market, then that developer is either gettin' screwed, or making more money than Zynga.

      Joey
      voyager529
  • Adobe - money-grubbing, cash grabbing @#$!^^phttt!

    Acrobat, Photoshop, Lightroom, CS5 - all priced out of the reach of too many people. These royalties are typical of Adobe. I guess there are fewer problems when you have fewer customers. It's too bad they couldn't get their customer base down to about 10 customers per product. Charge each customer a few million for Acrobat and the same for Photoshop. It would be just like a private club! I think it's already a private club.
    amorak
  • Macromedia...

    Please come back.
    Benton Rich
  • How exactly...

    ...does taxing the programmers 9 percent on all revenues to use an API "Encourage development" in that environment?? If microsoft did that on their Visual Studio, there would be open source equivalents saturating the markets because no one would be stupid enough to hand over almost a dime out of every dollar simply to use an API.
    That spokesperson must be partaking of too many of the "special" brownies from the Adobe cafeteria to actually think that would [b]encourage[/b] use of their platform.
    Zorched