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Adobe Repositions Flash as a 3D-Gaming Powerhouse

As HTML5 looks more and more like the future of multimedia content on the web, Adobe positioned new versions of its Flash Player and AIR software in the 3D gaming market, rather than mainstream content creation. In an announcement touting the Flash/AIR combo as “the game console for the web,” Adobe predicted developers would use a mix of Flash, HTML, and code in creating cross-platform applications that it described as “console-quality.” The new versions of Flash and AIR will be available early next month.

New features in the programs include the Stage 3D hardware-acceleration architecture for 2D and 3D graphics, which is ready for Mac OS, Windows, and Internet-connected TVs and in “pre-release” form for Android, iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS. Native extensions for AIR — which can now be automatically packaged with downloadable applications — let developers access data from devices like magnetometers and light sensors, and to control tactile feedback like vibration. The new versions support full-frame-rate HD video on iOS using H.264 hardware decoding, and 7.1-channel sound for television viewing.

The announcement came with endorsements from companies including the social games specialist Zynga and the independent Czech developer Amanita Design as well as traditional game-makers EA Interactive and Ubisoft.

Adobe reiterated statistics indicating that more than 98 percent of Internet-connected PCs today have Flash installed, and said mobile devices including iOS would support “Flash-based applications” via AIR. Those apps are being sold through the Android Market, the iTunes App Store, the Samsung SmartTV Store, and BlackBerry AppWorld. Adobe claims that about 70 percent of all web-based games are powered by Flash.

The news came one day after Adobe announced Q3 results that executives said showed it was on track for revenue growth of 10 percent and earnings growth of 20 percent for the fiscal year.

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