Flash Developers to Pay for "Premium" Features, It's Not as Bad as It Sounds

Most Flash developers won't need the new "premium" features

Adobe Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2 are here. Judging by the version number alone, it's easy to realize that they're just incremental updates, bringing several new features but nothing revolutionary.

A lot more interesting though is the announcement that some developers may have to start paying to use "premium" Flash features. That's on top of paying for the Flash development tools of course.

It's not chunk change either, developers will have to fork over 9 percent of revenue to Adobe.

At first glance, it may seem like a suicide move, but the devil is in the details. The fact is, not that many developers will have to start paying for premium features, mostly just bigger studios looking to port their existing games to Flash Player.

Adobe will charge developers for using two key technologies, hardware acceleration in Stage 3D, the 3D graphics API that Flash 11 introduced, and a new "domain memory" technology, essentially a sandbox which enables Flash apps to run native C/C++ code inside Flash Player.

The important thing to note here is that Adobe will charge people only if they use both features. If you're a developer creating a native Flash game that uses hardware acceleration but not domain memory or the other way around, you pay nothing.

It's only if you're porting an existing PC or console game or building one from scratch and want it to reach as many people as possible that you're required to pay.

There's another big exception, apps and games packaged as AIR apps don't pay anything, only if you're building a Flash Player app. This means mobile apps created with AIR 3.2, even games, don't have to pay anything.

Even if you qualify to pay for premium users, you only pay if your game makes more than $50,000, €37,500 in revenue and only for what you make over that figure. The revenue number excludes taxes, payment processing fees as well as social networking fees, such as the 30 percent cut Facebook takes.

What's more, if you publish your game before August 1st, you don't pay anything, the premium features will only require a license after that date. Most likely, this is because Adobe Alchemy, the compiler that will take C/C++ code and spill out bits that run in the Flash sandbox is not yet ready.

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