Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
April 20, 2014
arrowPress Releases
April 20, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM TechWeb sites:


Microsoft Drops Flash Support In Upcoming Browser
Microsoft Drops Flash Support In Upcoming Browser
September 15, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

September 15, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi
Comments
    45 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Production, Business/Marketing



A future version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser will drop support for plug-ins that include Adobe Flash, the current de facto platform for Facebook games.

As part of a series of Windows 8-related announcements at this week's Build developer conference, the company announced that its upcoming operating system will ship with two versions of Internet Explorer 10: one will be an iteration of the traditional desktop browser, complete with plug-in support, while the other will run in the tile-based Metro interface Gamasutra reported on this week.

That latter browser, which appears to be the operating system's default, will be entirely plug-in free, the company said.

"For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free," said Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch in a blog post. According to Hachamovitch, the plug-in experience is "not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web."

"Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers," he continued. "Plug-ins were important early on in the web’s history. But the web has come a long way since then with HTML5. Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI."

While the company will still offer its alternative interface for desktop users, the news comes as a blow to developers who depend on platforms such as Flash and the Unity 3D engine for games. Microsoft is pushing hard for the adoption of this Metro interface, which resembles the current Windows Phone 7 GUI and is designed to run the same on both desktops and tablet environments.

According to Microsoft, the Metro version of the browser will have a "Use Desktop View" button to switch browsers for sites that require it.

Flash maker Adobe has been taking steps to insure its survival as the web transitions from plug-in dependence to a more universal HTML5 protocol, including building tools that allow traditional Flash media to be easily exported to other formats.

Many of the most popular sites on the internet have already begun offering alternative experiences for those running Flash-free browsers, such as the version of Safari on Apple's iOS devices. YouTube famously launched an HTML5 version of its website recently, and Facebook has been teasing Project Spartan, an HTML5-based app distribution platform.


Related Jobs

Treyarch / Activision
Treyarch / Activision — Santa Monica, California, United States
[04.19.14]

Associate Art Director - Treyarch
Treyarch / Activision
Treyarch / Activision — Santa Monica, California, United States
[04.19.14]

Associate Animator (temporary) - Treyarch
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
[04.19.14]

Principal Graphics Programmer
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States
[04.19.14]

Executive Producer-Skylanders










Comments


Martin Crownover
profile image
Before this, I thought that games might actually be what saves Flash from Oblivion... but it seems to me that this is simultaneously a very big blow against the Flash platform and a very big step forward for HTML5 game development.



It's a bit of a shame, since it's a pretty decent platform for people who use it properly, but I suppose we saw this coming when Apple took a stand against it with its mobile platforms. I'm sure that many people who have been using mobile platforms (Apple and not) that don't support Flash now won't even notice its absence, especially once sites like Facebook and YouTube begin using it more extensively.



It'll be interesting to see how more people react to this as more of them begin using Windows 8 into the developer preview and beyond to the final release. I know the Silverlight crowd (at least, those over at Reddit) seemed pretty upset today, but who's to say MS won't bake Silverlight support into the Metro version of IE10? I haven't read any official word that they wouldn't do that yet, anyway.

Curtis Wiens
profile image
Um. Microsoft is notorious for creating lots of crap that people never use. Metro browser sounds ripe for never gaining traction. Firefox, I believe is the most used browser anyways. Scaleform is the most popular UI platform for games and its swf based. I agree that all the things that Flash has been doing to evolve the web will likely fall under other technologies but that is just normal. When you see Microsoft trying to challenge what is already established think ZUNE (the iPod killer)...discontinued.

David Graham
profile image
HTML5 doesen't come close to Flash when it comes to games. Long live Flash.

Cartrell Hampton
profile image
Hey.



I agree. Also, Micro$oft is just mad because their precious Silverlight couldn't kill off Flash, haha!



- Ziro out.

zed zeek
profile image
depends

try one of my html5,js,webgl games eg

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/npnkicflpnpaaaapcmefgfdmfkd klfnf?ct=author



you'll need chrome14 (just released) to hear sound

Now I dont think ATM this level of 3d graphics is possible with flash is it?

Slider a
profile image
@zed: Molehill?

Caulder Bradford
profile image
There is only ONE reason Apple and now Microsoft are creating a technological embargo against Flash:



Flash is getting too powerful and too widely used. They want to cut it down at the knees before it can overtake areas of the market that they control (or plan to control).



Once again both Microsoft and Apple prove that they don't care about developers.

Bob Johnson
profile image
Well there's also the little matter of Flash being a resource hog.

Bruno Patatas
profile image
I only use Internet Explorer to download Firefox. I never open it again...



This means that you will no longer be able to play games made not only with Flash but also with other engines like Unity that force you to install their plug-in to be able to play. Glad that Unity on the next version will be able to export to Flash. Problem solved. Oh, wait... Damn!!

Mark Harris
profile image
Aren't you special. Browser choice is irrelevant 99.9% of the time, since they all work fine for standard browsing.



As for the whole Flash deal, IE10 has a desktop mode that supports plugins for Flash and Unity. So yeah, problem solved... since no actual problem exists.

Samuel Batista
profile image
What Microsoft and Apple are really saying here, is that Flash is not designed for touch based inputs (even if it supports it) and portable devices (CPU killer). And as a professional Flash developer, it's hard to argue with that. Apps, and more importantly games, that are developed natively for a particular platform are much more polished and provide a better experience than those created to run on the Flash player in a browser. Microsoft and Apple understand that clearly (and also want to promote their own "App Stores"), so this announcement doesn't come as a big surprise.



Flash won't go away, but its user base won't grow with the rise of the tablet and touch based devices. This announcement from Microsoft is pretty much a guarantee that Flash is an old technology in decline. There's still a big problem that needs to be addressed with regards to content protection with HTML5 (underneath all the great HTML5 presentation of Grooveshark and Turntable, rests a tiny Flash music player, because people can't open up a console and print the MP3s source URL), and it'll be interesting to see how this issue is addressed in the future.



But I think developers that want to protect their content and generate revenue from it will migrate natively to the platform and will have to create Metro or Cocoa applications that will be obtainable from the "App Stores". In the future, you can't just code it once and have it run everywhere, and from the standpoint of a platform owner, that's just fine.

Chris Melby
profile image
Wow samuel, that's BS. Have you not been paying attention this past year?



As a so called professional Flash developer, how can you not know that Flash supports multi-touch?



Have you not built anything for a capacitive screen? I have and what you say is ridiculous.



And the whole argument about touch is completely flawed and just stupid, as it can also be applied to hyperlinks and JavaScript. Whoever brought it up the other year, was rather short sighted and obviously clueless about anything when it comes to web outside of maybe wordpress or any template based site building.



And as noted, Flash supports multi-touch, which a real pro Flash dev would know.



And a CPU killer? Are you just not that experienced with Flash development? If you're one of those timeline tween guys that abuses nested movieclips, and probably thinks AS3 is EVIL, then yes, poorly developed content can suck the battery on any device, just as the crapplications do on my iPad and various Android devices.



And Flash is already growing. It's on practically every new Android device and it's one of the most downloaded Android market apps(well, plug-in).



I know OBjective C, Java, and AS3. I've worked on enterprise apps for the various platforms. There's no question that if you want to get the best out of a device, you should build it with its SDK/NDK, but I also know that with AIR 2.7 and the coming of 3, and as someone that actually knows how to optimize both code and art and is working on projects for tablet, the write once run everywhere for some types of apps is becoming a reality.



Your comments in general makes me think you're either an inexperienced Flash developer, or not being truthful.

Leo Gura
profile image
Thanks, Microsoft, for making it crystal clear why no one should use IE.

Samuel Batista
profile image
I'll be interesting to see if Firefox or Chrome will create "Metro" versions of their browsers with plugin support. That would be rad :-P

Tyler Overby
profile image
As someone who is looking for a job as a Flash Developer, this is entirely discouraging. I knew I would have to learn more HTML at some point, but this is ridiculous.

Miha z
profile image
You will certainly have to learn HTML5 canvas + javascript at some point (in a few years?) but in the meantime while the canvas is slower and harder for making games you can use Adobe AIR to convert to native applications.

Samuel Batista
profile image
@Tyler: Don't make the mistake of thinking that Flash knowledge is not useful. Scaleform is the standard UI solution for most AAA games out in the market today, and that won't likely change anytime soon. In addition, HTML5's innovation is it's strong support of Javascript, something that should feel very familiar to Flash programmers.

Chris Melby
profile image
JavaScript is a major throwback to when ActionScript sucked. ;)

Samuel Batista
profile image
Can't argue with you there... hopefully it will evolve quickly.

Chris Melby
profile image
Yeah, hopefully, but outside of jquerry libraries, JS is not that much better now than when I first started working with it years back and since it's so reliant on browsers, it's progress will continue to be hindered.

Chris Melby
profile image
Nice gotcha headline.



I have to ask. Why is it, that when it comes to HTML 5, why is it that most editors are kind of clueless about what it is and what Adobe actually does? :)



Of course MS doesn't want Flash or "ANY" plug-in in their new Browser, so that also includes Java. Just as Apple doesn't want it in iOS. When they say pure HTML 5, they're saying we want you to only view video via Windows Media player or Quicktime. In Apple's case, they want absolute control. Both MS and Apple have a vested interest in H.264 -- which btw, if Adobe hadn't adopted it back in 2007 for Flash, YouTube wouldn't have been a reality under iOS.



And something else to point out, since most don't know this. Apple owns the Canvas tag and that's scary, because they've shown in recent years, that they're not open at all and are already trying to trademark WebKit -- which they said would remain open. I don't trust Apple one bit now days after having used their products for so long, and it's obvious that MS is trying emulate their success with iOS, so this is just another me too move on their part.



And Frank, despite your last famously comment about YouTube going HTML5, which is just a "trial" btw -- that only iOS geeks seem to be happy about -- there are still so many instances of video on the web that simply do not work under mobile Safari. And if the YouTube video has advertising, it won't play on an iOS device. And when it comes to alternative experiences, iOS always gets the dumbed down mobile site -- yep, that's progress.



Anyways, here's my opinion; Windows 8 is dead on arrival and even if that's not the case, its adoption rate will take years, so Flash is not going anywhere -- my Flash work load has not decreased and my clients that swallowed the stupid Job's pill have since come to their senses. I bet most will stop using Metro's browser, for the same reason IE's share has been slipping. I'm certainly not moving to an OS that considers a mouse and keyboard a "pro" option and shoves the desktop as I know it into an application.



Now here's a fact, despite all this Flash is dying BS -- which is like the Apple is dying I encountered over an over from the Apple haters, since I've used Macs for decades, it's actually increased in market penetration and is now on a wider spectrum of devices than before. Flash's share for video playback absolutely trumps all other plug-ins. In the same time, iOS's growth has plateaued off while Android's growth has exploded. HTML 5 -- which is not even a standard -- when it comes to game development and protected video playback, or any level of rich interaction, is just not a viable alternative in most situations. It suffers from all of the same cross platform and cross browser shortcoming as prior versions of HTML and it's just as dependent on JavaScript which is slow and limited.



Anyways, nice to see that so many are so willing to sacrifice choice, because greedy corporations always know best. Well, here's looking forward to Android replacing Windows as my desktop OS on my PCs in the coming years.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
profile image
"Apple owns the Canvas tag"



... what?? :(



Just Googled that, I don't understand this world any more. How can you own part of a language specification??? How does this work? Does this mean that anyone using the Canvas element to make games in html5 owes Apple royalties? What about browsers that support the tag? What if the browsers use different algorithms for "interpreting" the Canvas tag? I haven't used the Canvas tag so my questions might even be nonsense (apologies if that is the case).

Chris Melby
profile image
Yeah, that caught me off guard also.



It was originally created by Apple for Dashboard, which are little Safari browsers.

Daniel Gardiner
profile image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canvas_element#Intellectual_property
_over_canvas



It wasnt part of the standard.. well HTML5 still is not a standard. Its a mute point anyhow, its royalty free.



The W3C would never have used it if it was otherwise.

Chris Melby
profile image
@Daniel,



Hopefully. But Apple's recent actions make them untrustworthy IMO;

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/13/w3c_targets_apple_patent/

Andrew Grapsas
profile image
Wow, headline should be: Microsoft bets on poorly implemented half-supported technology with known performance bottlenecks and language limitations in an effort to control its internet platform.



Sweet, all the more reason for me to keep using Ubuntu.

Jordan Laine
profile image
^^

Couldn't have put it any better.

Camilo R
profile image
This should close quite a few attack vectors for hackers.

Martain Chandler
profile image
...and un-erasable cookie tracking.

Felipe Budinich
profile image
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/betterprivacy/



un-erasable?

Lars Doucet
profile image
Unlikely to be a big deal in the long run. In the unlikely case that MS does real damage to flash, I guess there's always HaXe...

Sheridan Thirsk
profile image
I hope people actually read the line about two versions of IE, one with traditional plug-in support and the one connected to metro ui without plug-in. I suppose if some light weight devices prevented use of the full-IE, then alarms should be going off, but until then, a low-power ie seems nice to have as an option.

Miha z
profile image
Of course Microsoft forget, just like Apple did, to state number one reason why there will be no Flash in the web browser (in Metro): the application store control and potential profit from it.



Microsoft is going to sell lots of games (and other apps) in the app store. If they want to be successful, users have to have harder and less user friendly access to web game portals where the majority of games are made with plugins. No plugin in the browser means far far less web games, leading users to buy in the app store. At least that is the case now, because it's harder to do a HTML5 game and it runs slowly -- and is still too slow (unusable) for mobile game development (tablets).



Also the arguments of better battery life and multi touch are not so valid when we look at them through game development. Flash is faster then canvas (and in the case of iOS, making a canvas game is a joke!) and too supports multi touch -- but to fully use multi touch capabilities the developer has to make such application.



Marketing-style talk aside, as a Flash developer this actually makes only little difference to me. When developing a game I think I would probably use Adobe AIR anyway to make native windows app for inclusion in the app store.

Alex Leighton
profile image
What you said. Who would pay 3 bucks for Tetris or Space Invaders if you could just go online and play a flash version for free?

Joel Nystrom
profile image
Many, many people, for many reasons.

Diego Leao
profile image
This will make Firefox evangelists job so much easier: "Download Firefox - it runs Flash!"

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
Let me count the reasons why I do not use Internet Explorer. Long live Chrome and Fire Fox!

Bob Johnson
profile image
Spoken like a bunch of flash developers. Hey I wouldn't want my development platform to go away either.



But Flash is a resource hog. That's why it isn't on an iPhone.



The cynical will say its control. But the reality says otherwise. It's been 4 years since the iPhone came out. Obvious now that Apple made the best decision for their platform because no one is saying flash runs great on their smartphone.



Native apps run better than Flash apps. The write once and run everywhere is great for lazy developers. But sucks for the end users.



I'm waiting for someone to calculate how energy the world will save by going to H.264 video. IT's got to be a huge number. Al Gore you listening?

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
Think about this for a second. Flash is used for video. Youtube uses flash. How many people use Youtube? Tens of millions of people around the world. If IE does not use Flash then these people cannot use Youtube. Granted a lot of these people may all ready use alternative browsers, but a lot of them also use IE. If they cannot watch Youtube on IE then how many people do you figure will stop using IE for their browser? People do love Youtube, a lot. I think someone over at Microsoft did not take this into consideration. I also somehow doubt that Firefox or Chrome will stop using Flash.

Lyon Medina
profile image
YouTube doesnt only use Flash. If it did then most (if not all) of videos that you see on I-Phones would never work. (and other some other devices, I dont know them only of them.) There have always been alternatives, and Microsoft wants to seek their alternative to inrease revenue and work on bigger and better things.

Chris Melby
profile image
@Bob,



You're seriously out of touch as most of your comments stem from ignorance. And going by what you've said, it's pretty clear to me that you got your misinformation from the school of iOS zealotry.



Flash is a resource hog? Uh no, it's not. But I take it you don't know much about development on any platform, or you're just new, so you're just cluelessly repeating other's talking points.



One doesn't have to be cynical to see that the removal of choice is rarely a good thing. But one does have to be somewhat mindless to think that corporate hand holding is what's best.



Flash runs great on my Nexus One. Considering Iv'e optimized for slower Macs and PCs with less resources than my current phone, or my iPad, or any of my other Tablets, portables now days are really impressive. Anyways, I'm not a no one. So speak for yourself Bob.



And yeah captain obvious, native apps run better for reasons that are obvious to anyone that actually knows how to develop. And lazy developers? Really? The only thing that's lazy here, are your clueless talking points.



BTW Bob, Flash Player 9 implemented h.264 support towards the end of 2007. 4 years ago. Bob, are you listening?



Anyways, as long as your world of corporate hand holding doesn't limit my choices, I'm good with it. But as soon as you or others come into my world and try to tell me what's best for me, then I have an issue.

Chris Melby
profile image
@Lyon,



It's because of h.264 support which Adobe added years back, that the iOS YouTube player and other devices can handle some content.



The videos that won't play under iOS are the ones that were encoded in On2 VP6, which was the codec Flash initially adopted and any video that has advertising.



Now I'm curious, I'm wondering if iOS can play back WebM? Well, time to boot up me iPad.

Lyon Medina
profile image
Yeah I thought they ran on Quicktime? I could be mistaken. Just browsing comments.

Alexander Jhin
profile image
And all the programmers let out a big groan.



"Programming" HTML 5 via JavaScript is a pain in the butt compared to Flash's ActionScript 3.0. For me, moving to JavaScript is a huge step backwards: C --> C++ -> C# -> Actionscript 3 -> JavaScript???? No thank you! JavaScript has about the same language features as ActionScript 2.0.



Somebody needs to make JavaScript a, you know, modern language if the HTML 5 revolution is really going to happen. Microsoft and Apple are you listening?

Mark Harris
profile image
This comment thread is a LoLfest. Continuing the theme of kneejerk reactions based on an article headline...



IE10 in Metro format uses no plug-ins... yet the article clearly states there will not only be a separate version with full plug-in support, but that the Metro version will actually have a button to specifically switch over to the plug-in version for sites that need it.



Reading comprehension FTW!


none
 
Comment: