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Adobe announces Unity partnership, charging for 'premium features'

Adobe announces Unity partnership, charging for 'premium features'

March 28, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

March 28, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Programming

In an effort to further align its business with the game development community, Adobe has revealed an official partnership with engine provider Unity Technologies, as well as some new gaming-focused features for its Flash and AIR products.

With this new partnership, Adobe and Unity will work together to help existing Unity customers target Flash within their existing workflow. Unity added Flash support on its own late last year, but Adobe says that its participation will make the interaction between the two platforms all the more fluid.

"We weren't working with [Unity] when they added Flash support, but this new partnership means that all Unity content will work when exported to Flash Player," Adobe's Diana Helander told Gamasutra.

She added that the Unity deal marks first in a series of future partnerships tailored to game developers. She did not provide any specifics, but promised that Adobe wants to support gaming initiatives across the web, mobile devices, and beyond.

"When it comes to games, we've seen some huge growth in social and casual gaming. We also saw that the market was pushing toward launching content on mobile, so we're looking to capitalize on the opportunity on mobile, and really, on any screen," she said.

Alongside the Unity partnership, Adobe also debuted the final versions of Flash Player 11.2 and Adobe AIR 3.2, adding some new features targeted specifically at game developers.

The first of which, available as a "premium feature" with special usage requirements, allows developers to use hardware-acceleration via Stage3D alongside with fast memory op codes, enabling more graphically intensive 3D experiences within Flash.

Adobe also mentioned that this premium feature would benefit C/C++ developers, as they can now more easily release their high-end 3D games via Adobe's platform.

[UPDATE: Adobe has now revealed that developers who utilize these premium features in a commercial game will be required to give 9 percent of revenues from their game beyond $50,000 total to the company.

"There is no charge to use premium features in applications that generate less than $50,000 in application revenue," it said. "Net revenue is calculated as revenue after taxes, payment processing fees, and social network platform fees are subtracted."

Abobe also noted that developers will not be charged royalty fees if they use the op codes alone, or the hardware accelerated Stage3D features alone. Developers only liable to incur additional fees if they use these features in combination within Flash -- and those features are available via AIR royalty free. Developers using non-hardware accelerated rendering in Stage3D are also not required to pay additional fees.

The new terms of service will go into effect August 1, and Adobe predicts that most content will not require the premium feature.]

"[The premium feature] will enable an expanded workflow for game developers. Non-Flash developers that are using C/C++ can cross-compile their content for delivery via the Flash Player, and thereby benefit from the reach of Flash," said Helander. "We want it to broaden monetization opportunity on the web."

In addition, Adobe also added to Flash and AIR some additional standard features such as support for mouse-lock, hardware-accelerated 2D/3D graphics with multi-threaded video decoding, and more. Helander added that Adobe plans to introduce some game analytics and revenue tools in its future updates.

For more information on the new features available in Flash 11.2 or AIR 3.2, visit Adobe's official website.

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