What Adobe does (and foresees) for social, mobile games [Interview]

Flash We would hope that, at this point, you know that Adobe is responsible for Flash, the technology behind most games on Facebook. However, we realize that you probably don't know about everything else the company does to make sure Flash stays there.

So, we recently chatted with Diana Helander, Group Product Marketing Manager for gaming solutions at Adobe, to find out exactly what Adobe is working on to make sure it stays on top in the social and casual gaming spaces across all platforms. One of those projects is known simply as AIR.

"We can reach over 1.3 billion connected devices or desktops and over 500 million smartphones and tablets with our packaging technology, AIR," Helander tells us. "So what we're seeing is that Flash solves the fragmentation problem that exists out there for these developers and publishers, allowing the delivery of their content without friction."

"We work closely with our partners like Zynga and Disney, for example, to make sure that connection is possible for them," Helander explains, "and that they're able to take advantage of that desire to increase usage and retain the users that they have both within the desktop browser as well as extending their titles to mobile or building new titles for mobile."
Ruby Blast
But judging from the enthusiastic shift in Helander's voice as she approaches the subject, Adobe is even more excited about what these moves mean for independent game makers. "One of the reasons why that's so important these days is, as you know, discoverability is really tough, especially for indie developers. You get your game into the App Store, but how do you know anybody's ever going to see it [if] it's not top ranked, promoted by Apple itself or somehow highlighted because the press found out about it?"

"I'm continually impressed and amazed by what comes out of the indie developer world, too. We have some IGF [Independent Games Festival] finalists who represent the Flash and AIR work flow incredibly, like Lume," Helander points out. I don't know if you've seen that game, but that launched at GDC [Game Developers Conference] this year--and again, beautifully designed. [State of Play] actually developed that game using paper models and then animated from there using Flash."
Unreal Engine Flash
But for everything Adobe does to make sure games made (or propagated) through Flash, it also hopes to make sure those games look dang good, too. Games like Zynga's new Ruby Blast use Flash Player 11 with Stage 3D technology to great effect already. However, moves like Unreal Engine support and Adobe's Unity partnership speak more to what Adobe sees happening in the future as far as web-based and mobile games are concerned.

"I think one of the things we really see too in the social space, and this would definitely apply to mobile, is a growth in hardcore gaming," Helander predicts. "The success of companies like Kixeye, for example, and the fact that hardcore gamers are spending time in social games and more browser-based experiences--I would expect that to apply to mobile."

It might look like Adobe has its eggs spread across too many baskets, so to speak. But if Adobe truly wants Flash to be at the forefront of all web-based and mobile gaming across all genres and audiences, would the company have it any other way?

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