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Flash support will end in 2020, Adobe says

It's been a long time coming, but the end is finally nigh for the once ubiquitous technology

Adobe will stop updating and distributing Flash Player by the end of 2020, signalling the end for the once ubiquitous multimedia technology.

Adobe has asked content creators - which include a significant number of game developers - to migrate their content to open formats like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly, mindful of the fact that, "Several industries and businesses have been built around Flash technology."

It will continue to support Flash where it still exists until the end of 2020, which will include issuing security patches and adding features as required. Adobe's key partners in the end-of-life process are Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, all of whom have issued statements regarding the decision - links to those statements are embedded in Adobe's announcement blog post.

Google, which makes the market leading Chrome browser, offered clear evidence of Flash's precipitous decline. Three years ago, the company said, 80% of Chrome users would visit a website that used Flash every day; today, that figure is now just 17% and falling.

"As open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web," Adobe said in a statement.

"Over time, we've seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins."

For game developers, HTML5 has long been regarded as the eventual usurper of Flash, which formed the basis of a large and vibrant community of independent developers. Kongregate was one of the key platforms for Flash games, but last week it published data indicating that, at long last, HTML5's moment may finally have arrived.

"This is very exciting news for game developers," Kongregate said. "Developers no longer have to rely on 3rd party plugins to ensure that their games can be played. Additionally, with HTML5 working well in most mobile browsers too, cross-platform deployment can be done with a single version of a game instead of creating native apps for each platform.

"This technology has existed for a decade, but now it has reached a point that it can compete toe-to-toe with plugins."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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