Overview of Adobe Premium Features for Flash Player

  1. Publishers and commercial game developers who create games using ActionScript with Adobe technologies are not impacted by Premium Features
  2. For publishers and developers who use 3rd party tools, workflows, and languages, Premium Features cross compilation APIs (XC APIs) will provide a pathway to target the installed base of Flash Player
    1. XC APIs are defined as the combined usage of both domain memory APIs and the Stage3D GPU hardware acceleration APIs.
    2. Usage of Premium Features for Flash Player requires a license from Adobe. Content packaged with Adobe AIR as standalone applications (e.g., for iOS, Android) do not require licensing for Premium Features.
    3. Premium Features licensing includes a royalty agreement of 9% revenue share for net revenue above $50,000 total revenue per game.

What are Premium Features, and how can they benefit game publishers and developers?

Premium Features for Flash Player enable publishers and commercial game developers to target their most advanced games to Adobe Flash Player. These Premium Features for Flash Player give access to cross compilation APIs (XC APIs) that now allow publishers to target Flash Player using third-party tools and languages, including non-ActionScript languages such as C/C++ and tools like Unity to target Flash Player for the distribution of their games.

By using the XC APIs, game publishers can deliver their back catalog of games or existing assets to a much broader audience via Flash Player, thereby creating new revenue streams while maintaining the same development workflow. C/C++ developers can apply their existing skills and expertise, and may be able to reduce their development costs while expanding their reach to over 1 billion connected users with Flash Player.

The initial version of Premium Features includes the XC APIs  (domain memory APIs in combination with Stage3D hardware acceleration APIs), which allows C/C++ developers and other developers using 3rd party tools, including Unity, to target Flash Player for the distribution of their games.

To license Premium Features, visit http://www.adobe.com/go/fpl.

What are the XC APIs?

The XC APIs are the combination of domain memory APIs and Stage3D hardware acceleration APIs. Domain memory is required for cross-compilers such as the Flash Runtime C++ Compiler (flascc).

Why would I need to use Premium Features?

The initial version of the Premium Features will benefit resource intensive games and applications by providing publishers and game developers licensed access to the XC APIs. The XC APIs allow game developers to target Flash Player while using third-party tools and languages, including non-ActionScript workflows, such as Unity or native C/C++, helping publishers and developers reduce their overall development costs and deliver existing assets to a much broader audience.  

Adobe will continue to advance the Premium Features capabilities, in addition to the core platform capabilities, to provide a foundation that allows game developers to deliver rich games and experiences more easily to more people than any other platform.

Are there plans for additional features in the premium tier of capabilities?

Yes, Adobe plans to develop new premium capabilities, as well as the core platform features, to provide a foundation that allows game developers to deliver rich games and experiences more easily to more people than any other platform. In order to continuously innovate and support gaming as the market evolves, Flash Player will provide key premium capabilities that will be delivered incrementally with new releases. However, not all developers are expected to need premium capabilities to deliver great games and experiences on the web.

Adobe, from time to time, publishes a high level roadmap to provide guidance as well as insight into Adobe's current thinking and plans around core functionality contained within Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. As they are introduced to Flash Player, we plan to designate new features as premium or part of the standard set of capabilities prior to the final release of the capability, and may pre-announce through the roadmap, or during pre-release periods.

Will other features previously in Flash Player become premium? How will I know whether a feature is premium or not?

No. Other than the XC APIs, existing Flash Player capabilities are not impacted by the new terms, and we have no intent to change that in the future.

What use cases are NOT part of the Premium Features terms?

The following uses are NOT considered premium:

  1. Use of domain memory alone,
  2. Use of hardware accelerated Stage3D features alone,
  3. Use of software rendering of Stage3D, or
  4. Use of these features within SWF content packaged as apps using Adobe AIR

Other existing Flash Player capabilities are not impacted by the premium features terms, and developers can continue to use all of the great features of Flash Player that power today's experiences on the web, to reach over 1.3 billion PCs, royalty free. Adobe will continue to advance both the core platform capabilities and the new Premium Features to allow developers to deliver rich games and experiences more easily to more people than any other platform.

Obtaining a license and pricing for the use of Premium Features

Visit the Premium Features registration site to get a license for the use of Premium Features for your content.

What is the price of the Premium Features?

The Premium Features for Flash Player are licensed to game publishers and developers with a business model that continues to encourage use and experimentation:

  • There is no charge for premium feature use for the first $50K in per application net revenues.
  • A 9% revenue share on  revenue that exceeds the threshold of $50K per application will be calculated based on net revenues received by the publisher or game developer from an application, including application sales, in-app purchases, subscription fees, sponsorship, advertising fees received for advertising in, or related to, the application, less actual payment processing fees (e.g. PayPal, credit card fees), any applicable taxes (e.g. VAT) and Facebook network or other social network platform fees.
  • To ensure the success of existing content and projects, Adobe will provide royalty-free licenses for use of the Premium Features by any content publicly released prior to August 16th, 2012.

For example, if a publisher or developer publishes an application on the Facebook social platform and receives $75K from Facebook after Facebook collects its platform fee and any payment processing fees, the developer would calculate the initial royalty fee due to Adobe for the application as follows: ($75K-50K) x 9% = $2,250.

Or, if a publisher or developer publishes an application on his/her own destination (such as on their own website) and collects revenue directly from user or advertisers, the publisher or developer would calculate the initial payment to Adobe for the application by first subtracting any actual payment processing fees and taxes from the gross amount received, and subtracting the initial $50K, and then calculating 9% of the net amount.

We believe nearly all existing content will not be impacted by these changes. However, to ensure the success of existing content and projects currently under development, Adobe is extending exemptions for content publicly released prior to the launch of the Premium Features for Flash Player registration site on August 16th, 2012.

For more information about the terms, visit www.adobe.com/go/fpl.

If I use the XC APIs in my AIR applications, will the premium terms apply?

No, the use of the XC APIs is available for use within AIR applications at no charge.

What should I do if I need to license the Premium Features for use in China?

Adobe is actively engaged in discussions about Premium Features in China and intends to support them in the future.  In the meantime, if you are a game developer in China, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your plans for leveraging Premium Features in your games (fpl@adobe.com).

What will happen to my content if I don’t register and I am using the XC APIs?

The Flash Player will not begin checking for usage of Premium Features until November 1st, 2012 at the earliest. This time provides publishers and developers an opportunity to obtain a license before it is required by the Flash Player for technical implementation.

After the Flash Player begins checking for usage of Premium Features, only licensed content will be allowed to leverage the performance benefits of the XC APIs.  If appropriately defined, all other content will fall back to software rendered Stage 3D. For more information on how to handle the device lost event and provide a graceful degradation path for your content, please review the release notes for Flash Player 11.4.

If your content requires the use of Premium Features, you will need to register your content and agree to the terms of the license.

What will happen to my content if I am only using the domain memory APIs and not the Stage3D APIs?

If you are using the domain memory APIs, and not Stage3D APIs, your content will remain unaffected. You are not using the premium capabilities, and use of the domain memory is made available at no charge.

What will happen to my content if I am only using Stage3D APIs and not the domain memory APIs?

If you are using the Stage3D APIs and not the domain memory, your content will remain unaffected and will have access to hardware acceleration when available on the system. You are not using the premium capabilities, and use of hardware accelerated Stage3D is made available at no charge.

How is 2D or 3D content that is built on the Stage3D APIs affected, such as content that uses the Starling or Away3D frameworks?

Content created using Stage3D — including 2D and 3D content, such as content created with the Starling or Away3D frameworks — does NOT require a premium capabilities license unless the content also uses domain memory (domain memory is not needed to use ActionScript). Such content is not using Premium Features for Flash Player, and Stage3D hardware acceleration is available at no charge.

In addition, there is no charge to use Premium Features in Adobe AIR applications (e.g., iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac applications packaged with AIR).

I have a project currently under development that uses the XC APIs which launched prior to August 16th, 2012. How do I apply for exemptions from the Premium Features terms?

To apply for a royalty free license, please check to be sure you are eligible and then contact us at fpl@adobe.com to request an exemption review.

Please note that you will still be required to register your content to license Premium Features, including acceptance of our standard terms.  We will collect the necessary information during the eligibility review to reduce your revenue share rate to 0% for the life of your game.

I have a project that uses the XC APIs that was released as a beta prior to August 16th, 2012. Does that content qualify for an exemption from the Premium Features royalty obligations?

If the beta is open and available to the general public, the content will be eligible for an exemption from the Premium Features royalties. Closed betas, or betas where users must apply and may not be accepted, do not qualify for the exemption.

I have a project currently under development that uses the XC APIs which will launch shortly after August 16th, 2012. Can I apply for an exemption from the Premium Features royalty obligations?

Adobe understands there may be planned projects that are under active development and is interested in supporting your success. Please contact us at fpl@adobe.com to discuss your specific case, and request an exemption review.

Development Tools

Which tools do I use to take advantage of the XC APIs?

Developers wishing to take advantage of the XC APIs to publish to Flash Player can use non-ActionScript workflows, including C/C++ (via the Flash Runtime C++ Compiler) and tools like Unity.

The XC APIs are not specifically required for ActionScript developers using Flash Professional, Flash Builder, and ActionScript tools from other vendors that rely on Adobe ActionScript compilers.

What are the domain memory APIs?

In 2009, Adobe released a preview of the project codenamed "Alchemy," a prototype of a C/C++ cross-compiler that targets Flash Player. As part of the research project, we introduced a new domain memory API to support the compiler. In September 2011, we announced plans to invest in the technology and release it as part of a paid production offering for commercial development. We are now renaming project “Alchemy,” the Flash Runtime  C++ Compiler (flascc).

What is the Flash Runtime C++ Compiler (flascc)?

The Flash Runtime C++ Compiler (flascc), now available in beta, allows you to compile and execute C/C++ in Flash Player and AIR. Previously codenamed Project “Alchemy,” flascc brings C/C++ code — including the leading game engines on PCs, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 — to the web. Efficient sandboxing and seamless integration with ActionScript allow developers to combine mature C/C++ and OpenGL code bases with rich Flash technology like Stage3D. Learn more about flascc.

Is flascc part of the new Premium Features?

No, flascc is a cross-compiler that leverages domain memory to compile C/C++ to execute in the Flash runtimes. Because flascc relies on domain memory, content created with flascc that uses Stage3D hardware acceleration in Flash Player will require the XC APIs and will be subject to the Premium Features terms of use. Flascc is currently available in beta, and final license terms for use will be provided upon the initial commercial release.

When will the final version of the Flash Runtime C++ Compiler (flascc) be available?

We have not announced a release date for flascc. Developers that are interested in joining the beta program can find out more about flascc and sign up for the beta.

Will there be a way to use domain memory from ActionScript 3 without flascc?

We do not believe developers should have to use C/C++ to get faster performance. Exposing similar low-level domain memory from AS3 would be a temporary, inelegant approach that we do not want to rely on longer term in ActionScript. Instead, we intend to improve the general performance of ActionScript while retaining its simplicity and approachability. Developers can use third party tools, such as Unity, to leverage domain memory in addition to C/C++ with flascc.

How do I get started with Adobe tools for game development?

Flash technologies are powered by the intuitive, powerful ActionScript 3 (AS3) programming language. To start developing, download Adobe® Flash® Builder® 4.6 Premium software, a productive cross-platform ActionScript editor. Developers can get a free 60-day trial. If you're a current student or faculty member in school, you can get a free academic license.

You can also download Adobe® Flash® Professional CS6 to author game assets, animations, sprite sheets, and more. There is a free 30-day trial available.

For more information on how to get started, visit http://gaming.adobe.com/getstarted/

How do the XC APIs work with 3rd party tools and engines like Unity?

Third party game development tools and engines may require use of the XC APIs to enable the level of performance required for their engine or content. Unity has integrated access to the XC APIs to support publishing content to Flash Player, and use of the Premium Features are expected to be transparent to developers. Content that leverages the XC APIs will require a license to execute in Flash Player, whether the developer calls the APIs directly or through the use of an engine or tool.

For examples of games developed using Unity tools that target the Flash Player, please visit the Adobe Gaming website.

If you are a tools, middleware, or game engine provider, please contact us at fpl@adobe.com for more information on how to leverage the Flash Runtime C++ Compiler (flascc) or XC APIs to target Flash Player.

How do I get started with the Unity tools?

Unity 4 includes the preview of the Adobe Flash Player deployment add-on. You can pre-order Unity 4 here: http://unity3d.com/#flash

How do the terms apply to tools that leverage the Premium Features such as HAXE, Azoth and Apparat?

If developers create content using 3rd party tools and languages that leverage the XC APIs, the content will need to have a license from Adobe to run with hardware acceleration in Flash Player. Otherwise, the content is unaffected.

If you are a tools, middleware, or game engine provider, please contact us at fpl@adobe.com for more information on how to leverage the XC APIs to target Flash Player.

Where should I go for more information about the Premium Features?

Please visit this page for more information about the Premium Features and program terms.

Adobe Gaming