Adobe to charge Flash devs for 'premium' 3D features

As we saw earlier this month, the latest version of Flash has all the right bits and pieces to allow for a playable Unreal Engine 3 tech demo. Pretty impressive stuff. According to CNet News, however, there's a slight catch: starting in August, Adobe will require a cut of commercial projects that use the "premium" features required to make such games possible. Adobe says so quite plainly on its Adobe Flash Player Premium Features for Gaming page:

The premium features are available royalty free and without restriction through July 31, 2012. Starting August 1, the premium features will require a license from Adobe. Applications that make less than $50,000 in revenues will remain free of any royalties, as will any use of the premium features in applications packaged with Adobe AIR, including mobile applications for iOS and Android.

There is no charge to use premium features in applications that generate less than $50,000 in application revenue. For each application that has net revenue up to $50,000, the fee to use premium features will be a 9% revenue share on application net revenue above $50,000.

The official FAQ page says the first (and currently only) "premium feature" allows developers to use domain memory with Stage3D hardware acceleration in the Flash Player. As I understand it, accessing domain memory currently requires the use of Alchemy, a C/C++ cross-compiler, but Adobe aims to implement similar functionality in a future ActionScript compiler.

Adobe told CNet News the aforementioned fees will help improve Flash and its support for game developers. The company also said the pricing was designed to "encourage the kind of innovation and experimentation that often helps to spark inspired and inventive games." I'm sure no additional fees at all would have been even more encouraging, though, of course. (Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the heads up.)

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