Developers divided on impact of new 'premium' royalty charges

New Adobe Flash policy ‘will not hurt small devs’

Adobe’s decision to begin taking royalties from certain games made in Flash “will only affect the Zyngas and Rovios of this world”, an indie developer familiar with the tech has said.

Many developers have complained that Adobe’s new tactic – to implement new royalty charges to Flash games – will have too negative an impact on revenues.

From August, Adobe will take a 9 per cent sales cut from developers working with Flash, providing they use the combination of two new “premium feature” APIs and pass certain sales thresholds.

Developers will be charged only if they employ hardware accelerated rendering in combination with domain memory, and only when they begin to make more than $50,000 per game.

Mark Burvill, of Flash studio Antifuzz, told GamesIndustry International that the new payment model is “only going to affect the Zyngas and Rovios of this world who go on to develop the next generation of console-quality games for the web."

However, one developer believes that all Flash developers will be affected in some form.

Richard Davey, technical director of Aardman Digital, reckons that all Flash projects will likely need to be licensed before they go on commercial release.

"We fully expect this to take the form of a digital certificate, creating a signed SWF,” he said.

Adobe’s premium feature APIs allow high-end graphics to be played through browsers by utilising the player’s own hardware.

Spry Fox developer Daniel Cook believes that all Flash developers will be affected in the long-run.

"I think it would be a mistake to see this as a move that only affects the high-end developers that want to make 3D extravaganzas," he told Gamasutra.

"The definition of ‘premium’ will no doubt broaden over time and basic tech like Stage3D will end up being essential to how you build modern games in Flash," he said.

"The more services that take a piece of [my game’s] revenue, the less I’m able to run a sustainable business. These pieces add up. Adobe takes 9 per cent, payment providers take 5-40 per cent, portals take 30-50 per cent.

“Each middleman proclaims that they are only taking a tiny little sliver of a very big pie. But each slice decreases the value of someone playing my game."

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