What Happens to Flash-Powered Facebook Games When Adobe Scuttles the Format in 2020?

Open web standards like HTML5 are among the options

What will happen to games on Facebook that are powered by Flash in the wake of Adobe’s announcement Tuesday that the format will be phased out by the end of 2020?

Facebook partner engineering manager Jakub Pudelek announced in a blog post Tuesday that the social network is teaming up with Adobe, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Unity on a migration path for developers with Flash-powered games on Facebook.

Pudelek pointed to open web standards like WebGL and HTML5, discussing Facebook’s focus on the latter by noting that more than 200 HTML5 games are live on Facebook, most of which are less than one year old, and adding that developers including King and Plarium have migrated at least one Flash game to HTML5 on Facebook “with minimal impact to their existing customers.”

He also suggested that developers explore making their games available via Gameroom, Facebook’s desktop gaming application for PCs, which supports native and web formats including cocos2D, HTML5, Unity, Unreal and WebGL.

Pudelek said Facebook recommends that all new games developed for the social network use open web standards, and he directed developers to the social network’s Unity WebGL guide.

He also announced two training webinars for developers on how to migrate their games off Flash, set for Aug. 30 and Oct. 25. Registration is available here.

Adobe said in its announcement about Flash’s fate:

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. 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.

Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners—including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla—Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

And Facebook director of global games partnerships Leo Olebe said in a statement emailed to Social Pro Daily:

Games are an important part of Facebook, and we’re committed to giving developers the right tools to connect with the millions of people playing games on our platform. While many new games on the platform are built using open web standards, we’re equipping all developers with access to the latest technology, online guides, webinars and other resources to ensure a successful and easy migration of Flash games with minimal impact to players. Many developers have already begun migrating their games, and by 2020, we anticipate that the majority of our largest developers will transition games from Flash to open web standards.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
Publish date: July 25, 2017 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/flash-powered-facebook-games-adobe-2020/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT