The lack of Adobe Flash support by Apple started with the first iteration of the iPhone. Now one year and five months after the release of the iPad and six months after the release of the iPad 2; the first Flash-based game was ported and released for the tablet.
Machinarium is a great game, first released in 2009, it’s a fun interactive point and click puzzler.
But there is a catch: Machinarium is iPad 2 only. The aged hardware of the first generation iPad is unable to run the game. By using Adobe Air, Amanita Design was able to release the game for the tablet. However, there is a cost associated to running Machinarium via Adobe Air – the game can severely drain the iPad’s battery.
As the first Adobe Air ported game, what does that say for more games that are possibly built with a Flash core?
For the regular user, applications and games built with a Flash core developed through Adobe Air will have no big effect on every day usage of their iPhones or iPads. With Flash support already on Android and BlackBerry, the chance for increased spread of Flash through Adobe Air on iOS is small.
iOS developers have moved past the lack of Flash and have created a lot of great apps that don’t rely on the development platform. Machinarium is an outlier game on iOS because it was originally developed with Flash two years ago. iOS-original developed apps and games are being created within the specifications of the operating system and it would be unusual for many developers to jump immediately to Flash.
That isn’t to say that many Flash based browser apps might use a similar system and port their apps through Adobe Air. It would actually make sense for social games that are available through different webapps and on phones. But this structure for release would only work for newer applications because most browser based social games release a smartphone app in conjunction with their desktop relatives and existing games already have a mobile version available.
It might be easier to create applications through Flash, but developing an application that needs to be funneled through Adobe Air for release on newer iOS devices appears to be additional work unless developers are looking for a simultaneous release on all possible platforms.
Machinarium’s release on iPad 2 is great for game fans because now they get a portable version of an incredible game. But propagation of Adobe Air and Flash content on iOS? That’s an open door that most don’t appear to need to walk through.