Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Mountain has Moved

There's a new 3D product from Adobe. And it's not Shockwave3D.

Tom Higgins, the Director product manager, thinks this is a good sign, but I'm not so optimistic. Yes, it means that Adobe is looking to move into the 3D market, but it also means that they'll have two different 3D solutions, and the one embedded in Acrobat is probably going to be the golden child.

On top of that, Adobe's past efforts in the 3D realm do not inspire a lot of confidence. Remember Adobe Atmosphere? No? Well, that's because it was only one step up from vaporware. It shipped, but it got discontinued so fast that most people don't even know it existed.

So, I'm skeptical that this will mean good things for Director. Personally, I think they'd be crazy not to embrace and promote Shockwave3D. It's got so much potential, and with a little investment to bring it up-to-date, they could easily corner the market, becoming the dominant web-based casual game development platform. And with all the buzz about the untapped revenue in casual gaming (some estimates think it could go higher than the top-shelf gaming titles), there's a lot of money to be made there if Adobe is smart enough to position the product quickly and effectively.

More likely, though, they'll allow the technology to languish in the same way that Macromedia did, and eventually, they'll lose their window of opportunity, ceding the field to some other company who will make those millions off of casual gaming.

I hope Tom is correct that this is the dawn of a new hope, but I think that this might just be another nail in the coffin.

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