Almost 400 million people have installed the Macromedia Shockwave player on their computers. This allows them to play free online games which have an astounding level of quality and detail. Shockwave is Macromedia's first multimedia player and predates the existence of Flash. Though it was specifically designed for movies, Shockwave has become the tool of choice for developing online games.
The 3D engine used with Shockwave is the most powerful in existence today for online games. It has surpassed even Java in popularity. Most developers now use this amazing tool to create free online games. All flash files can be played in the shockwave player. The Shockwave engine renders objects much faster than Flash, and it also works with the video hardware on the user's computer. The only problem with Shockwave is that it is not available for Linux. The Linux community is lobbying to change this.
The free online games produced using the Shockwave engine are nothing short of impressive. It is believed by many experts that further advances in this technology may allow it to compete with console games in the future. While this may sound slightly far fetched, it is far from being impossible. Many argue that the graphics capability of the Shockwave engine can compete with or surpass that of the PSP or Nintendo DS. While this is up for debate, there can be no doubt that Shockwave is a force to be reckoned with.
Games can be produced in Shockwave for any genre. Racing games, RPGs, fighting, and simulators are all currently available in Shockwave. Many of these free online games require users to meet certain system requirements in order to play them. This is the only downside which separates them from console games. All games which are designed for a specific console will work. With Shockwave you need to have a computer which is powerful enough to play them. The most powerful advantage Shockwave games have over console games is cost.
While many of these games may be free, some cost as little as $9.95 per download. This is a lot cheaper than the $40 you will pay for a PSP game, or the $60 you will pay for an Xbox 360 game. As better games are released in Shockwave, we may see a shift in popularity from console games back to computer games in the future. Shockwave has made a huge impact in free online games and their developement.