The Macromedia Shockwave Flash, now the Adobe Shockwave Player, enables users to experience rich web content such as 3D movies and games right on their browser. It is a platform used to playback content made by Adobe Director, used to include animated and interactive movies and games on the browser, and was first developed by Macromedia until it and the software they’ve authored were acquired by Adobe in 2005. In other words, a Shockwave Player plugin enables users to view content made by Adobe Director, which can come embedded on a website or as an app on a website (such as for Facebook games). It is commonly mistaken for Flash Player, although they are quite different.
The main difference between the Shockwave and the Flash Players are that Shockwave includes Flash, while Flash does not, and developers are more partial with the Shockwave Player since it offers more tools and supports more web content than just Flash. In particular, Shockwave supports hardware acceleration and a faster rendering engine for a smoother, more desktop-like content, plus support over an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and other various network protocols. Furthermore, Shockwave can be augmented and enhanced by the use of Xtras, or plug-ins, which are either made by third-party developers or made by Adobe itself.
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