A post on Mozilla's blog by the organization's manager of quality engineering, Benjamin Smedberg, stated they're moving to block non-essential Flash content in Firefox starting in August of this year. Despite reports by other media outlets that Mozilla was cutting Flash out altogether, Smedberg stated their browser will still continue to support legacy Flash content, but will require click-to-activate approval from Firefox users beginning in 2017. Mozilla is just the latest to join the chorus of browsers such as Google's Chrome to put the brakes on Flash in a push to encourage developers and web publishers to adopt newer HTML5 standards.
For many publishers of online games, including ourselves, the news actually comes as a sigh of relief. While developers have slowly but surely been moving in the direction of HTML5 development standards, many old school games have either yet to be ported to modern standards, or may not be able to be ported depending on how they were originally developed.
Browser based game fanatics will still get access to their favorite Flash titles moving forward, but Mozilla and others insist publishers should move towards an HTML5 based standard for web publishing as soon as possible.
The bad news for online game sites? Mozilla plans to follow Google in the blocking of the NPAPI plugin coming march of 2017. Many old school Flash titles rely on this plugin to function, including a number of games we've published in the past. Google cut support for the NPAPI plugin in Chrome last fall, so the news that Firefox will soon do the same comes as no surprise.
Either way, developers of games that still require those NPAPI plugins will have close to another year to port their games over to modern HTML5 technologies, such as Open GL, as browsers continue to push for a plug-in free web.
The push to rid the web of Flash is not without merit though. Modern day websites should never rely on Flash in order sustain their core functionalities, as if the plug-in were to crash for some reason, the entire site will crash along with it!
Back in the early 2000's some publishers were using sites built solely on Flash, with all elements including images, banners, videos, and text being placed within Flash itself. Surely a bad move.
All being said, the days of Flash are numbered, but the technology isn't gone yet. Within the next few years its more than likely Flash as a whole will wiped off the face of the web.
Last year we published an article about the slow adoption of HTML5 technologies by game developers: The Mounting Problems With Flash and Mobile Games .