Shockwave is a platform used to build multimedia applications and games for viewing in a web browser on a computer with the Shockwave Player plugin installed.
During the 1990s, Shockwave was one of the leading platforms for browser-based games and interactive applications. At the time, it was necessary to use a third-party plugin for any multimedia applications and games, including videos. In order to view multimedia content, website visitors would first download and install the appropriate plugin, and then they would be able to view and interact with the multimedia content.
Shockwave, along with Flash and Java, were some of the most popular platforms for developing interactive applications, and offering playback of multimedia content. Shockwave's popularity began to decline in the 2000s, and today Shockwave lags far behind Flash, Java, and HTML5 Video in terms of both usage and browser support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why has Shockwave's popularity declined?
Shockwave lost market share to competing technologies that were easier to implement and work with, namely Flash, Java, and more recently, native video support in HTML5. While Shockwave is still considered to offer exceptional versatility for complex applications, such as interactive games, for more mundane purposes Shockwave has lost market share to platforms that are easier to work with.
Is Shockwave still available?
The Shockwave Player plugin is still actively maintained by Adobe, and available for installation. Shockwave applications are developed using Adobe Director, which is also under ongoing development. While the use of Shockwave on the web has declined considerably, Shockwave is still popular within certain niches, such as kiosk presentations and interactive video games. According to Adobe, there are still approximately 450 million desktop computers on which Shockwave is installed.
I still have some Shockwave content on my website. Is this ok?
Shockwave is still actively supported by Adobe. Therefore, full technical support exists for Shockwave content. However, more and more web users are avoiding third-party plugins like Shockwave and Flash. So it's possible you are missing out on potential visitors due to the use of Shockwave. While you may need the capabilities of Shockwave for something like an interactive game, if you are using Shockwave to deliver content that could be delivered with a more broadly supported technology, consider making a change.
I visited a site that wanted me to install Shockwave. Should I install it?
That's completely up to you. If you really want access to the content, then downloading and installing the plugin is probably the only way you're going to get it. If you do decided to install Shockwave, we recommend going straight to the source and avoiding third-party download services.
Is Shockwave safe to install?
Shockwave itself is completely safe. However, there is some concern that the Shockwave core includes seldom-updated components that present a security risk. As a result, some security experts advise uninstalling Shockwave since the unpatched components can be used as a backdoor into any computer on which the Shockwave Player plugin is installed.