Adobe ShockWave Player

A plugin for web browsers that allows users to play action games on the web

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    Windows XP / Windows 10 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 10

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  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free
  • Vote:
    7.1 (728)
Adobe ShockWave Player
Adobe ShockWave Player

For many years now, the Adobe brand has been at the forefront of PC entertainment, most notably for its Flash player which is the most widely used player on the planet, but also for the Adobe Shockwave game engine, which is also incredibly popular.

An Overview of Adobe Shockwave Player

If you have a PC and have played games before, you have likely used a piece of Adobe software to do it. A lot of the games you'll find online are compatible with Flash, particularly side-scroller games and other games with simpler levels. However, FPS games and even RPGs mostly rely on the Adobe Shockwave Player. So if you haven't downloaded this yet, it's something you may want to download.

Many big name developers online, and especially start-ups, rely entirely on Shockwave and haven't upgraded to other platforms yet. This is because Shockwave is easy to manage, upgrades regularly, and costs nothing to download. In fact, all you have to do is load up a game that requires Shockwave and you will be prompted to install it, so you don't even have to technically visit their website.

What Adobe Shockwave Player Is and What It Does

You will find that Shockwave provides you with a lot of action. Now, it's not the sort of platform that's going to offer the graphically intense experiences that you would get on a gaming console, or on those high-dollar gaming PC rigs with big-name games, but for mid-level gaming, the Shockwave player is a pretty good addition to your software. The best thing about Shockwave for browser-based gaming is that it's not in the way. You can download it and only take up a few MBs of space, and when it's not in use, you're never even going to notice that it's there. It's something that's folded into your browser's functionality, not an icon program on the desktop.

With the Shockwave player, you get a great frame rate, good graphics, and HD gaming without needing to have an expensive gaming rig. And the fact is that most browser-based games you're going to find online will require Shockwave, so it's a program you may actually have to download if you want to play certain types of games. In other words, Adobe Shockwave Player isn't so much a program as it is a plug-in. What this means, in a nutshell, is that it's incredibly compact and lightweight, leaving practically zero footprint, and it will download and install in seconds. And when a new version rolls out and you don't like it, you can always just revert back to the old player you used to have so you won't be stuck with the update if you don't like it.

Pros and Cons


  • Player is 100% free
  • Shockwave is very lightweight with no footprint
  • This plug-in powers millions of games as an engine
  • Frequently updated and is great at handling bugs


  • Some games still require sufficient PC power
  • Not as detailed as other engines on the market
  • Maybe have to manually activate browser plug-ins

Adobe Shockwave Player, formerly known as Macromedia Shockwave, provides Windows and Mac OS X users with a browser plugin that allows the viewing of Adobe Director applications. With over 450 million computers using the software, it has one of the largest market shares for a browser-based multimedia plugin. Shockwave Player provides a way to watch content online, including movies, animations and videos. Often, the player is required to play video games and host interactive types of media. Programmers can also embed Flash-based movies within the Adobe Shockwave movie files. The browser plugin also allows the playback of business presentations and advertisements.

Users can download Adobe Shockwave Player from the Adobe website and immediately start taking advantage of the advanced features that the Web has to offer. While the software plugin works effectively, users should be warned that it's important to keep the plugin updated to patch any security vulnerabilities. The application only takes a few minutes to download and install on supported systems. Once installed, you can begin to watch videos on sites that require the Shockwave technology.

The software provides support for Open Type Font on the Mac and non-UTF-8 characters. Shockwave also supports 5.1 digital surround sound with a maximum of 16 channels. Playback of HD video makes presentations, movies and games realistic and powerful. The player doesn't require you to pay a fee for use and is provided as a free download, with regular free updates to improve its functionality. The main difference between Flash and Shockwave player involves the type of content viewable through each medium. Developers can create more-involved games and add extensions to develop custom-built applications, interactive product simulations, training applications and multi-user online games. Flash Player only plays content created with Flash Professional.

The player works with Internet Explorer 7 or later, Chrome and Firefox on Windows systems. On Mac OS X, the player can be downloaded for Safari. Additionally, the player supports German, English, French and Japanese languages. After downloading and installing the software, you can verify the installation was successful by visiting the Adobe Shockwave Player page to check if the verification animation appears. Overall, the program provides a simple and effective end-user product that works automatically without any advanced configuration.


  • Simple installation that installs in the background.
  • Continually developed by an expert team of programmers.
  • Works transparently in the background of your browser and requires no user interaction.


  • Not available on operating systems that don't run Windows or Linux.
  • Shockwave Player has been largely replaced by other technologies and isn't required for many users.
  • May slow down your browser since it's added as an extension.

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