Start-up aims to stream Flash games to iPads

Pining for your PC's Flash apps on your iPad? iSwifter hopes you'll use its app and service to run them over the Internet.

An example of a Flash game playing on an iPad using iSwifter.
An example of a Flash game playing on an iPad using iSwifter. iSwifter

Attention iPad owners pining for Flash-based games you enjoy playing on your PC: a start-up called iSwifter is launching technology today it says provides a way to tap into those games hosted on the Net.

Apple has banned Adobe Systems' Flash Player from its iOS devices, and although it recently relented on a broader ban of Flash-derived applications , game developers must retool those programs before they may be submitted. iSwifter's approach, though, provides a conduit to those games running on servers on the Internet.

The iSwifter service provides access to Flash games from a number of online game sites, including Yahoo Games, AOL's Games.com, Facebook, and Kongregate, the company said.

Apple has approved the iSwifter application, and it and the service are available now for free, said iSwifter founder Rajat Gupta. It's available worldwide, but requires a Wi-Fi network connection to run at present.

The technology runs the Flash games on a server and streams the screen's contents to the iPad.The app records how a player is touching the iPad and sends that information back to the server where the game is actually running. That comes with a certain amount of lag between when a player touches the screen and when the game running on a remote server actually gets that information. Of course, latency can be highly undesirable in games, but iSwifter said the service works for its intended market.

"The app is currently only supported over Wi-Fi, although 3G support is coming soon--so latency is not a problem at the moment," Gupta said. "Moreover, we're targeting casual/social gaming where play sessions are low-twitch and latency is not as big a deal as say, Halo on OnLive."

Although the service is initially geared for the iPad, the company will release it later this year for iPhones and iPod Touches "in a couple weeks," and support for Android soon after--as soon as a month later "if the market demands," Gupta said. A Windows Phone 7 version also is planned.

Although Flash Player 10.1 works on newer Android phones, performance is an issue, and iSwifter's approach runs the Flash games on relatively powerful hardware.

The iSwifter service provides access to Flash games from a number of online game sites, including Yahoo Games, AOl Games.com, Facebook, and Kongregate, the company said.

How exactly this service will translate into business success is something the company doesn't plan to announce until October. "We are working with the Flash developer community to fine-tune it," said Peter Relan, founder of start-up incubator and iSwifter funder YouWeb.

iSwifter's name no doubt is a takeoff on the Shockwave Flash "SWF" filename extension.

Updated 9:29 a.m. PDT with further details from the company.

 

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