Adobe is entering the 3D gaming market in tonight's 9PM PT release of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 with Stage 3D, a hardware architecture (formerly codename "Molehill") that it claims renders graphics 1,000 times faster than Flash 10 and AIR 2, and can purportedly render millions of objects at 60 frames per second. Other new features include native 64-bit browser support, content protection for mobile video on Android, and Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound for AIR apps.

Adobe hopes that this release will vault it into the broader gaming market, and that the number of devices supporting Flash will skyrocket to 1 billion by 2015. But based on an early look at the technology (see a couple of Stage 3D demos after the break) Adobe will have a steep mountain to climb if it aims to expand beyond casual gaming, competing with current consoles and even major handhelds in the space.