While our first look at Adobe Flash 11's newfangled graphics capabilities left us decidedly underwhelmed, Epic Games has kicked things up a few notches — Unreal Engine 3, the engine behind Unreal Tournament and a slew of other popular game titles, will be supported within Flash 11. The Unreal Engine will utilize Adobe's new Stage 3D APIs which could allow traditional standalone games to be played through the browser instead of a user's local machine.
So what's this really mean for browser-based gaming with Flash? We're not sure, at least until some mysteries are cleared up. If games are streamed through the web, rather than installed and run off of local machines, we could be seeing an influx of console-quality titles that are highly accessible on many different types of computers. But if users are still required to download huge files and equip expensive graphics cards, the value add of UE3 to Flash is questionable.
Smaller games using UE3 — say, smartphone apps — might make a nice nest for themselves in Flash. Epic's popular Infinity Blade for iOS is practically a shoe-in for browser integration, and could explode on platforms like Facebook. And that might be enough to make Unreal Engine on Flash matter.