Macromedia Shockwave is frequently confused with Macromedia Flash. This is largely due to an aggressive marketing campaign launched in late 1990s. Shockwave is Macromedia's first and less successful multimedia player. In an attempt to leverage its market presence and help promote other multimedia formats all Macromedia players started prepending 'Shockwave' to their names - as in Shockwave Flash. This led to a blurring of product lines. As of 2004 there are three distinct browser player plugins available from Macromedia (Authorware, Shockwave Director and Shockwave Flash).
Although Flash is now the most widely recognized, promoted and developed player, Shockwave maintains a strong installed base. Shockwave's 3D engine is still unchallenged in its market and made Shockwave very popular with a large number of online game publishers and game players. Flash files can be played on a Shockwave player, but not vice versa. Other features not replicated by Flash include a much faster rendering engine, including hardware-accelerated 3D, direct pixel access on bitmap images, blend modes for layered display of graphic assets and support for various network protocols including Internet Relay Chat. Furthermore Shockwave's functionality can be extended with so-called Xtras.
Shockwave Loading Picture