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Thoughts On Browser Plugin Penetration

March 31, 2008 in Community, Technology by

A very common question we get is “what is the penetration of the Unity plugin?”

There’s several ways to answer that question. It’s in the millions. It’s also growing, and the rate of growth is increasing. And this year there’s a long line of very major and high-profile game releases planned, which will accelerate this even more. But while the future may be good (and with Unity, the future is good), it’s not now.

But why did you ask that question? Most likely it is to figure out the risk of using Unity content on your site. That you’ll have lots of visitors, many of which who don’t have and won’t install the plugin and leave for somewhere else.

Of course plugin penetration is very important to this, but if a technology doesn’t have >95% ubiquity, the plugin installation process is just as important.

We spent a lot of effort figuring out how to make the plugin install process for Unity as simple as possible. And it’s a lot easier than that of the Shockwave player (not to mention other sub-par technologies). Well, parts of the install process took effort and thinking… but how much effort goes into not requiring registration and pushing adware?

– The whole plugin is 3MB download for everything
– And it is delivered from a Content Delivery Network so all users get a fast download
– The installation doesn’t require a browser restart on any platform
– And it even keeps the user on same the site without even a page reload
– There’s no user registration required
– And no Google toolbar or other adware
– Unity supports Microsoft Vista and Intel based Macs
– And doesn’t crash on old/ancient graphics card and driver combinations

Our statistics tell us that for people who don’t have the plugin already installed, over 60% complete the plugin installation (this differs between different types of content, and just as importantly, based on the presentation of your content… that is material for another blog post).

Depending on where you deploy Shockwave content, it is commonly believed that 50% of your visitors have the plugin installed already. Of the remaining 50%, you’ll lose some because of the plugin installation process. Because of the reasons outlined above, for Shockwave we believe it is around 40%. So do the math:

Shockwave:
Preinstalled: ~50%
Successful plugin installs: ~20% (50% x 40% success rate)
Total successful views: ~70%

Unity:
Preinstalled: ~1%
Successful plugin installs: ~59% (99% * 60% success rate)
Total successful view: ~60%

As a solid proof, R/C Laser Warrior recently was the most played game on shockwave.com for 2 weeks straight, with up 40.000 simultaneous players, and is still listed as a Top Online game there. And that’s on a site dominated by Shockwave games.

Still, you might worry that using the Unity technology is a bit daring, and early-adopter-ish. A couple of weeks ago, a Massive Media Conglomerate called Disney released a Unity-based game online game, Sooga Mountain. So I ask you, can you be as agile and daring as those guys? ;)

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Comments (9)

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16 Apr 2008, 4:47 am

When is the Windows version of the editor going to be available? I would love to try this out, and FlashGameLicense.com might be a great way to help distribute and share Unity games. But… I can’t really justify buying a Mac to try this out.

16 Apr 2008, 10:56 am

A Windows editor is a different story: it’s way to early for us to know when it can be ready.

d.

5 Aug 2008, 5:47 pm

Will there be a Gnu/Linux version of the plugin?

27 Aug 2008, 12:02 am

I second the request for a GNU/Linux plugin :)

It’s been bad enough trying to get full working flash in linux the past few years, but at least that’s solved now…

It would be a huge benefit to the cause of just giving computer illiterate people ubuntu/mint machines, as that tends to make them less likely to ask for techinical support from people who are “good with computers” :)

Also, technical people you tend to meet in IRC channels, that you wish to impress with your latest unity thing, tend to avoid windows, and go for linux/BSD.

Agent X
18 Dec 2008, 12:20 am

More than a GNU/Linux plugin, I’d like to see a GNU/Linux development environment. Though, I suspect the latter requires the former anyway.

Thanks for sharing these numbers.

yuku
28 May 2009, 4:18 pm

Unfortunately: I clicked on the R/C Laser Warrior and got the Unity install button. I clicked that and I got “Not found (error to origin)”

encoder
23 Jun 2009, 12:28 pm

if you want an advice:

please try to excel on more then just games. i am fully aware that UNITY is capable of delivering more then just games, but the average decision makers do not view games as the highest end of application (whether it’s standalone, install or web based) development.

try to create site design integrations (witch would be the easiest part, just leave interfaces 2D. 3D is no good for fast intuitive navigation) with beautiful animation, or make some tech simulator within a data driven environment,… you name it.

extend further if you want to survive.

it’s absolutely normal that the game industry is the best way to get viral fast, but it decays and limits itself to that community.

Disney is daring because more people are willing to install the plugin to play a Disney game then mine for example even if mine is 10 times more fun.

get a colab with mochiMedia (i think they are more then willing to work it out) and your set for the gaming part, and you can focus resources on other areas.

good luck!

24 Jun 2009, 1:30 am

@encoder: we are already extending by talking with folks in other segements (training, visualization, etc.), looking at appropriate feature expansion, etc. But for the time being we’ll stay positioned as a game development platform as that’s our bread and butter market and where we still have a lot of room to grow, then make moves into other markets as appropriate. As to working with folks like Mochi Media just trust me and know that we have a lot on the go behind the scenes already… :)

encoder
24 Jun 2009, 9:46 am

i know. i got to you via the mochi community. they are as much enthusiastic about UNITY as i am. i just noted that getting under the same hat with mochi you are about set in the game industry (except that there has to be a few sites and a few games, witch i’m sure i will extend from the beginning with my game if i find a cracked version of yr suite :P, don’t worry, i’ll buy it if it worth it, i use it only for training initially (except if you have a nice trial vers. especially for this)).

have a nice colab!

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