Updated, 4/10/19, 6am PT: Adobe has officially discontinued its Shockwave product line. The URL where the Shockwave Player extensions used to be found now leads to an FAQ article (opens in new tab) about the software's demise. (Or, as Adobe put it, "End of Life of Adobe Shockwave.") The company was frank in its response to why Shockwave is going the way of the dodo, saying that "as technologies evolve and the use of mobile devices has grown, interactive content has moved to platforms such as HTML5 Canvas and Web GL and usage of Shockwave has declined." Adobe also reiterated that its enterprise customers will still receive Shockwave updates and support until the end of their current contracts.
Original article, 3/11/19, 12:36pm PT:
Adobe is putting the final nail in Shockwave’s coffin. In an FAQ article (opens in new tab) on its website, the company announced that it will discontinue the Windows version of the multimedia plugin on April 9.
This has been a long time coming. Adobe discontinued the Adobe Director app used to create Shockwave content in February 2017, and the company stopped offering the macOS version of the Shockwave player in March 2017.
While the Shockwave player for Windows will be discontinued on April 9, some customers will be able to use it until their contracts expire. Enterprise users can keep riding the Shockwave until sometime in 2022.
Shockwave is similar to Flash in that it’s used for web-based games and animations. It’s also used to make content for CD-ROMs, which at this point are essentially personifications of anachronism, thanks to digital platforms.
It's hard to begrudge Adobe for not investing in a platform like Shockwave anymore. The web has reached a point where open technologies can, and perhaps should, take the plugin’s place. And who uses CD-ROMs anymore?
That leaves the fate of content that relies on the Flash and Shockwave plugins unclear, but it should also bring an end to the days of needing to install additional software to play games or watch videos. Hopefully plugins are the next CD-ROMs.