The free Adobe Flash Player plays Flash animations on your PC. You can play Flash content on the web right in your browser: videos, games, animations, interactive applications and whole websites are based on Flash. For those the player is essential.
After the installation Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and co are able to play Flash. If you use Chrome, you don't have to install the player - the Google browser already includes the Flash player.
Version 11 for the first time also comes with a native 64 bit version. Apart from that support, Stage3D has been implemented. This is a new API, which enables developers to render 3D content in Flash more smoothly and faster with the help of hardware acceleration.
All changes in version 11.8 you can find in the official release notes, as soon as those have been brought up to date.
Helper with pitfalls
As the player is so widely used, it's a popular target for attacks: Flash is regularly making headlines with new critical security gaps and Adobe patches all the time. If you don't want to become the victim of an attack, activate the automatic updates after the installation.
If you want to create Flash content yourself, choose the Adobe Flash. Applications created with Flash work on Windows as well as Mac and Linux.
Verdict: So that your browser can show all websites, you need an up to date version of the Adobe Flash Player. Despite everything you may hear, Flash can't be ignored on the modern web.
Supported formats: FLV, SWF.