Is The Browser Game Dead? Far From It, Players Say
Some say that the internet always remembers everything. There is one thing, apparently, that nobody online seems to remember – the first browser-based video game. Some say it was Atari’s Tempest adapted to run in a web browser (the famous tube shooter is old enough to be a good candidate), others consider a browser-based version of Pac-Man to be the first title to be released as a browser game. Over the years – especially after the launch of Macromedia’s web application platform Flash with its newfound scripting and data access capabilities. Soon, browser games spread like wildfire, powered by the spreading access to the Internet and the continuous hunger for new games to play. Then something unimaginable happened: the support for Flash (owned by Adobe Systems by the time) has started to dwindle. Users and developers called it buggy and unsecured, and players grew tired of its constant crashes. It all culminated in Steve Jobs’ famous open letter against Flash, which also announced that the Cupertino giant would support HTML5 instead.
With the lack of support for Flash, many thought that the era of the browser-based game is over – especially after smartphones became the gaming platform of choice for many players. Here, native apps took over, leaving not much room for the “ancient and obsolete” browser games. But the rise of HTML5, its improved capabilities – especially when it comes to animations and media – opened up a new path for browser-based gaming, culminating in the release of the Red Flush casino app.
The Red Flush app is the perfect example of how browser-based gaming is not dead. First of all, it is completely cross-platform, capable of running on any device with an HTML5-capable web browser. This makes its accessibility superior to native apps that will only run on their native operating system (and sometimes on specific versions only). The games at the Red Flush will run on any smartphone, no matter how old – the same is true for the browser games from back in the day. Besides, it’s far less hardware-intensive than a native app can ever be, making it lightweight and easy to play.
How about visuals, you might ask? Shockwave was great for building games that were a match for desktop and console games (back in the day, of course), so are HTML5 browser games capable of similar performances? Well, not quite – HTML5 game development platforms with an advanced use of WebGL are under development but not yet as widespread as they should be for a meaningful improvement in overall game quality. It will take some time for them to reach the quality of Shockwave and Flash, so don’t expect to play Quake III Arena in a web browser too soon. But expect to see the first high-quality 3D browser games built in HTML5 any time now – the technology is here, so why not use it?