With browser-based games being played by millions of users everyday, online gaming has become a dominant segment of the video game market. Many advancements are being made in creating browser-based games. With the ability to play high performance games on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, will the video game console may soon die out? With the development of HTML5 technologies, it is likely that browser-based gaming will become the standard for playing video games.
Playing games over a web browser provides many advantages when compared to consoles.
With the integration of social interaction into the gaming world, the frequency of use and the reach of online games has dramatically increased. With the ability to play games with friends and family online, millions of people who were not playing console games before are now playing games online.
Another major advantage that browser-based games have over console games is expense to developers and users. For developers, manufacturing of discs and printing manuals is no longer necessary. Also, there is no need for shipping products to stores.
Browser based gaming also eliminates the need for logistical processes for marketing video games. For users, there are no upfront costs for hardware, and many online games are free to play. Some of them make their profit from advertising revenue, or by selling extras within the game such as weapons, tools, tokens, or some other form of enhancement.
With games designed for users of all ages and interests, browser-based games have been created in many different genres. Online games for hardcore players are designed with AAA-quality, such as Offensive Combat by U4iA Games, Lord of the Rings Online by WB/Turbine, and EVE Online by CCP Games. These types of games are being perfected to the point of offering everything that a console offers, and more. For example, U4iA’s Offensive Combat offers the first console quality browser-based Social FPS.
There are also a number of games for casual players, such as games for Facebook, including Mafia Wars, FarmVille, and many more. In addition, Google Play has launched online gaming with a number of options, with benefits including an established user base, simple payment options, and more.
One of the earliest development tools used to create many online games was Flash technology, but Unity is a newer option. Unity is a 3D game engine that delivers high-quality visual effects that are engaging and vivid. Content developed with Unity also has the benefit of being compatible with many platforms and devices. Utilized by U4iA Games and a number of other major players in the market, Unity is a powerful tool for developing browser games.
Even with the success of games made with Flash and Unity, the future of gaming technology is evolving with the use of HTML5. Offering a number of improvements, HTML5 will be highly efficient for creating browser-based games. HTML5 is an open technology that is free to use, while Flash and other proprietary technologies are not. It also provides the functionality to deliver striking graphics and interactive content that is compatible with a wide range of devices and browsers. Although it is estimated that it will take up to five years to fully implement the HTML5 spec, consumer electronics companies are already rapidly working to include as much of the functionality for HTML5 as possible. Game developers have also already created a number of quality HTML5 games.
With the large investments that are being made in browser-based gaming, along with the strong demand for online games, it is questionable whether traditional console gaming will be able to compete. Just as streaming movies are replacing physical media such as DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, browser-based gaming appears to be on the way to eliminating the video game console. As the landscape of browser-based gaming continues to grow, will the emerging advancements lead to the death of the video game console?
By Hernán Gonzalez, Creative Director, Dutch Monaco