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Browsers — the Gaming Platform of the Future?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the might-as-well-merge-our-nerd-holy-wars dept.

Software 95

Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, spoke at the recent Game Developers Conference about how he expects game platforms to evolve in the future. Hawkins thinks the role of web browsers as a platform will greatly increase as the explosion of mobile device adoption continues. "For all of the big media companies, this phase of disruption is dramatic and happening fast. Where it's really going to lead is where the function of the browser is going. ... The browser has taken over 2 billion PCs — it's going to be taking over a billion tablets over the next few years, billions of mobile devices. It will end up in my opinion very strong on the television. The browser is the platform of the future."

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Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opinion. (3, Insightful)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422114)

If everybody in the future plans on selling micro-games with abysmal graphics [technabob.com] , then maybe. There's really not that many situations that I can see where developing for a web browser would be more advantageous than developing a game for a native OS architecture, whether it be for a console (xbox, PS3, etc.) or computer (Mac, Windows, etc.). Even for mobile devices, if you design for a browser, what does that leave you with? Native application SDKs exist for android, iOS, and the like, which I'm sure provide better performance capabilities for rendering and whatnot than Flash or something yet-to-be-developed. That leaves ChromeOS, which I assume will use HTML5 or Flash. But, if the day it comes, it would be glorious to see Black Ops playing in a browser tab. Call me skeptical, but I just don't see this really make a dent in the hardcore-gaming market.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (5, Informative)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422192)

You don't need graphics for games. You don't even need flash. There are many persistent multiplayer games that work in real time and you just use your browser to play them. Currently I'm playing Slavehack [slavehack.com] , a hacking game where you can hack to other peoples computer and public servers, and they might hack into yours (and even steal your money from your bank account if they happen to get the bank ip and account number from the logs before you clean it and hack into it). Your computer remains online even while you're not playing, so you have to be clever. I also used to play games like Ultima Online where you build your own nation with other players and a game called Trukz, where you basically were a truck driver and it worked in real time, meaning you basically logged in few times a day to drive your truck further on its way. They all combine multiplayer in the way of companies, guilds, or player versus player gameplay.

And actually I find them really fun too. They're not going to replace traditional games, but there's room for both!

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35427858)

hey're not going to replace traditional games, but there's room for both!

Of course there is - the combination of

  • wide distribution,
  • quick+easy development,
  • ability to add advertisements and,
  • very importantly, no requirement to download something that runs locally

is a sure-fire recipe for thousands of little games that you play for a few minutes before leaving it forever. Which isn't a problem for me - someone else will be along in a minute.

This shameless plug [lelanthran.com] , for example, took me a full working day to write. Bear in mind that the last time I used javascript for anything other than menu mouse-overs was in 1999/2000. Fair enough, one feature still remains to be implemented (and I may even do that one day :-)), but if I attempted the same thing using some other platform (other than http/javascript), then:

  • It would've taken more than a single day to develop
  • I would not have the option of enabling/disabling ads easily
  • The user would have to complete two steps in order to try (download, then play), instead of single-click-play
  • Potential users may never find it in a google search. Now it's indexed properly, and via the ad placement, google knows about it.

Fair enough, I won't be able to write Far Cry at all in current browser platforms, but I wasn't going to devote a year of dev to a game, anyway

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (0)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422258)

Yes, argue with the man who founded and ran the world's largest and most profitable gaming company until last year, who then saw his entire company put together get passed up by a single browser game, about that you don't think something that already happened is likely.

Totally reasonable.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423014)

Considering that as you say a single browser game passed EA the entire company last year and he is saying browsers are the platform of the future. I see no problem with someone questioning him as he seems more reactive that insightful about the 'future'.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423666)

By your logic only an insane person would have questioned a statement made in the 70's that leisure suits were the fashion of the future.

Trends come and go. Comparing a recent jump in numbers isn't all that useful for determining the long term viability of a medium.

I too have an anus and an opinion (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422316)

If everybody in the future plans on selling micro-games

Micro-games at micro-price keeps gaming interesting, so that you're not doing the same thing over and over for the 50 hours that the $50 game might last. Perhaps my taste just differs.

with abysmal graphics

I didn't think the graphics seen in the video of Tiny Wings that you linked were that abysmal; they're just stylized. Is it that you prefer the "real is brown" art style [tvtropes.org] ?

There's really not that many situations that I can see where developing for a web browser would be more advantageous than developing a game for a native OS architecture, whether it be for a console (xbox, PS3, etc.)

I can think of one: a developer may be too new or too small to meet Nintendo's or Sony's requirements for a license. I can provide a citation for such requirements if you wish.

Native application SDKs exist for android, iOS, and the like

Windows Phone 7, the platform that Nokia just bought into big time, doesn't have native apps; it has the .NET Compact Framework with Silverlight or XNA API. What's the big difference between Silverlight in a browser and Silverlight on Windows Phone 7?

Re:I too have an anus and an opinion (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423072)

If you're saying .NET is not a native framework then I'd also argue that Android's java/dalvik framework is not native either. Just adding another point in your favor I guess...

At least Android has NDK (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423510)

If you're saying .NET is not a native framework then I'd also argue that Android's java/dalvik framework is not native either.

You're correct: Dalvik uses a JIT, and it used to even use an interpreter. But Android at least has NDK, which allows writing much of the program in standard C++, compiling that to ARM machine code, and then connecting that to a front-end using the Java/Dalvik framework. This can prove convenient if your program is ported from another platform, and its model [pineight.com] is written in C++. Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Live Indie Games, on the other hand, lack anything comparable to NDK or NaCl; they run only IL which must 1. be verifiably type-safe and 2. not use Reflection.Emit. This in practice means C# or C++/CLI, and if you want, I'll explain how the verifiably type-safe subset of C++/CLI is C++ in name only.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422334)

Actually with the new tech that comes along with HTML5 it is possible to render video and audio in real time. The ability to actually build real games in browsers is here with HTML5.

Now couple that with better hardware acceleration and you get the plausibility to have games like Black Ops eventually being created for browser.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422746)

No. I'm sorry. Even if WebGL becomes as fast as native OpenGL (a laughable notion) then JavaScript will never, not in 20 years, power a game like Black Ops short of running on a distributed supercomputer. Native Client is the only real hope of achieving something like that (not currently ofc).

Either we see better plugins (NaCl) or 3D games become prerendered on server farms and the browser only handles input.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (2)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423146)

Google already ported Quake 2 to WebGL, here's an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSDiBA27Wo0 [youtube.com] . IMHO that's powerful enough for most casual gamers and that is something that exists and is working *today*. Hawkins was talking about "in the future."

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423656)

I don't know what else to assume other than that you couldn't possibly have been relating Quake 2 to CoD: Black Ops. What you see there is essentially the current pinnacle of JS/WebGL and it's not going to improve dramatically for computationally-heavy games.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422366)

I would agree that this is not relevant for the hard core gaming market. But most of the growth (percentage wise at least) is going to be in the casual gaming market, and there the browser can, and probably should rule.

As games like CoD move away from hard core at least towards casual, it will be interesting to see if it ever does make it to the browser. I suspect by the time it does the hard core crowd will have moved on to something else.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

lazn (202878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422416)

Umm: http://www.quakelive.com/ [quakelive.com]

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

ferongr (1929434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422882)

Quake Live actually runs through a plugin.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (3, Interesting)

TopSpin (753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422622)

micro-games with abysmal graphics

Webgl is real and works today in the latest browsers. Go here [chromeexperiments.com] (with Chrome 9 or FF4 and a real GPU) to see it right now.

developing for a web browser would [not] be more advantageous

In terms of performance, browsers already provide an environment that has parity [debian.org] with the best stand-alone dynamic languages. Both HTML5 canvas and Webgl are sufficient to solve the rendering problem for a broad class of games. These tools are standards based and free. If you've ever earned a living making games you can't miss the potential.

Large investments into browser development are coming from several competing organizations. Don't be surprised if browsers become superior to traditional techniques.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422762)

Or, even better, check out Quake II with multiplayer support [youtube.com] completely done in html5 and javascript.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423578)

Impressive. Welcome to 14 years ago! Plus, that's on PC - I'd imagine having that running in a browser on a mobile phone would look, well, utter shite.

I haven't seen a single web-based app that I thought was impressive. I can spot Phonegap style crap all over the iPhone store and Android market. So can other people judging by the abysmal reviews of them. People WANT native apps that work fluidly, and adopt the styling of the native interface - not some shocking webpage+javascript abortion sucking the life out of the battery as it stutters along.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

LUH 3418 (1429407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35431832)

>> check out Quake II with multiplayer support [youtube.com] completely done in html5 and javascript.

Completely done in html5 and javascript... Except it isn't. This won't run in a stock browser, it needs custom plugins.

I looked into programming an FPS game in a browser myself, and ran into multiple issues. For one, you can't capture the mouse. This means you can't have traditional FPS-style mouse control. The networking is also an issue. You can't just do regular TCP/IP. There's websockets, which I'm not sure if they're standardized and uniform yet, but can apparently only connect to the web server. Then there's the sound. Do you have any idea how buggy and pathetic the implementation of the audio tag is in both firefox and chrome right now? It's terrible.

I'd like for browsers to become a better gaming platform too, but right now, JavaScript and HTML5 are being standardized by people who don't really seem to truly understand (or care about) the full potential of the browser as a game platform. Hopefully they will lighten up at some point, or browser vendors will provide suitable extensions. I'm sure browser games will gain in popularity no matter what. Lots of people are already addicted to mafia wars and all those games you find on facebook. For the browser to one day replace consoles as a gaming platform though, that would take a more targeted effort by browser vendors, in my opinion.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423272)

Go here (with Chrome 9 or FF4 and a real GPU)

I tried that, and https to self-signed sites stopped working. (Perspectives isn't yet ported to Chrome or Fx4.) And the majority of PCs sold even in 2011 don't come with real GPUs, unlike video game consoles all of which come with a real GPU. Instead they have Intel's Graphics My A**, which is optimized for rendering a bunch of essentially big sprites in a window system. Sprites have far lower geometry requirements than a 3D game might have.

In terms of performance, browsers already provide an environment that has parity with the best stand-alone dynamic languages.

Sure, JavaScript competes with Python, but that doesn't mean it competes with bytecode-compiled languages using a static type system such as Java and C#.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422686)

Umm.. Onlive Games (Onlive.com) anyone? Technically, since the graphics rendering is done remotely, you don't need more than a browser to play games through that service. Ughh.. I don't know how to embed a url

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (2)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422704)

There's really not that many situations that I can see where developing for a web browser would be more advantageous than developing a game for a native OS architecture, whether it be for a console (xbox, PS3, etc.) or computer (Mac, Windows, etc.). Even for mobile devices, if you design for a browser, what does that leave you with?

The value of video games is 1% technology and 99% game design.

The actual graphics in a game is much like the box art and advertising; it gets people to buy the game, try the game, and discover if it actually is a decent game. They don't improve the gameplay any more than Tony the Tiger makes Frosted Flakes taste better. They do, however, let games compete for shelf space alongside other games with decent graphics.

Successful browser games are the best thing to happen for gamers since games moved from the arcade to the home in the early 80s. They lower the barrier to entry and increase the amount of risk developers can take. We can get new genres, new mechanics, new designs...new everything. Publishers aren't going to take risks with $30 million development pricetags. All the fancy graphics/physics/art/music/voice/etc ever did for us is lock us into seeing the same shit every year.

Imagine taking the entire development budget of EA Sports NFL $year and making a thousand "crappy flash games" instead. You'd end up with a whole lot of shit and a handful of real gems...games that will be played 20 years from now, unlike the nth iteration of the same expensive low-risk crap.

This is far too appropriate: http://xkcd.com/484/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35435798)

The technology is important at the extremes, where it's either an enabler/barrier or a multiplier/divisor. And those modifiers apply to both what the developers can do (and how much pain and money it costs them), and what the game allows the players to do.

The tech matters less when you already have "enough" to do what you want - above that, it isn't getting you anything. But it's really hard to ever say "we already have enough of everything, stop here," because we don't know what new gameplay might be prohibitive to build now but viable with more hardware. For example, it takes a surprising amount of power to roll that Katamari; it could be done on the last generation's hardware (PS2, PSP), but couldn't have been done on the generation before (original playstation, N64) - even though visually it looks simple to us.

What people are applauding about browser games is that they lowered the barrier for making and distributing the bottom end of game complexity. What people are bitching about browser games is that the path to expanding that further is hard. Borrowing from my earlier example, I'm not sure it's viable yet to roll the Katamari in the average browser running on the average system - even though the average system itself could probably run a dedicated on-the-bare-metal version. Game developers are annoyed by limitations like that.

I expect that it'll be resolved by continuing to virtualize the internals of the browser. Web APIs that safely expose more system resources without having to drill through as many layers of system complexity to get at them. That makes the easy-to-make games even easier, as well as making more complicated games viable. The same logic applies to web applications in general, of course, not only games.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (2)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422980)

What's abysmal about the graphics in the game you link to?

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423350)

both firefox and chrome having hardware 3d acceleration, i don't think it's that big of a stretch to guess that quite complex 3d browser based games will be popular in a few years

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423584)

Abysmal graphics? Heard of QuakeLive, running in a web browser on PC, Mac and (gasp) Linux! If I had a mouse with me right now I'd be playing it as I sit on the train to work... not sure the guy next to me would like it though ;)

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

hittman007 (206669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423990)

...with abysmal graphics...

Honestly many of the best games I have ever played had no graphics or old style graphics at best. To often modern day games substitute content for beauty. In the end beauty only goes so far.

This is just an opinion and should be treated as such, odds are yours is different.

Re:Unlikely, but, whatever, everybody has an opini (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463824)

You obviously dont have a clue where the development is heading, with webgl and the html5 canvas you have a pretty powerful tool at hands to deliver a good gaming experience in a browser.
Also constant connections for multiplayer gaming is no problem anymore thanks to websockets.
WebCL is in the works as well.

Sure, why not? (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422158)

Because Firefox doesn't chew enough CPU cycles now.
Yay. More Javascript and Flash.

Re:Sure, why not? (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422666)

HTML5 is attempting to fix that issue with the canvas element and web workers (i know its a stupid name) . You still need JavaScript but not Flash, and Google has been optimizing Chrome for JavaScript because they already knew the browser as a platform is the future.

A lot of the content and interactiveness coded in Flash can now be done in HTML5 which should be more efficient. Look at the Chrome store, there are very infantile implementations of HTML5 apps available now, and HTML5 isn't going to be ratified until 2014 or something like that. I hate Flash and JavaScript as much as the next guy but I don't think Flash and JavaScript sucking are reasons not to take the browser seriously as a platform.

Re:Sure, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423682)

If anything, HTML5 performance is a backward step from Flash with any sort of animation. Flash is optimised for exactly that purpose, whereas HTML5 canvas elements in their current state are generally not. Have you used the Apple store with an iPhone and noticed how clunky the transitions are with Javascript - if Apple had allowed Flash on the phones their own site would perform much better.Ironic that Apple cite "web standards" for dropping Flash when their own site is pretty much a big bunch of images.

The future is now (2)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422204)

I bet Farmville has got more players and greater user loyalty than almost all other electronic games. It may be a terrible game but it's still hugely popular. It really kinda sucks because the industry has moved away from making inventive games that are full of depth toward current trend of more casual gaming.

Re:The future is now (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422378)

FWIW, they're making a sequel to Demon's Souls. :-)

Re:The future is now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422460)

Be still, my beating heart.

The relation between Demon's Souls and me made Ike and Tina look like Captain & Tennille, and I loved every gloriously abusive minute of it.

Re:The future is now (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35426374)

Eh, it was OK. I finished it, but by the end I wanted to hunt the developers down and punch them in the balls. I think I beat it just so I could say I did. They're saying the sequel will be even harder. Meh... I like a challenge, but stuff like this is like some sort of "super hard gaming" fetish.

Browser-OS fusion? (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422220)

So when will the browser and operating system achieve a seamless integration? Why do we keep thinking in terms of "browser" and "web page" for what's becoming just another storage/source of executables?

This has been attempted several times in the past (Java Launcher (?), Active Desktop, etc.). Just fuse them already; the concept of "browser" is becoming an obsolete construct, impeding semantic progress.

Re:Browser-OS fusion? (4, Funny)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422326)

> So when will the browser and operating system achieve a seamless integration?

1995.

Re:Browser-OS fusion? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422872)

Isn't that exactly what ChromeOS is all about?

Either way, I do lots of stuff on my computer outside of the browser. But I do agree with the article: gaming in the browser will definitely be huge in the future.

Quake Live works... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422222)

Why couldn't something else?

Re:Quake Live works... (2)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422602)

Quake Live doesn't run in the browser. It launches from a browser but the game runs in a native browser plugin so it's not like Quake Live is and HTML5 game or something.

I personally wonder how companies expect to make money from games when they are giving out the source code. If your game is truly browser based (ie. written in Javascript and HTML) then everyone has the source code to the client-side code of your game. That's a lot of IP you're just giving away for anyone to copy and use in their own games.

Re:Quake Live works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422846)

Everything should be open-source!

-GNU Troll

Re:Quake Live works... (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422950)

The same is true of compiled code, only with the added step of decompiling and assigning labels to functions that are typically unnamed*. A competent hacker could RE the major components of an entire game in under a week. It's not like RE is terribly difficult; it just has the aura of the dark arts. Any halfway motivated teenager can pick it up in short order, and many do. Sure, civil law in the US provides remedies/penalties if caught, but that may or may not be a deterrent for some company in Thirdworldia. Ultimately the only thing that prevents someone from copying or modifying your code is the honor system.

* Unless your game happens to in an unobfuscated intermediate language, in which case it might as well be source code. And most obfuscation only strips metadata, which is a bit like removing the exit signs from a building -- the doors are still there for anyone who cares to look for them.

Re:Quake Live works... (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422974)

I personally wonder how companies expect to make money from games when they are giving out the source code.

The same way authors make money even though everybody knows how to assemble and bind a book.

The source code is not the game...it's just framework and presentation.

Re:Quake Live works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423000)

Using Flash is effectively giving out the ActionScript code because the compiler-emitted bytecode still maintains closeness to the original code and can be decompiled to human-readable form for the most part. Contrast to C++ which would take years of rewriting C-decompiled-asm to achieve any level of approximation.

JavaScript really isn't very different from AS -- instead of being obfuscated through 'mystical' compilation (which really isn't obfuscated at all) the JavaScript code is commonly passed through horrendous obfuscation tools before being deployed on web servers.

Note: there are ActionScript obfuscators out there but they aren't used nearly as often because authors typically have naive faith in the compiler.

Re:Quake Live works... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423102)

Quake Live doesn't run in the browser. It launches from a browser but the game runs in a native browser plugin so it's not like Quake Live is and HTML5 game or something.

This.

Semantics troll much? Because like, browser plugins run in like, the browser and stuff. So I still think my Quake Live citation counts as using the browser as the platform for gaming.

Just sayin'.

Re:Quake Live works... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35424604)

Simple Flash games work fine. I dislike the games that require web browser like Battlefield Heroes.

He is totally right (1)

rvr777 (1082819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422230)

I don't see why not. It would be so easy to program a game for lots of different browsers, as they all follow the same standards. Also, there is nothing like the performance of a hardcore game running in top of another software (that runs on top of a lot of other stuff plus the OS). Who needs those hard to program console SDKs, anyway?

Gecko and WebKit follow the same standards (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423342)

It would be so easy to program a game for lots of different browsers, as they all follow the same standards.

Two major web browser platforms, Gecko and WebKit, indeed follow the same standards. Users of Internet Explorer on Windows can install a WebKit plug-in called Google Chrome Frame that will automatically switch rendering to Chrome for those sites that opt-in.

Who needs those hard to program console SDKs, anyway?

Say you have a set-top box with a web browser. It's likely to be WebKit based, just like the browsers in iOS and Android. Now how do you get it to use more than one remote control so that your mates visiting your place can play with you without having to bring laptops to LAN up?

the pirates certainly hope so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422338)

i mean how much easier is it to pirate a browser game than a properly coded one?

The server code isn't even published (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423354)

i mean how much easier is it to pirate a browser game than a properly coded one?

Infringing copyright in the client side of a browser game may be easy. Infringing copyright in the server side should be much more difficult because the server code isn't even published.

Trip Hawink's worst fear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422340)

...will be the BROWSER!

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422344)

That is to say, no. Just like they were not the OS of the future, nor the desktop of the future. They are handy, but they don't stand a chance against real client apps, for anything. Also, Java sucks.

Silly. (0)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422350)

It's always fun to talk about "what might happen" in the future.

But cmon haven't we already learned that what we think now will be made m00t by something someone invents in the near future?

Browsers gain more and more functionality as we press forward but asserting they'll be everything later with all future inventions aside seems silly.

Re:Silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422432)

Is i[t t]roll Tuesday already?

More like a platform of no gaming future (2)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422448)

The kind of game you can put in a browser is not the kind of game you are used to. Browser games are like Angry Birds; toys, not serious games. You get a few minutes of enjoyment that can be had at any time you want. But if you want a lengthy game with decent graphics, like say, Fallout, or Civilization, or Empire Earth, or Sims, then no, those are not going into a browser. The thing is, nobody is making those kinds of games any more. Fallout 3 was the last one as far as I'm concerned. From now on it's just mindless toys for mindless enjoyment.

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422568)

I guess you don't know anything at all about HTML 5 then, huh?

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422848)

NaCl has some possibilities here. It offers a framework for more or less arbitrary x86 code inside a browser framework--so yes, you can have your 4X or your RPGs or even your FPSs inside a browser just fine.

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (2)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422918)

I actually think games like Civilization are especially well suited to run in a browser.

And obviously, you're underestimating Angry Birds a lot and overestimating the importance of "serious gaming". Farmville is already probably the most-played game ever and there's no reason why gaming in the browser wouldn't become more popular than it already is.

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (1)

rescendent (870007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422922)

Maybe not quite as full on video and HD graphics; but lengthy games with depth? (e.g. Civ or Sims) then yes these are going into the browser... Except they are hugely more concurrent (rather than just a couple players in multi-player mode)... For example: http://www.illyriad.co.uk/ [illyriad.co.uk] And with html5 even free civ is browser based: http://www.freeciv.net/ [freeciv.net]

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423256)

"The thing is, nobody is making those kinds of games any more. Fallout 3 was the last one as far as I'm concerned"

It is only a little more than two years since Fallout 3 came out and much shorter since Fallout: New Vegas, which was pretty much along the same lines.

You're not the first to complain about everything being better in the "good ole' days", but it seems somewhat desperate to complain about such a recent end of days.While I haven't had all that much time for gaming over the last two years, I doubt it has all gone tits up in such a short space of time.

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423380)

The way I understand it...

Angry Birds is the future of gaming
Angry Birds runs in a browser
therefore, the browser is the future of gaming.

Re:More like a platform of no gaming future (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35427888)

serious games

Jumbo shrimp!

You keep saying "game". I do not think that word means (only) what you think it means.

Gaming platform? (3, Interesting)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422528)

Not going to happen as long as the sound and input APIs completely suck.

Re:Gaming platform? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422610)

parent++;

I'm currently using Java to hack a way to do mouse-look features (used in FPS games, where the mouse is positioned in the center of the screen, and used to look around).

Sound is hijacked via Flash using SoundManager2.

So sure... browser based games can work if you bring in Java and Flash. Wait, how is it an HTML5 game now?

It's premature at this point, but I think we will eventually see browser based games explode once these issues are solved and modern browsers widely distributed.

Re:Gaming platform? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422998)

You know, I play a lot of games with the sound off. Probably half of the market does too.

First rule of running a gaming business - know your customer. Realize the people you run into at gaming cons are not necessarily your customer and listen to them but don't do everything they say they want.

If I can hook you with a simple game and sell you addons and chrome or spiffs, then my revenue goes viral and I make more than if I give you everything you want all at once. Selling different versions of games maximizes profit - for example, I sell a barebones with a BuyMore option to kids and lookeloos and I sell a full feature Platinum version to gamer geeks - but even then I make you pay to queue jump or get special mounts or addons.

How many times have we heard this? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422600)

Seriously, every time a new gadget comes out, people are raving about how it will replace everything, only to be thrown to the wind a year later.
Stop trying to make such silly projections.

3DO (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422672)

Wasn't it this guy that said the 3DO was the future of gaming and basically the be all end all and what not?

Re:3DO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423664)

It was, but we surpassed the future. We are now in hyperfuture.

My son doubts this but I predict is true (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422952)

Quite frankly, he has no idea how much of a business gaming is, and I predict that we'll be seeing a lot of HTML5 and HTML6 versions of browser gaming apps, especially as tablets dominate the home and business market.

Yes, that includes WOW.

Re:My son doubts this but I predict is true (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423740)

Speaking of WoW, why isn't that on more platforms already? Why isn't it out on the Xbox, Playstation or Wii? Where is the iOS version? Or Android for that matter?

I'm really surprised Blizzard is sticking to the PC so rigidly.

Re:My son doubts this but I predict is true (1)

specialguy92 (1974828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35424970)

I would agree, but did you try playing Starcraft on the N64? ouch.

We've heard this before... (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422976)

We've heard this refrain before, I believe it was almost ten years ago and the fact of the matter is it just hasn't come true. Sure, we use our browsers to access social media, broadcast media, news and information sites, but it's certainly not the only thing we do with our computers. Will we see an even more dumbed-down device that runs just a browser as its OS? Sure. Will it sell as well as, say, an iPad? Probably not.

Now, I may not have founded Electronic Arts, but my opinion is also based on facts and is just as valid a prediction of the future as anyone who has worked and lived technology for more than 20 years. We can point to technologies we believe will revolutionize or evolve to take over, but what plays out in the market is usually a completely different thing. Let's just wait and see what happens. I like surprises.

Minecraft? (1)

url00 (1345327) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423154)

Doesn't that count as a successful browser-based game?

Re:Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35425912)

Making a web game means you could put a game on an iOS device without paying Apple 30%. Yo\u can update your app without Apple's approval.

Minecraft has shown that you don't need the advertising of the App Store or Steam to hit it big. (though I suppose it is a rare exception).

I don't think you could do either with the current iOS browser, though.

Re:Minecraft? (1)

kaffiene (38781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436678)

Minecraft runs in Java, not HTML5

What about gamepads? (1)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423336)

Until the browser supports input devices other than mouse/keyboard/finger, I don't see this becoming a reality.

Re:What about gamepads? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423514)

I do agree input is something that could greatly be improved, but obviously there are lots of popular games that lack gamepad/joystick support, so that's not really a barrier.

Re:What about gamepads? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35426392)

Even PC games that don't run in web browsers tend to have poor support for gamepads. Developers assume a mouse and keyboard because 1. every PC comes with those, and 2. genres that are system sellers for gaming PCs tend to require rapid, accurate pointing. I'd give more details, but I've given details in so many previous topics about PC vs. console gaming that I'm accused of sounding like a broken record.

Graphics? Check. (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423480)

In case you're still in the dark about browser-based games, here's Interstellar Marines.
http://www.interstellarmarines.com/ [interstellarmarines.com]
The graphics are pretty darn good for a browser-based First Person Shooter. I'm looking forward to seeing how multiplayer will be. For now, the shoothouse-type scenarios are pretty fun, even if it is only against bots.

Re:Graphics? Check. (1)

kaffiene (38781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436718)

That uses Unity, not HTML5

Re:Graphics? Check. (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35441796)

Correct.

I never stated it was HTML5, Flash, Java, or any other type. However, it is a browser-based game; once you've got the extremely small Unity file installed, you're g2g.

No more so than they currently are (1)

NickstaDB (2006530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423532)

Gamers and game developers are constantly pushing for more and better - better graphics, more realistic physics, better AI. All of which requires increasing amounts of memory and processing power. Running games within a web browser will impose unnecessary resource bottlenecks on the game and affect the gaming experience. Because of this I don't think web browsers will become any more of a gaming platform than they already are now. I do believe the market size for browser based games will increase but there will still be a market for large scale games with cutting edge graphics and technology that cannot be run from within a web browser.

Re:No more so than they currently are (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423768)

Nobody is saying gaming will be exclusive to the browser. But I do think it's fair to say gaming in the browser will become *a lot* bigger than it is today.

Yes, let's put everything in a goddamn browser (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423576)

since It's worked so well for business applications. I've seen so many users just weep for joy at the radical upgrades in usability.

Sure they will, with downloaded plugins (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423822)

With some large additional download they are going to be games like http://probablyinteractive.com/url-hunter [probablyinteractive.com]

Native API better than Virtual Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35424848)

Yea, I'd rather play a full feature game that interacts with the native APIs directly, not through some virtual machine layer equivalent that'd just be wasting much needed resources.

2000 called. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35425056)

They want their Wild Tangent spyin I MEAN Gaming browser plugin back.

You don't need plugins or even HTML5, necessarily (1)

dristoph (1207920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35425278)

For example, Elite Command is a highly graphical multiplayer browser-based game, and it doesn't use any fancy HTML5 features:

http://elitecommand.net/ [elitecommand.net]

No flash, no HTML5. Just regular old HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (DHTML, as they used to call it).

Disclaimer: I developed Elite Command.

I'm trying one of their new products and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35425410)

I'm part of an EA closed beta and while I won't say the name of the title due to NDA agreements, I would like to say that the browser idea sucks pretty much. What they did in the title I'm trying is develop a plugin for Firefox, Chrome and IE. That plugin in turn, launches a .NET Updater application and a lobby interface in separate executables that are awfully slow, full of simple issues and severe load times. One would think that programming with .NET wouldn't be that hard but then again, once the fullscreen application launches, it looks and feels like a regular PC game since that's what it is in the end, a DirectX C++ application.They are still working out the issues on the server side, that is causing severe lag across all realms, but even if most of the bugs are ironed out, I see the future of this kind of gaming, making your experience slow as hell.

Battlestar Galactica Online (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35425432)

Yes, it uses the unity web player plug in, but you play it in your browser. So it's not a pure "html" game, but yet it's played in your browser. Graphics are on par with about 10 years ago on a regular desktop PC or console. At least at the lower graphics settings I use since this is an older machine. When I did have the settings up things looked pretty good.

To me it was amazing to see what could be done in a browser these days.

This headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35425568)

made me throw up in my mouth.

Agreed (1)

PlainBlack (594355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35426868)

Check out The Lacuna Expanse [lacunaexpanse.com] , a browser, iPhone, and iPad game that doesn't at all feel like a browser game.

This is great! (1)

Mythrix (779875) | more than 3 years ago | (#35427714)

And with savegames stored online instead of locally on cookies, you can keep playing both at home and at wor....

It's a horrible, horrible idea.

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