The State of Browser Games

You’d probably think that browser games are dead. With the indie games making their way onto huge platforms more easily than ever and the huge explosion in the mobile market it’s hard to imagine anyone outside of a middle school library sitting down at a desktop and playing a game in their desktop. I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out our old time killer just so easily though.

When you think of browser games you probably think of cheaply made flash games on Miniclip.com like Crush the Castle and that helicopter game that inspired Angry Birds. A personal favorite of mine was Bubble Trouble, beautiful in it’s crudeness and simplicity. Flash games are probably going to hang around for a while but what really got me interested in this subject is HTML 5 and the recent developments in WebGL. Recently I’ve been messing around with Three.js a bit and the capabilities are pretty amazing. Take a look at some of Greg Tatum’s stuff to see what I mean: http://sessions.gregtatum.com/001/.

It’s pretty amazing what can be done in the browser with just some javascript. However, is anyone going to want to pay attention to their browser in 2017 and beyond? I think they probably might.

Everyone Has a Browser

The coolest thing about browser games is that their accessible. Everyone has a computer or access to one. But we also have a slew of other devices. Why should we limit ourselves to the official app stores? Compatibility is always an issue but there is truly a lot of progress being made. We’ll be seeing more and more WebGL projects that support both mobile and desktop browsers that do some amazing things on both.

We Don’t Need to Install Stuff Anymore

Another awesome thing about the browser is that there is no need to download and install anything. Obviously this is why browser games took off in the first place and why they were so popular at school but it’s even better now. With WebGL we don’t need to deal with shockwaves flash crashing or needing to update. Praise the Lord!

WebVR

Oh and there is WebVR. It is very much in its infancy and the user base is tiny. I don’t know if VR is “the future” but it’s definitely part of the future and I can see VR being a big part of the future web experience. It may have a big impact even on how the web is developed. Have we detected a VR headset with the user? Let’s display things radically differently. All of the benefits of web games make a lot of sense with VR apps too. Launching an app with a headset on is cumbersome and running it is very resource intensive. During these earlier stages of VR, the web makes for a great stepping stone.

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