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MGF 2012: The future is browsers but HTML5 is 18 months away from prime time reckons DChoc's Unsworth

MGF 2012: The future is browsers but HTML5 is 18 months away from prime time reckons DChoc's Unsworth
Claiming it's one of the few members of '100 million' club of companies who have seen that number of gamers on web, Facebook and mobile, Robert Unsworth, VP, head of sales at Digital Chocolate pointed to the company's push on HTML5 and a browser-based gaming future.

"We've seen a convergence of mobile and PC. Social interaction happens throughout the day so you need access all the time," he explained.

"Social games require seamless interoperability between platforms and a continuous gaming experience."

This also links into other trends such as ease of discovery on web rather than through app stores, as well as rumbling that big cross-platform publishers are getting increasing annoyed about the 30 percent cut taken by vendors such as Google and Apple.

"They take 30 percent but we do all the marketing," Unsworth complained.

Seamless path

"Discovery is king so if you get a recommendation, you need to be able to get access to the game immediately," he explained.

"The industry will be moving away from downloads."

In this way, browser gaming will enable more focus on quality and user engagement and less time on platform development.

But HTML5 is creating issues at the moment.

"There are a lot of performance and quality issues across all devices, and we've seen large performance differences with HTML5 games depending on the browser," Unsworth revealed.

"And audio is a major problem. There's no point using HTML5 if you have to use Flash for the audio," he argued.

As for the current situation, Digital Chocolate is using what it calls a hybrid solution, mixing browsing gaming and native apps, which is built on a Flash-based development platform.

"We'll continue to experiment with HTML5 but we think it's about 18 months away from being a robust platform," Unsworth ended.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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"Social games require seamless interoperability between platforms and a continuous gaming experience" - Yes, but every single flash based social network game I play (several) continuously has problems in one browser or another. Most of them work best in Chrome and have the most problems in FireFox, but all of them at one point or another refuse to work in Chrome and only work in FireFox.

Seamless interoperability may be a problem that is not yet fully resolved in HTML5 but it also is not solved in Flash.

And don't even get me started on Java, I refuse to use Java plugin anymore, it constantly brings the entire browser to a crawl or crashes it, even for stuff as simple as a chat client. That may be because I'm on 64-bit Linux, but it's still just not worth my frustration.
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