Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit 2012: Devs debate the state of games on HTML5

Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit 2012: Devs debate the state of games on HTML5
HTML5 is many things, depending on who you ask.

For some, it's the cross-platform future of mobile gaming. For others, question marks over performance, discovery and distribution mechanics mean that HTML5 is simply a no-go.

For Laurens Rutten, CEO of HTML5 mobile games distribution company BoosterMedia, HTML5 is an evolving technology and now is the time for developers to investigate its potential.

"If you're a game studio, you should invest in it," Rutten told Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit attendees.

"The whole ecosystem is improving really fast, and I think the distribution opportunities are growing incredibly quickly," Rutten explained, referring to the forthcoming launch of open-source operating systems such as Tizen and Firefox OS.

Say it ain't so

Fellow panellist Tim Closs – CTO of cross-platform development framework Marmalade – disagreed with this rosy assessment.

"If you're making a game for mobile now and you choose HTML5, you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage."

Closs explained that ssing HTML5 prevents developers from making use of natives APIs, and these are inevitably the features and services that app store operators are keen to push.

This, ultimately can prevent developers from establishing a meaningful relationship with Apple and Google, then.

"If you're serious about making money through mobile games, you probably shouldn't build it using HTML5."

Brass tacks

In terms of practical advice for the audience, the guidance on offer was as divided as the opinions.

For Closs, anyone building a game in HTML5 should sell it through the app stores in a native wrapper.

For Rutten, HTML5 developers should look to mobile carriers and handset manufacturers for distribution channels.

And as for panel moderator Bret Terrill – himself a former director at Zynga and a consultant in the social gaming space – he suggests HTML5 developers look to Windows Phone 8.

It's a less crowded ecosystem, of course, but the key for Terrill is the capability of Microsoft's mobile Internet Explorer.
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013


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