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HTML5 gaming is doing well!
by Przemyslaw Szczepaniak on 06/03/13 07:28:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


2013 seems to be good and promising for HTML5 gaming. Despite the bad press it had in the past year, performance issues, and the situations where huge companies gave up on its development, we can see that 2013 may be a crucial and positive year for web gaming. We often hear that "HTML5 is not ready. It's not working. It won't work. It will be a failure." According to Henry Hoffman who is Mudvark's Creative Director, "The idea that HTML5 delivers poor performance is all a lie perpetuated by people who don't like HTML5 very much." Are those only the words of disbelievers or straight facts? Let's try to find out by looking at recent events and facts.

So, how is really HTML5 gaming doing now?

Alexander Krug, CEO of Softgames, is like me, a huge HTML5 gaming support. You can find his speech from Casual Connect above.

I agree with those arguments. Alexander also confirms that 2012 was tough, but the situation is now getting better. The most important parts of his speech show us that HTML5 is a different and very innovative platform for gaming. Developers have various ways to distribute, promote and monetize their games. Updates are easier, and you can play web games practically on any browser supporting device without downloads. I'm showing this video because many people I talked to still don't understand how well the idea of web based gaming can work. I hope this video will bring better understanding of the whole idea, and it can also prove that it works well, brings benefits to developers, and is fun for gamers.

What is most important is that the gaming market truly indicates the need for web based gaming now. You may notice a growing number of publishers and investments into new web based projects. Following Alexander's speech, I have also confirmed that depending on the business model you choose, web mobile gaming can earn money for your business. Based on our company experiences, we noticed a vast growth of networks, and while I showed you that growth in the last infographic, at this moment I can only say that the number of interested publishers we met is even higher. HTML5 gaming lies in a niche, and we can't compare it to native markets, HTML5 is a different area and technology. Despite the bad predictions, we proved that you can earn revenues from a couple business models. With the proper approach and knowledge of the market, a developer needs to focus on specific game types, and those games need to be match to specific business models.

It is also claimed that mobile gaming is set to overtake handheld gaming. According to IDC, gamers will spend more money on mobile games (smartphone, tablets) in 2013 than on handheld games. This is very interesting because mobile devices weren't constructed as actual gaming consoles, and still they have become very popular gaming devices. The phenomena comes from the easy access to games, I believe. This becomes even easier with HTML5, because players won't be redirected to app stores. They will just click the link and play. That is a great way for HTML5 gaming publishers to promote their mobile gaming networks and for developers to produce more web mobile games for the market.

Well performing HTML engines?

Many developers use various engines such as Construct2, ImpactJS, Crafty, Game Closure, etc. You may find the list HERE. But two recent events proved the real power of HTML5 and its capabilities.

Turbulenz made their game engine open source which is a fantastic opportunity for many developers. The 2D/3D possibilites of this engine are really awesome. I had a chance to play Save the day based on Turbulenz engine, and I must admit that this game not only looks and works great, but the gameplay is very entertaining and I couldn't step away from it easy.

Another amazing example of the powers within HTML5 is the Citadel demo which is based on the Unreal engine. This is really astonishing, and I believe it proves that HTML5 can be a great successor to Flash.

Anything else to add?

I just couldn't forget about Tizen, "An open source, standards-based software platform supported by leading mobile operators, device manufacturers, and silicon suppliers for multiple device categories such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, in-vehicle infotainment devices, and smart TVs." Isn't that an obvious gesture toward developers? It may be a solution to many issues. Tizen is compatible with various mobile platforms. All apps made with it will run in other systems with slight changes (because Android and IOS applications run only under those operating systems). I'm sure that many more advantages can show up soon, and when new smartphones start adding more processor cores, then web mobile applications and games will definitely have better performance.

As a short summary I can only tell that I'll keep this blog updated with news from the HTML5 gaming world. At this moment I can confirm that HTML5 is prospering and proving that despite the bad predictions the situation is better. Games are not only looking better but are also working better. The HTML5 market may not be as huge as native market, but we need to remember that it is a niche - a niche with its own technology, promotion and distribution channels.

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Nick Vasileiou
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Very good article. HTML5 is getting more powerful than ever.

Apart from the projects you mentioned, I would like to suggest that you take a look at a new game, still in development by an indie group, called Urban Galaxy Online (

They have built an MMORPG based on WebGL and ThreeJS with very good visuals and its a very good example of what HTML5 can do.

Przemyslaw Szczepaniak
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Yes it is, and with time and new solutions it will create a new quality for gaming (well it is happening already, but still needs some time, support and higher awareness of whole market and huge companies).

I love the game! Thank you for sharing :)

Chris Dunson
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As a Flash developer I'm looking towards HTML5's growth. I really hope to start seeing bigger games with variation in content.

Petar Petrov
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fighting the browser,
fighting stupid JS,
lack of control...
say welcome to html devs!?

Andrew Grapsas
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Agreed 100%. "Look, it's really working guys... we have a language built for barely scripting the dom, we have... some functionality... and we work on some platforms... some of the times... with various results."


Dan Bridge
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Have to agree with this to some degree, although it's very early days and the tools will become more mature. That said, at the moment, writing non-trivial games can be a challenge in JS e.g. profiling and debugging properly is hard, it still feels like web development where writing to the console is your best bet.

And when you've got a large code base, a missing comma can be a real pain in the backside

But it's early days ...

Morgan McGuire
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Making HTML5 games is easy--selling them is hard. Is there any service for monetizing non-casual web games that is comparable to Steam or the iOS App store? Casual games may work well with advertising base revenue, but more hardcore games have fewer, more intense users and may need paywalls instead of depending on large numbers of users.

Przemyslaw Szczepaniak
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Yes, it depends on what games fit your model of work best. If you have enough resources you may also produce a huge hardcore game - take a look at NonStopGames - they grown high as a team, and they produce hardcore games now. I'm sure the IAP will be their choice, they may also mix models to experiment which one works best for them.
We found that mostly networks that support HTML5 work best. For example check Mocospace, or Boostermedia - they provide support for simple web mobile HTML5 games with ads and IAP models. The problem that there is no alternative for appstores is that HTML5 is not as aware among huge companies. If this approach would change, we could see a vast growth of web mobile gaming networks or web app stores :)

Phil Maxey
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Starling.js could have a big impact.

Shay Pierce
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I don't keep up a lot with HTML5. One of my many concerns about the technology is the lack of support for it on iOS (which is ironic for many reasons)...

Do you know whether any of the iOS limitations listed in this (two year old) blog post have been addressed?

Camilo R
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asm.js may be a game changer. Although some devs will be turned off from writing C++ for browsers, this is great for game developers. Now if only Google and MS add support, we'll have something.

Brian Wane
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We've been working on HTML5 games for about 6 months and have developed our own engine. One of the key aspects of HTML5 gaming that is overlooked in this article is the challenge involved in cross platform distribution, especially for mobile. I don't see why you would use HTML5 if you weren't focused on mobile and yet the Turbulenz games do not play on iOS or Android. The real challenge in HTML5 gaming is in making a game that is compelling on the web, an iPhone and a 3 year old Android phone. It's possible but there isn't an existing available engine that does it for you out of the box.

Jonathan Ghazarian
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Turbulenz has been working on ios and android support. They've shown videos of some games working and I think it's supposed to be in beta very soon.

Faisal Abbas
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Check this for new html5 games. Old classic snake game reintroduced and many more.