Altabel Group's Blog

Is HTML 5 the future of mobile gaming?

Posted on: October 6, 2011

HTML5 Is An Oncoming Train, But Native App Development Is An Oncoming Rocket Ship”. We can say without doubt that HTML5 will definitely play a big role in the future of mobile gaming, and could potentially be one of its major growth drivers. However I do not think that it will completely replace native apps, at least for the foreseeable future.

It`s very old debate and probably truth is somewhere in between.

There are two obstacles to a widespread adoption of HTML5 as a mass platform for gaming: one is the ecosystem, and the other is the technology itself

The fact is that, right now, only pretty simple HTML5 applications can run well on any browser and platform that supports the standard. However, to run a more complex application such as a game for example a browser should support additional HTML5 libraries and extensions. Right now most tech-intensive games can only run on a recent version of Chrome and on a sufficiently powerful PC

Even more essential, however, is the presence of a fully functioning ecosystem which can be the main force to drive mass adoption of HTML5.

Speaking about the ecosystem I mean that customers will have to be able to discover, play and purchase games in such a way as App Store has it. So for this a few elements are necessary: a store easily accessible and pre-installed on every handset, a 1-click billing solution that will be able to support a wide range of payment methods.

The real question is Apple, who has the strongest native app ecosystem and who is interested in controlling the user experience and therefore keeping its platform closed to a certain extent. We should admit that Apple has a strong advantage, as their ecosystem is so strong and the user experience so universally appreciated and HTML5 should be very persuasive and easy to use to win customers and to overtake and surpass Apple in this sphere.

Finally, it should not be forgotten that creating a game for platforms that have different input interface and screen size isn’t pain-free, as a new control method must be devised and implemented, and new art assets need to be created. The mirage of “build once, play on every device on Earth” can probably remain just that, a mirage.

Currently HTML5 is not yet the best thing in the world, but all this will change rapidly over short time: native apps will be still the dominant ecosystem for games at least in the next two years but HTML5 will start gaining adoption pretty soon, and probably become a viable market around the same timeframe. HTML5 is the way browsers are heading, and they’ll all just get better and better.

And what are your ideas? Will HTML5 eliminate fragmentation and allow developers to create one game for multiple platforms and operating systems and thus be the driving force in mobile gaming?

Anna Kozik
Altabel Group – professional software development

3 Responses to "Is HTML 5 the future of mobile gaming?"

At appMobi, we recognized 18 months ago that HTML5 presented the best opportunity to eliminate development fragmentation and allow mobile apps to be developed that just work correctly across different hardware platforms. We looked at the technologies that drove Apple to dominance, and noted the “holes” that HTML5 had with regard to the iOS and Android “ecosystems” as you call them.

appMobi has built out an HTML5-based ecosystem that includes a very comprehensive development environment (the appMobi XDK) which can make native iOS and Android apps (as a transitional feature) as well as both server-side and client side web-apps. We also created a set of cloud-based services that deliver user experiences that match or beat those on iOS and Android – for in-app purchasing, push messaging, user analytics, authentication, and client-side app updating.

Specifically to support HtML5 gaming, we pioneered a technology that boosts the speed of HTML5 Canvas drawing functions by 500%, called “DirectCanvas”. We announced that at E3 in June.

Last week we announced the HTML5 GameDev XDK, which integrates the top HTML5 game engine (ImpactJs) with the appMobi tools and services, creating a highly optimized game development and deployment tool specifically for HTML5.

We believe that mobile computing is too important for it to be controlled by any one company. Imagine if the Internet had been “owned” by one company in 1995 when it became popular, and if that company controlled what did and didn’t get onto the Internet, and further, took a 30% tax of all commerce on the Internet. We would have a very different Internet today, and this is what we believe HTML5 represents -the “opening” of the mobile computing space.

HTML5 reminds me of Windows OS; as much as I would like to accept the fact that the latest version of Windows will be flawless I always get convinced otherwise by dealing with new problems.Recently, my computer directed itself into repair mode and it was not functioning for about 20 minutes.

HTML 5 is no different. It is insufficient as a coding language and its short-comings have to be compensated by other technologies like JavaScript,CSS etc. Camera, barcode scanner, gps etc. cannot be accessed by HTML5 itself, and therefore interaction and application responsiveness is significantly decreased.As we all know, HTML4 was evolving for more than 10 years and yet it proved itself as a language that had to be replaced with HTML5.In result, development of applications requires knowledge of different technologies and it does not cover all security threats which can occur by using HTML5.

Coding with HTML5 can be perfectly replaced by frameworks which provide more effective, time efficient and most importantly, native ways of coding. As I mentioned before, JavaScript is required to access all features of the phone but its true potential is in covering every aspect of mobile development. Moscrif, a cross-platform development tool, is based on JavaScript with extended coding possibilities for programmers.It allows them to take advantage of native capabilities and it uses single code base for every platform. JavaScript is one of the fastest evolving languages which can keep up with current market trends and expectations. HTML5 will always require additional languages and therefore will be inadequate for mobile application development. Unless HTML6 will introduce a new way of HTML coding.

History is repeating it’s self again. 12 years ago everything on the net was based on Active X components. These components were very much like the smart phone apps. They had two major problems, security and compatibility. Now only an idiot downloads an active X from all but the most trusted sources. Furthermore developers are getting afraid of the heavy hand of Apple. HTML5 is the answer and it will cover the web at a record rate. Anyone not with it will be gone.

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