Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Pros and Cons of HTML5 in Mobile Gaming

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | |

Mobile video games comes in all shapes, sizes, and experiences. From shooters to side-scrolling adventures, our smartphones have the ability to access literally tens of thousands of games in accordance to just about any preference. For the most part, iOS users' view the App Store as their number one resource for gaming seeking, while Android owners find their downloading home in Google Play, but there is another option for both parties. Unrestricted by operating system, and considered quite a controversial direction for mobile gaming is HTML5. 

Cross Platform

Also called browser gaming, HTML5 is a technology that deviates from the native app stores by welcoming cross platform gaming. As promising as it sounds, much of the gaming community is wholly opposed to HTML5 development. There are a few key factors in this debate. For one, gaming within a browser has some notable issues, performance being one of them. Complex animations have a tendency to render slowly in many mobile browsers making playing high-quality games an arduous chore. As an added blemish, on its own, HTML5 does not support native device features such as vibration, gyroscopic functionality, accelerometer utilization, and the camera use which limits the potential experience from the beginning. 

Unlike Google Play for Android games and apps and the Apple App Store, there is no designated distribution outlet for browsers. Word of mouth is one way to spread popularity, but for HTML5 to really take off, there must be a well-known collective of easily accessible games and apps for users to explore and download. Plus, there are several issues that need to be addressed before HTML5 can gain more mainstream gaming cred: the fact that mobile gaming via browsers often features broken audio, that it doesn't allow for direct messaging via push notifications, and that it lacks an in app-payment solution are further blips on the HTML5 radar. 


Despite a ton of criticism, it's not all bad. In fact, some experts believe that HTML5 will become prominent in the future of mobile gaming. Versatility is one huge factor. With a single code base, developers can deploy a game across a variety of devices with ease. This makes it possible for iPhone users to play along with Android users for example. Also, the click then play functionality makes for a smoother, faster experience. Rather than visiting the App Store or Google Play, finding the game, making the purchase, downloading the file, installing the app, THEN playing; HTML5 gaming is available with a single click. There are no plugins to worry about, no need to download anything or update the game prior to play, everything is done by developers live. 

Technologies Integration

Not to mention, browser gaming is a much cheaper alternative compared to native gaming. HTML5 is a free, open technology. The only cost is derived from the developers/designers needed for game production. As an additional note, many of the problems previously discussed with HTML5 can be solved with new innovations. With the use of tools such as the Cloud Compiler and JavaScript extension APIs, developers can override issues with distribution, monetization, messaging, and even the native device features. These workarounds nearly eliminate all of the main criticisms that have been thrown at HTML5, but many simply do not know about these resources. 

Apple Game VS Android Game

Right now, the battle between native gaming, that of Apple and Android-specific games, and gaming within a browser isn't much of a competition. The popular OS undeniably dominates the market but with all of the improvements and benefits of HTML5, browser gaming could very well become a serious contender within the mobile gaming industry. 
Author's Bio: Taylor Stein is an avid gamer, sushi lover, and overall nerd. After founding a gaming-related site of her own,, she went on to intern at G4TV, and is now a freelance videogame writer. This post was written in association with Big Fish Games, a developer of Android, iPhone, and iPad games.
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