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The future of video games will be in your browser

Alex Cocilova | Oct. 16, 2013
Browser gaming isn't limited to PCs. Each new generation of smartphones, tablets, and even smart TVs gains computational power. Many of them can already play console-quality games, and the industry is only just getting started.

Browser games are here today
Playing games in a browser isn't an entirely new concept. Simple Flash games have been around since the early days of Web surfing. You've probably already played recreations of such arcade classics as Pong, Pac-Man, and Tron. Facebook soon entered the time-waster fray, hosting highly addictive games like Farmville and Words With Friends.

If raising crops and leveraging your vocabulary don't float your boat, you'll find many more-ambitious games online, including Card Hunter, Battlestar Galactica Online, and RuneScape. Each of these titles has made waves with quality gameplay and stunning graphics. And all of them are completely free to play. Fire up Google's Chrome browser, open a free Google Play app store account, and you'll find a huge library of free and paid games that run in the browser. Google's new App Launcher lets you start games from the desktop: You might think of it as a lightweight, browser-based Steam.

Google encourages pushing new technological boundaries through its Chrome Experiments initiative. Independent developers have produced a number of impressive projects using WebGL (an acronym for Web Graphics Library), a JavaScript API (application programming interface) that can generate 2D and 3D renderings in any modern browser without any downloads or plugins.

Beyond the PC
Browser gaming isn't limited to PCs. Each new generation of smartphones, tablets, and even smart TVs gains computational power. Many of them can already play console-quality games, and the industry is only just getting started.

Circling back to my conversation with the developers at Artillery: "Imagine a world, I think even in five years, "said Pansari, "when all of these televisions you buy have really fast browsers built into them. I think that world is coming pretty quickly. In that sort of world we ask ourselves 'Why would you buy a gaming console when you can just load up a URL and pair your Xbox controller with your television?' That's what we're really excited about."

I love my PC as much as the next geek, but I'm looking forward to the day when I won't have to buy a new video card and chain myself to my desk just to play an exciting new game. And I can't wait to have everything I need to play games from my couch built right into my Internet-connected TV. Fortunately, from what I've seen, I won't have long to wait.

 

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