What Can We Expect From Browser Games of The Future?

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There are divided opinions over the modern tendency to switch great console games of the past over onto browsers. For nostalgists, the chance to play a classic of yesteryear once more (without digging in their attic for an old SNES) is a pleasant trip which may reawaken a general love of gaming. For skeptics, there is the sense that these games were developed for a time, a place and more importantly a control system that has passed. Playing old console games on a laptop is tricky, depending on the type of game – although to be fair, it’s not difficult to port Tetris to any device.

On balance, the ability to make browser games better as technology makes more things possible is probably a good thing. Being a gamer in 2023 is not cheap – consoles, games and peripherals are expensive technology – and anything that makes gaming accessible to a larger number of people is inherently a positive thing. It’s not like it is going to mean your gaming room was a waste of money, because there is inevitably a lag period between something being possible on a dedicated gaming machine and it being replicable on a browser.

While we wait for the day when your gamer-skeptic parents are able to play Elden Ring from their Facebook home page, what are the directions we can expect from browser games going forward?

HTML5 opens up new worlds

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Once upon a time, browser games were about as intricate as playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with a computer opponent. OK, that may be an exaggeration, but Farmville and its ilk were very straightforward, one-paced and repetitive compared with what has been made possible by HTML5. Anything from Sonic to Cloudbet’s Crash Gambling can be delivered at pace and in detail in your web browser, and it’s easy to pick up new games without the need to download anything – HTML5 is incredibly versatile in terms of the browsers it will work with.

Phone gaming shows what is possible

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If you’re ever wondering what type of games you can play without needing to even own a console, look at the growing numbers of games that have been ported from PC to mobile apps. If they’re not currently available on your browser, they soon will be. The infuriating Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is available to any online gamer who isn’t angry enough, or alternatively needs a genuine challenge. It’s successfully playable on a phone, and as a result of people getting addicted to the challenge it throws at them, it got ported to browsers.

This raises the interesting prospect of a game like Football Manager landing in a browser near you – if not soon, then in the foreseeable future. The phone version of the management simulation has joined the likes of Mario as a cult classic and is more intricate than the PC versions of the game that were available in the noughties. It would certainly be possible to make a browser version, though whether it happens is entirely up to the developers and whether they feel it could faithfully be done.