HTML5 gaming is still in its early stages, though rapidly maturing to make good on its promise of becoming the cross-platform technology that everyone—developers and gamers alike—yearn for. We spoke with Roy Tzayag, head of content and strategy for Play.im, about the state of HTML5 gaming and where it’s headed. Play.im is also the publisher of Yepi Games, a casual games multi-pack now available on Firefox Marketplace.
How close are HTML5 games from truly being able to run proficiently across all browsers—desktop, mobile, and tablet?
Roy Tzayag: It’s definitely getting there! Smartphone browsers are becoming more powerful as we speak, and alongside various updates, compatibility and performance issues are being solved and dealt with on a daily basis. I can already detect fewer performance and compatibility issues are appearing on the newer games we build, and as time progresses these issues will decrease even more.
If you’re a beginning developer in HTML5 games, please consider using one of the many free, open source frameworks available, such as Phaser, LimeJS, and Crafty for instance. They make the process of creating a cross-platform/cross-browser game easier, and allow you to focus on your game logic, without having to worry about the little (and big) things necessary to make your game run smoothly.
What’s the biggest hurdle HTML5 games must overcome to take that next big step in widespread adoption for both users and developers?
RT: Before answering this question, I must indicate I’m a true believer in the potential of HTML5 games. I’ve seen the way these games have progressed during the last few years, and I think the next step is very close.
Let’s not forget that Flash games nine or 10 years ago featured very low quality, and it took them some time to become the games they are today. In my opinion the biggest hurdle is overcoming the huge, unrealistic expectations gamers and developers have for HTML5 games. The “one game fits all” solution takes time to achieve, and while we’re not quite there, HTML5 games are definitely on their way to achieve that Holy Grail.
How do you see HTML5 games taking root in developing regions, like India, where internet access can be spotty?
RT: Thanks to many companies—Mozilla for instance, Google, and several others—internet and smartphone opportunities are expanding into places where they weren’t previously available. Many companies recognized the huge opportunity in developing regions, and started shifting resources in order to supply and conduct business in these high potential markets. Mozilla, along with its low smartphone prices helps many people acquire smartphones, hence opening new markets for apps, especially HTML5 apps. Since there is a lot of business potential hooking up these countries, I believe that in the years to come, most of the world will have a steady internet, which opens a hatch for various markets where you as a developer can distribute and monetize your games.
Let’s say I’ve just created a great HTML5 game. How do you suggest I make money off it? In-game advertising? Download purchase?
RT: Unlike the more polished native games, HTML5 titles are currently not that rich in content. While there are several games that offer enough depth and complexity to leverage download or in-app purchases, for beginners I would recommend sticking with free games that feature ads.
Ads-wise, similar to the web world, Google will supply most of your needs with their solid ad solutions, as they monetize in pretty much all countries and are quite flexible in sizes and types.
Another way to monetize games is by offering them to various publishers (like Play.im for instance). Publishers may offer various deals to HTML5 developers, either on a revenue share basis, or a one-time payment mode.