What technology for casual online games?

casual online games

These sites which housed dozens, what do I say hundreds or even thousands of online games have been very successful and dominated the casual game for years. The evolution of the technologies used for the development of games has allowed the emergence of many competitors and new supports and has upset the market for online games.

Everyone has their own playground

While two years ago, most games were developed in Flash, HTML5 has tried to shake up the game and send its technological competitor to early retirement. However, the latter resists again and again. At the time, it was said that Flash, initially intended to make “rich media content” (interactive content with animations and sound, basically: games), had been able to be diverted from its main functions and was now used to develop websites, audio and video players, banner ads and all that could continue animations of all kinds.

HTML technology had not changed in 10 years. When HTML5 arrived, it incorporated many of the features mentioned above. We have thus categorized technologies according to needs: HTML5 for classic web uses such as website creation and CSS animations, Flash for web games; as for video, both technologies can be used.

With the resounding success of the iPhone and then the iPad and the fact that these devices refuse Flash technology, it was necessary to find solutions to develop games, which also impacted online gaming portals. These websites earn their income from advertising, both on their site and in the games themselves via banner ads. Unfortunately, the increasing use of ad blockers has had a significant impact on their revenues and the use of HTML5 has not given a new boost to the browser game industry. On the other hand, this technology promotes migration to tablets and smartphones, which are more and more used by young people to the detriment of other gaming platforms.

Native apps vs. HTML5

If HTML5 games from online game portals are compatible with mobiles, unlike flash games, they must face another problem: users have got into the habit of downloading applications directly from stores.

These two technologies each have their advantages and disadvantages. First, let’s talk about the native apps that everyone knows about. This software specially developed for dedicated support needs to be downloaded before it can be used. They take up space on the support and sometimes require a permanent internet connection. However, these games offer interesting possibilities in terms of income: paying for purchase, free with product placement or requiring in-app purchases to be able to progress in the game (the famous freemium model democratized since the arrival of these games on mobile media). In addition, for the same game available in browser and in smartphone application, this latest version will tend to be of better quality in terms of content or graphics

For their part, games coded in HTML5 are certainly less known but are accessible from any medium. The applications developed with this technology are generally more fluid and dynamic than Flash games, with improved visual and audio rendering. They therefore require a browser to function, but it is not necessary to have an active connection: once opened and loaded, the game will continue to function even in the event of an Internet outage. They also have the advantage of being often free and do not take up any space on the phone. The fact that HTML5 games are cross-platform represents a strong competitive advantage: a single version of the game is sufficient and can be distributed on all types of devices. The development cost is optimized and the different audiences of players are likely to access it. HTML5 technology also makes it possible to update a game remotely without an update to be performed, which is more comfortable for players and also represents a big advantage for companies who want to regularly develop their products. This technology has also enabled companies to adapt their brand strategy by offering multiplatform advergames.in order to get their messages across and enhance their image. However, compatibility with older browsers is more than limited. This can however be seen as a good thing since it promotes the adoption of modern browsers.

What future for Flash and HTML games?

The studios nevertheless aim to distribute 파워볼 games on numerous supports. A few years ago, in an article published on Le Monde.fr, Guillaume Lecollinet of Little Workshop explained that developers’ interest in HTML5 was primarily technical, because “web standards have the advantage of being universally recognized by all machines, computers, phones or tablets”. For developers, the gain is also financial since they do not have a license to pay a license to use Adobe technology or to donate a share of their income to the various stores on mobile.

The evolution of browsers would tend to push developers to produce games in HTML5. Google Chrome continues to block content from Flash ads and games, and so does Firefox. HTML5 is gradually becoming the standard on browsers, facilitating the transition between web gaming and gaming on smartphones.

Faced with this observation, it would be tempting to say that the future of online games depends on HTML5. However, it is not that simple.

First of all, the games present on these portals are still mainly developed in Flash and redeveloping them would be costly for studios. For example, I was able to exchange a person from the site jeuxjeuxjeux.fr who gave me some interesting statistics: out of all the games available on this portal, 20,000 use Flash technology, 1,000 are on Unity and only 272 are in HTML5. The person with whom I was able to talk to me also told me about a problem related to HTML5 technology: the games that use it are not very varied, they are mainly skill games like Candy Crush Like, Mahjong or Puzzle Games. Variety is also what attracts the general public. But large studios like Disney, Nicklodeon and Marvel are gradually starting to publish their games in HTML5, which suggests that this technology may well become more and more popular in the world of video games. Flash, for its part, is still supported by a fairly large Adobe community.

Finally, I have not mentioned in this article, another significant competitor is to be taken into account: Unity. This technology is also very successful with developers because Unity works on consoles, mobile terminals and on PC. In its report “By The Numbers”, Unity Technologies communicated very interesting data:

  • A total of 174,183 original games or applications were created with Unity
  • They generated 2,471,221,822 (2.5 billion) installation processes, or approximately 20 million installations per day
  • They reached 1,104,635,344 (1.1 billion) unique devices, an average of 9 million new devices that installed a Unity game every day.

As we have seen, Flash sees its dominant position strongly compromised by its two competitors. If you remember correctly, I started the article by asking myself about the future of online game portals. Well online gaming portals must now begin their transformation and adapt to these new technological standards. If they want to be accessible and offer games that work on mobiles, they are forced to offer more varied content and continue to promote Unity and HTML5 games. A task that looks complicated considering the many supports and technologies available and which will inevitably have an impact on their business model. Ultimately, however, they could compete with mobile stores by offering a more complete offer accessible to the general public.