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GDC 2011: Moving to Browser

General Articles By Garrett Fuller on March 04, 2011

GDC 2011: Moving to Browser

This week at GDC we saw a lot of new games which are entering into the MMO marketplace. The big difference between this year and other shows is that many of the games we saw were in browser. So it is a quick log in off the web site and you are playing the game from anywhere. Lunch times at work will be changed forever as this trend catches on. These games are not the browser games we saw a few years ago, they are not even the games from last year, every browser game we saw is moving into the next decade for online games.

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You are probably thinking the same thing I was, browser games are too light and there is nothing for the hardcore. Well, as we start to see cloud computing become more effective and technology moving to a faster more versatile internet the hosting of these games will be much easier. With this trend means more games are being developed with depth and better graphics. Highlighting two games below, I want to try to show how this trend is growing and may be great for all of us.

BigPoint’s Battlestar Galatica Online is a great example of a polished game on a browser space. If you are a fan of EVE, Battlestar may not be as in depth for you, but it does have a great design and focused space combat. Flying and playing in the game world was easy to get used and the game offered some great combat. The real surprise is how polished the game looks on a browser system. The game is running right now and after reading this go and find out for yourself what you think of the graphics and game play. I only demoed the game here at GDC, but this weekend I will give is a full play session to make my final theory. For now, as a browser game it looks impressive upon first glance.

For fantasy fans we got a chance to look at Fortune Online. Gazillion Entertainment is putting together Fortune Online and the game plays similar to a Diablo style format. You can log in through a browser and start questing right away. There are ways to group with others and customize your character. The game is coming out with two classes to start but because of the ease of updates for browser games there are a lot of additions coming. Fortune Online has enough depth to make you care about your character and want to continue questing. For a lunch time break style game, it definitely had the content to have you log back in for a nightly play session. Fortune Online also looks great and for a browser game offers a lot of depth to the player.

As Internet access and connections become easier in our world so too will the access to games. While many players who are hardcore MMO fans will not waste time on light social games. The trend is really starting to bring the browser and smaller style games into a realm where they can be built with depth and retention. Both Battlestar Galatica and Fortune Online give players a deeper level of gaming in a browser setting.

As we continue to move into the next decade with MMOs and the Internet grows more fluid, browser games will become deeper and more complex. For hardcore gamers this will mean more access to games on different levels. Join the browser growth with the mobile market and eventually people will be playing hardcore games on trains coming home from work. As much as I love sitting at my computer at night for my game sessions in MMOs, it will also be cool to eventually log in from anywhere and get started in a hardcore game that offers a lot of depth on a browser platform.