Scott McCloud and Google Chrome

I haven’t heard too much about Google’s browser project, Google Chrome, but I recently learned about this comic by Scott McCloud that describes the work being done. Pretty sweet. Combine Google’s goals with the goals of Mozilla Ubiquity, and the web will be a very foreign yet familiar place.

What does it mean for indie game developers? General stability improvements across all web browsers, richer application development, and a feeling of safety by users should all lead to more people feeling comfortable playing any kind of game they want.

My favorite thing to imagine is that game developers will stop making games for Windows exclusive and start making games for everyone. It’s currently too difficult to make web-based apps behave consistently because every browser implements Javascript and renderers differently. It’s why you still occasionally find bank websites that require you to use Internet Explorer even though they aren’t doing anything more complicated than YouTube, which works on any browser so long as you have a working Flash plugin. With Google’s work on Chrome, it looks like any browser can take advantage of the same APIs and libraries, which means a more consistent experience for all users.

But what about the games? I know id is already porting Quake 3 Arena to the web, and Runescape already shows that you can have a very successful web-based MMORPG, but what about real-time strategy games? Action games? Sports games? Heck, what about entirely new genres that take advantage of the new open standards being developed by Google and others? Intel’s research on portable gaming on a big screen might also have applications if we can start using our phone’s browser to play games in front of the MythTV box and TV, giving proprietary consoles more competition.

The future of web games is definitely going to look and feel different, and whoever shows us what it can be stands to gain a lot.

[tags] google chrome, browser, web game, indie [/tags]

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