Understanding HTML5 and Its Impact on Online Gaming

In the days of the first video games, visuals didn’t matter too much. You didn’t get people turning their noses up at playing the Pong game, mostly because they couldn’t compare it with other games. Fast forward to the present day, and flawless visuals and audio dominate all aspects of gaming today. Online gaming also created the demand for state-of-the-art gameplay.

According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, the online gaming market is showing no signs of letting up, either, generating $108.9 billion in the last 12 months. More interestingly, the amount of revenue generated by digital games played on mobile devices has grown to more than two-fifths of the market (42 percent). Smartphone and tablet gaming grew 19 percent year-on-year in 2017 and much of this has been due to the adoption of HTML5 technology, delivering consistent cross-platform gaming experiences that keep casual gamers coming back for more.

Global support for Flash-based gaming has steadily waned due largely to the evolution of HTML5 technology, which has helped online gaming to transcend desktop, smartphone and tablet devices. Surprisingly, HMTL5 is not new on the scene. A revamp of HTML 4.01 in 2004 helped pave the way for its inclusion. Native support for video and audio was even recognized in 2010 by the then Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who claimed that HTML5 would usurp Flash technology long before it did.

The widespread adoption of HTML5 came in the iGaming industry when leading iGaming software developers such as Microgaming opted to reproduce their most successful Flash casino slots and table games in HTML5. Soon, leading online poker networks such as PokerStars not only allowed their players to play poker on the move with iOS and Android native apps, but they also offered browser-based HTML5 games that can be played on laptops, tablets and smartphones. HTML5 has also led to the explosion of the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) scene, with cross-platform gaming available on desktop, laptop and mobile devices to play against other gamers around the world. In 2017, this market was said to have grossed over $30 billion.

Live streamed gaming experiences offered by iGaming brands, including live dealer table games, are now underpinned by flawless HTML5 technology. Historically, they would have been powered by Flash and Java, but HTML5 is a slicker, more secure delivery platform for all types of live online games. For an immersive gameplay experience involving other humans on a live stream, it’s vital that audio and visuals flow in real time, with no latency or distortion. HTML5’s broad compatibility with browsers and devices ensures live streams work flawlessly; however, and wherever you access the game.

Reportedly, HTML5 is incorporated in more than two-thirds of all mobile development carried out around the world today. While traditionally online gaming developers had to utilize JavaScript or Flash and CSS to fabricate a game’s visual effects, HTML5 provides a blank canvas for developers. Direct integration into browsers rather than having to run Flash or Silverlight in the background ensures devices flow smoothly and gamers enjoy a consistent gaming experience without delay.

— Featured photo by Flickr user dalcrose, Creative Commons