Mozilla's new games lab opens - and there is a competition. But is it the right way to go?
And how should developers react?
"We want to support what the Web can do for games. The Web has been ramping up in capabilities, and we’ve been able to add all these things that have enabled a huge variety of games that couldn’t be created before."
This, of course, makes the browser the center of the gaming world and guess which browser that is likely to be? Mozilla has also just released the latest version of Firefox 4 and wants to attract developers to this "new" platform.
To add some excitement to the encouragement Mozilla also announced an international game developer competition, Game On 2010, to open at the end of September. Details of prizes haven't been announced but if Mozilla wants to make a splash then they had better be good. A more practical step would be to open an app store for web games - now that might attract some developer attention.
At the moment information is thin on the ground but Mozilla is highlighting a significant change in the web. Suddenly with HTML 5 and support for more than just text the web browser looks like a reasonable host for more advanced applications. If you take a step back for a moment and view the bigger picture then things don't seem to fit together well. We have mobile phones running "native apps" winning out of web applications - so much so that "the web is dead" is a common heading.
What is the appropriate response? Is it to make the web browser more powerful or simply to opt for native applications in a wider context? It is clear that augmenting the web browser with additional facilities is possible but adding facilities that already exist on the desktop is a crazy stacking of operating environments. So much better to strip back the clutter and run the browser as the desktop - which is more or less what the Chrome OS is all about. Following this design means that the web and the desktop are one and all applications are native. Who needs a web-based games lab then?
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