Google I/O: EA to showcase HTML5-based 3D multiplayer game for Chrome

June 27, 2012
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electronic arts strike force html5 game

Although EA pulled their games from the Google+ game store for lack of user interest (I don’t think Google+ users like playing Flash games that much, and they don’t like getting spammed like in Facebook, either), it seems that the video games giant will still partner with Google to release a sophisticated 3D multiplayer game for Chrome and ICS devices, that surprisingly is not made in Native Client, but in HTML5.

I say that’s surprising because, so far, I’ve only seen good looking 3D games for browsers that were done in Native Client (written in C++), like Bastion or AirMech. I haven’t seen anything similar that was done in HTML5 until now. But apparently, EA will do most of the computing in their data centers, not on the devices themselves, and they will only stream the game to your browser, much like the OnLive service works. This could easily allow anything from smartphones to PCs to play pretty advanced 3D games, without any latency at all, provided you have a good enough internet connection.

From a New York Times report on the project:

The game, called “Strike Force,” has development costs substantially less than a game for a console system of similar quality, said Richard Hilleman, chief creative director at E.A. “We’ve learned how to exploit parts of HTML5 that nobody foresaw.”

The developers seem to have used little in terms of resources, which made the development of the game less costly for EA. In fact, they don’t have a plan on what to charge or how to charge for it yet, but they have months to figure that out. The game is only intended to show what can be done in a browser, for now. Google, however, wants developers to become interested in making this type of games for Chrome and ICS devices:

“Google is trying to get all the developers to make games” for Ice Cream Sandwich, said Jack Emmert, chief executive of Cryptic Studios, a game developer. “It makes their tablets a lot more attractive.”

A game played in the browser or on a mobile device is going to have to be different than a game played on a console. People don’t have the time or desire to play for hours at a time, so it needs to be interesting and addictive, starting from the first few minutes of playing:

“A phone game should be played over 90 seconds, like an arcade game; Angry Birds is like Pac Man,” Mr. Hilleman said. “People play on tablets for 10 minutes or so, and ‘Plants Versus Zombies’ is good for that.” PC games are typically played for 22-30 minutes, he said, though playing a game on Facebook is usually shorter. On consoles, people often play for two hours or more.

I feel this Google I/O is going to be a lot less about new features arriving with Android 4.1, and a lot more about new content and services that are coming to both Android and Chrome. What do you think?

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