Erik Goossens talks about the benefits of this web technology and why it’s reinventing the traditional development cycle
The web has changed beyond all recognition since the days of dial-up. It has come on huge bytes and bounds in the last two years alone, and HTML5 is the reason.
This code language is set to become the universal standard for much of the modern web, enabling us to read, hear, watch and interact with many of the multimedia functions we take for granted. Games are set to do well out of this worldwide upgrade, and HTML5 is being embraced by an increasing number of game companies and middleware firms.
Following the announcement of its $5m invest in HTML5 game developers, Erik Goossens, CEO of Spil Games, told Develop why its investing so heavily in the technology, what the benefits are and why its believes the web is reinventing the development and publishing cycle.
Why is HTML5 such an important investment for Spil Games?
Erik Goossens: The future of mobile gaming is about ensuring everybody can easily and instantly access great games at any time from any device. With our strong domain names and localised content we’ve built up a reach of 180 million monthly active users, who we offer simple, free and easy instant satisfaction to via games through their browser. From a strategic point of view, HTML5 is a natural extension for Spil Games as it gives us the ability to offer this same experience across mobile platforms as well.
At the same time, platform fragmentation and not being able to stand out in crowded app stores are huge challenges for independent mobile game developers. We strongly believe HTML5 is an ideal solution as developers can develop their games once and make them available for all platforms – including the app stores – and devices.
How will this investment be used?
The funds will be allocated on a bespoke basis to studios wishing to port existing games to HTML5 to create new game elements, as well as help and support with audience generation, monetisation and visibility.
How much demand is there for HTML5 games?
We all know that many consumers worldwide are purchasing low-cost touch devices to use in addition to their PCs. In 2014, tablet shipments are expected to increase 42.9 per cent, with shipments reaching 263 million units. People go their browsers on their touch devices and want to play great games without any complexity. They don’t know or care about what HTML5 is. What they care about is being able to immediately play great games in the browser of their tablets.
So, the demand is there and it’s up to us as an industry to leverage HTML5 as a way to meet this demand.
What are the advantages for developers making their games in HTML5?
Consumer behaviours are changing. Lower cost touch devices (particularly Android-based systems) are becoming more widespread. Developing games in HTML5 is an opportunity for game developers to reach a broader market. It also simplifies game development so developers can spend more time on what they love: creating high quality, fun and engaging games, instead of spending time and money porting their game for lots of different platforms.
And what are the disadvantages?
HTML5 is still finding itself and still developing and there are still restrictions, particularly lack of browser support, but this is changing. Lots of companies are providing easy tools to help creative people reinvent how games are developed and published.
What notable partners do you already work with that develop HTML5 games?
Some of Spil’s partners include Absolute Hero, Hunter Hamster Studios, Tresensa and Bushido Games.
Finally, how do you expect the market for HTML5 games to change in 2014? Will it grow, and why?
I expect we’ll see improvements in HTML5 game quality, increases in audiences playing games in the browser and more and more developers developing games in HTML5 instead of just for app stores. As for Spil Games, we expect to launch up to 500 HTML5 games in 2014.
You can read more about HTML5 development here.