Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Browser-Based Games Stepping Up

Chris Morris at Forbes wrote an interesting piece yesterday that discusses browser-based vs. console (and computer) games, and the slowly narrowing gap between the two in terms of popularity and design sophistication. He focuses on two upcoming browser-based games that he thinks have the potential to change the online gaming landscape - id's Quake Live and Cartoon Network's Fusion Fall.

With Quake Live, Morris explains, id will attempt:
" create the industry's first massively multiplayer shooter. Matches will be limited to 32 people, pitting like-skilled players against each other, thanks to a new matchmaking tool. While the game could have supported more players, Marty Stratton, executive producer at id, notes this type of game can "get kind of overwhelming" when too many people play simultaneously.

More intriguing is the business model: The game is free to play and will be fully supported by advertisements. Dell has signed up as the game's premiere sponsor.

"The browser-based game is something that's really attractive because of the accessibility," says Stratton. "It has this promise of 'everybody has this,' and it's one of the biggest platforms on the planet. And it's now to the point where you can do some very slick, polished, nice things within browser technology.""

CN's Fusion Fall aimed at players aged 8-14 yrs) is also (still) scheduled for a fall '08 release, even though the KidNet apparently only recently decided to go with a browser-based format. As Morris describes:
""FusionFall" has been in development for 2.5 years, but the decision to a browser-based game was reached just a few months ago.

"We started looking at [being browser-based] on day one, but the technology for what we wanted to do wasn't there," says Chris Waldron, executive producer of the game.

As the game's release drew near, Waldron says more competitors popped up, many specifically aimed at the children's market. Technology had advanced, though, and the company knew it needed to stand out. In March, developers began porting the game to browsers."

Although the business model has not yet been announced, I think it's safe to anticipate advertising will be involved. Morris describes the game as a blend of:
"...the social aspects of a massive multiplayer online game and the jumping aspects of a more traditional console platform game. Players will collect representations of Cartoon Network characters and use those (in Pokemon-like fashion) to defeat alien invaders."

Collecting and cross-promotion...sounds like the emerging standard alright. But the big difference with Fusion Fall is that this game actually has the potential to bring a MMOG look and feel (high quality graphics, collaborative play, expansive environments, complex narratives and challenging quests) into the world of children's online gaming...something that so far only Disney has really attempted (first with Toontown, and now with Pirates of the Caribbean Online).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well i want to kno more abt games and there design but as far as your blog is concerned you look awsome.