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April 4, 2020

What is a browser game?

Alex T.
5 min read
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Browser games are games that you don't need to download separately on your PC. All you need to do is pick your favorite genre, review the list of games and start playing. Of course, browser games are not always as high-quality and with realistic graphics as many of the triple A games made by big studios with multi-million budgets. They are made for those who don't want to spend too much time playing and provide an opportunity to play anywhere one can go online - at home, in the office, metro, etc

Difference between browser and client-based games

As it’s already been mentioned, the main difference is that there is no need to download games separately. All you have to do is navigate to a browser games site and play using any device with a working internet-browser. The browser-based games won't take up any space on your hard drive. Meanwhile, client-based games need to be downloaded, with some taking dozens of GB of storage space. Browser games are less demanding of a PC's technical characteristics. You can easily play them on all computers and laptops, even the slowest ones. While client-based games often have very high "expectations" for hardware.

And lastly, browser games are usually rather simple, both technically and in gameplay. You won't have to deal with super complex game mechanics and the tiniest details unlike often with the more complex downloadable games.

HTML5 games

Once almost every web-browser got HTML5 support, games taking advantage of the new technology started to emerge. With browsers supporting HTML5, users finally got the opportunity to draw different elements without using 3rd party plug-ins, like the once hugely popular Adobe Flash. Currently, JavaScript allows for animation within these modern browser games, while Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are also used in HTML5 game development for styling and graphics. Three-dimensional graphics are realized with the help of WebGL that displays 3D graphics directly in the browser using hardware acceleration. The biggest advantage of HTML5 games is that they run on iPhones and iPads without issue, as Apple hasn’t supported Flash on their mobile devices since 2010. Moreover, HTML5 games tend to perform and function faster than Flash ones.

The future of browser Flash games

Modern browser games are made with HTML5 or WebGL. No matter how many good Flash games exist, they will become unplayable soon. Today, many browsers reject using Flash, the technology that was used for the creation of several browser games and animations for years. Adobe has announced that it will discontinue support for Flash starting December 31, 2020. Many companies have been recommending removing Flash from devices already before the support is ceased for security reasons.

At the moment it's unclear what the Flash game developers will do. It's possible that some will remake their existing Flash games using HTML5. It's also possible that several of them will be ported to mobile platforms. Some enthusiasts have been busy backing up these Flash-based browser games to their hard drives, just in case they were to disappear from the Internet completely. Some developers themselves have been writing instructions for players so that they can keep playing their favorite games even as the curtain has finally been called for Adobe Flash.

As of right now, you can still play and enjoy Flash games by allowing its usage manually in the browser controls. This feature has commonly been disabled by default already.