Do you play mobile games on your smartphone or tablet? What about on your computer? And do you still put in a CD or DVD to play them? Or do you download an app to play? Have you ever tried an online game within Facebook? And what about on your game console? As bandwidth has increased and technology has evolved, more and more of these gaming experiences are being served from the cloud. Online gaming has transcended physical media like CDs, DVDs, and installed applications and moved to virtual environments based on Flash, HTML5, or other streamed or in-browser technologies.
According to investment bank Digi-Capital, mobile games account for 42 percent of all new game investments. If money trails are any indication of success, we should watch to see where the banks are investing. In December 2012, Forbes reported that US video game sales dropped 25 percent in the month of October 2012, falling from $1 billion to $775.5 million. Conversely, general spending on mobile and social games rose 7 percent to $7.24 billion in 2011…and that was a few years ago!
Just take a look at some of the games listed in this .NET article, “The top 10 HTML5 games of 2012.” It’s very impressive that the underlying technology is completely browser-based and that these games are absolutely interactive and full-featured. Just for fun, I decided to see how many of these HTML5 games are cloud-hosted. (Remember though, because HTML5 is in-browser code, it doesn’t matter that much if it is cloud or traditionally hosted.) Here’s what I discovered:
- “A Grain of Truth” – shared hosting
- “Dune 2 Online” – colocation
- “Cut the Rope” – cloud/dedicated/custom hosting
- “Hex GL” – shared/dedicated hosting
- “Lux Ahoy” – cloud/dedicated hosting
- “D.E.M.O.” – cloud hosting
- “BananaBread” – telco hosting
- “Save the Day” – cloud hosting
- “Bombermine” – shared hosting
- “BrowserQuest” – ISP/VPS/Web hosting
As you can see, there’s quite a mixture of hosting provider types, ranging from shared to large-scale ISP/telco to cloud. The physical requirements for these types of HTML5 games rely mainly on the end user and the capabilities of the specific device. However, if any of these HTML5 games were to take off in popularity, the game owner would need to scale its infrastructure to handle the increased demand.