HTML5 multiplayer games – do they really work?

HTML5 multiplayer games – do they really work?

Using HTML5 technology in cross-platform multiplayer games can raise many questions and doubts. Nevertheless, there have already been successful attempts at creating products that allow gamers to have fun on various operating systems and devices simultaneously. Of course these games still can’t have complicated animations and other features which cause worse performance, but they prove that it is possible, more possible than a couple years ago. There are also bigger (standalone) multiplayer games for hardcore gamers which are also fun and can provide a real time multiplayer experience to gamers. I will show some of the projects I found on the web and one made by my team. It’s really enjoyable to discover that many developers manage to cross the borders of so called “impossible to achieve goals”.  A couple examples shown in this entry will prove that an important and next step has been made towards real time multiplayer games. Gamers are getting the possibility of synchronous/asynchronous gameplay in simple but very entertaining multiplayer games. They can also have this fun with opponents who use different devices at the same time.


Before I start giving examples of HTML5 multiplayer games, I’d like to talk about one of the HTML5 games which had potential in becoming a multiplayer cross-platform game and possibly still can since it has become an open source project. This game was Pocket Island by Wooga. In my opinion it would be achievable in the near future, but production needs more time and focus in solving the technological issues. Unfortunately Wooga decided to stop the game development. It’s a pity, because there was potential in developing the game further. Pocket Island was probably the most advanced game at the time. Wouldn’t that be fun to have some real time strategy based fun with friends, no matter where they are and no matter what device they use? Luckily there are already some projects that are heading this way.

I could of course do a vast amount of research and provide you more examples, but I decided to show only a couple examples. The idea of this entry is to show what solutions are currently achievable. In this entry I’m focusing on two factors: HTML5 web multiplayer gaming and the cross platform features of products. I’m showing games that can be played dynamically in real time or in turns on various devices and operating systems. To proceed with games examples, I divided multiplayer HTML5 games into two types which you will find described below.

The first is cross platform games that can be synchronously played on various devices/operating systems. That makes them unique from any other type of game ever made! It wasn’t possible in the past, and now you don’t need to buy specific device to play a game. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, PC, Mac or any other device that supports a browser.

Let’s start with our project. “Space 4 In a Row” is an example of simple multiplayer game based on a classic 4 in a row concept. Apart from from the classic Player vs Computer mode, gamers can challenge each other in real time from any device which supports a browser. This game brings real time challenge, but during the challenge you need to wait for opponents move, so it’s kind of turn-based. The biggest potential of this game lays in cross platform gameplay. There aren’t any operating system limits (Windows, Mac Os, iOS, Android, BlackBerry). The simplicity and nice graphics make it attractive for any platform from smartphones to PC’s.

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Another game I’d like to show you is “Song Pop” by Freshplanet. It is a fantastic example of a simple and every entertaining quiz game that is multiplayer with cross platform features. Same as our “Space 4 In a Row” game, “Song Pop” feature the possibility of playing against opponents who use various devices with different operating systems. The unique challenge of this games comes from real time gameplay where the gamer and his opponents guess which song they are listening to at the moment. Gamers don’t need to wait in turns, they can guess the songs in real time! It is so fun :)













Apart from cross platform multiplayer games which use open web technology for mobile devices (and others), we can also find hardcore, multiplayer games for desktop. Some of their advantages are more dynamic gameplay and possibly using more animations, effects and characters on the game screen.

A fine example of such games is “Bombermine” by Ivan Popelyshev‘s team. It’s a kind of mutltiplayer action game with deathmatch elements. This game is very specific, and what’s most interesting, it became very popular without any specific marketing actions. It is one example of why HTML5 games can have very simple promotion. The only thing needed is to send a link which can spread like a virus among gamers. The goal is simple – SURVIVE! The game is instantly boosted with caffeine by having very dynamic action and making it very easy to get killed. For the hardcore gamers market, it had been great entertainment. I managed to speak with Ivan about Bombermine and one very interesting information has been revealed. He is also planning to make it cross platform in the future. It seems that with the proper resources even slightly complicated games can work on various devices and can allow for dynamic, multiplayer fun. Currently the game is under constant development, and it seems that a future version will bring various monetization and gameplay features, such as team play.













Following the idea of games that can be played in real time with other gamers on various devices reminded me a Non Stop Games project – Heroes Of Honor. Not long ago Henric Suuronen, a Non Stop Games Co-Founder, said that instead of worrying about the future, developers should focus on game types and give more social/hardcore factors to their products. It was his answer to recent moves by Wooga and Facebook where both companies gave up on development of their HTML5 projects. I’m really excited about Heroes of Honor. If everything will work as intended, we can finally see a breakthrough in cross platform gaming in a game that features the ability to play strategic real time battle with other gamers who use different devices at the same time. “The game features two distinct gameplay models: a city management mode and a new revolutionary real time battle map shared with players around the world – a true first of its kind on tablets and smartphones.” That sounds really amazing! I hope that this game will change the current approach to HTML5 gaming and will move the market to totally new experience.

As you can see it is possible. HTML5 multiplayer games can really provide entertainment in real time. No matter what device you have, you can join your friends and play with them online. A couple projects that I mentioned are the best examples of what is achievable if developers focus more on solving the problem instead of giving up. I will keep my fingers crossed for the very ambitious projects that may soon show up on the market. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the development of the web gaming market. I believe that a revolution in gaming is closer than ever.


Image sources:

Song Pop


Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] /


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