Flash failed on mobile, the app stores are overcrowded, and why HTML5 is the alternative.

Flash failed on mobile, the app stores are overcrowded, and why HTML5 is the alternative.

Accessibility nowadays becomes one of the most preferred factors, especially in the terms of mobile gaming. We have already noticed that javascript powered engines and games are showing on the market in much bigger numbers than in the first years of the technology’s existence. One of the other important trends nowadays is that developers are moving away from Flash in favor of web apps. Why is that happening? Is Flash really not needed anymore? I mean, it is still there and it will used, but it won’t be a solution for HTML5 gaming on mobile. HTML5 has a few very strong advantages to become an important part of the market. And what’s most important, it is accessible almost everywhere on multiple types of devices with a browser and internet access.

Why does the future of mobile gaming reside with HTML5?

The growth in the number of mobile devices on the market and the way those devices are advancing can make everything possible. And in the terms of discussion about HTML5 gaming it became a fact. We see more advanced smartphones with multiple CPU’s and more RAM. They can easily cope with web games compared to how they did in the past. Devices have advanced so much nowadays that we really cannot imagine our lives without mobile internet access and mobile gaming.

Of course we still have native games which are a huge part of the mobile entertainment business, but HTML5 is growing rapidly and it has one big advantage – gaming in the cloud. As a confirmation I’d like to quote an article from XTND: “The main benefit of gaming on the cloud is that there is no need to store the whole game on the mobile device yet you can experience the high octane playing experience. With 3G and LTE coming up the internet speed is not a problem for many. Moreover, the Wi-Fi is available at most public and private places these days making cloud gaming all the more enriching experience”.

There is another reason. Native app stores are currently overloaded with a huge amount of games, and it is much more difficult for a small developer to stand out in the crowd. Only huge productions with huge marketing have a chance for success. Is HTML5 an answer? Yes. Let’s take the example of the game Flappy Bird. This game became one of most loved and hated games in years, and it was made in HMTL5 technology! Why am I mentioning this? According to words of Ross Grossberg, CEO of Tresensa which were posted in Techcrunch article, the reason why Tresensa focuses on HTML5 on mobile is that the “window of opportunity” in smartphone app stores has closed. Launching a game in those stores now is “almost like a Hollywood blockbuster,” he said, without much hope for independent developers who lack a big marketing budget. (That’s one of the reasons why people found the Flappy Bird story so fascinating.)”.

The other important reason is a lack of support for Flash on mobile devices. Recently we have been informed by Adobe, that it will give up on Flash. “Flash is a type of software called “middleware,” an add-on extension to the browser that allows rich content like video and games to be viewed. HTML5, by contrast, allows developers to embed that content right into a website without the need for middleware.” This is crucial and a very important argument. We all know that Flash will not be supported for the newer versions of Android based devices. That gives a huge advantage to HTML5.

The same thing is happening with Apple devices. It is worth mentioning the article “Thoughts on Flash” by Steven Jobs where he said that, “Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices. There is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads (…) New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).”  In this situation, what can really be the ultimate solution if not HTML5?

Unity CEO, David Helgason said for one of Gamasutra’s articles that, “Developers are moving away from Flash, and while Flash publishing has gotten little traction, our own Unity Web Player has seen unprecedented growth in recent months.”

It’s all about Unity and other powerful Javascript based engines now.

The Words of David Helgason confirm that Flash is no longer needed: “The popular game development platform Unity will no longer invest in Adobe’s Flash, as the company says that it does not believe that the future is certain for Flash.”  We can now easily confirm that Unity, one of the Javascript based engines, is currently becoming the best alternative to Flash. In this situation we can only watch how much traction the Javascript based engines can get in the means of development of mobile apps.

Transition blog describes four of the most amazing alternatives to Flash, and they state that “Unity web Player, available for Windows and Mac OS X, is one of the most powerful software that can replace Adobe Flash Player easily. Unlike the other alternatives, any sorts of requirements like browser version, OS restrictions, etc. Along with playing online games and enjoying HD video streaming, it also gives you the power of developing 3D games with animated characters and mesmerizing graphics.” I think that this is one of the best comments that proves Javascript based engines and web mobile gaming can truly become one of the best alternatives.

I have already mentioned in my previous entries the power of such Javascript based engines. The performance of such engines really feels like a native application. For example, Unreal Engine 3 utilizes HTML5 technology to communicate with your video card, and this gives a lot of possibilities with browser-based gaming. I mean take a look at the tech demo of Epic Citadel. It looks astonishing and performs wonderfully on mobile devices!

HTML5 is the future of mobile gaming. 

Currently, developers only prove that the impossible is meaningless. With all the examples I mentioned here, I can confirm that Flash for mobile is not necessary, because it is actually dead for mobile. Only HTML5 can truly unleash its plugin free power in the coming years. The new era of mobile fun has begun. With mix of web technology features, we will be able to play amazing games on multiple devices even online with our friends!

Image cover courtesy of [phanlop88] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



  1. Yabe Yuji

    You are wrong in many points. Here are just two of them.

    – Flappy Bird is not a HTML5 game. It’s NATIVE (https://twitter.com/dongatory/status/431331688757477376).
    – The Epic Citadel demo working on mobile is NATIVE. Probably you don’t know Epic Citadel was originally developed for iPhone 3GS as a native app in 2010 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_Citadel).

    There are other countless flaws on this article. See Gamasutra comments.

  2. Sorry to say but some things in this article are far from truth. Flappy Birds wasn’t originally HTML5 game, but native iOS, Unity 3D is not an HTML5 engine, and you need to install a plugin to play Unity games in the browser (it will change in the next version of Unity). So there is no difference for player if this is Flash or Unity game, he/she needs to install a special proprietary plugin to play, so that is far from open web and cross device/OS operability.

    • Please provide me the confirmation for Flappy Bird, as far as I’m concerned it was a wrapper which appeared in app stores. I’m sorry, but I didn’t mention that Unity is HTML5 engine, you may see that article says “Javascript” :) Please also keep in mind that Unity is mentioned in my article as a game engine (2D and 3D), and as a plugin – Unity Web Player (alternative to Flash), but web HTML5 games (for mobile and desktop) don’t need plugins to play.

      • I don’t want to argue, I just wanted to notice that the way this article is written, can be very misunderstanding for people that have no knowledge about topics you are describing.

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