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CrowdStar: HTML5 still too immature for game devs

By Matthew Handrahan

Wed 21 Dec 2011 9:02am GMT / 4:02am EST / 1:02am PST

Facebook's HTML5 platform requires "massive tech and workflow adjustments"

Crowdstar CEO Peter Relan believes that HTML5 is still too "immature" to be tempting for game developers.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Relan expressed doubt over the validity of Facebook's HTML5 development platform for game developers.

"We haven't heard or seen that much traction in terms of gaming, which I attribute to the fact that HTML5 games, which they're supporting, are relatively immature as a technology," he said.

"You can't suddenly take people who have learned to build native client games on Objective C and Java and have them go build with fewer options. It just lacks the supply of high-quality games."

"Changing to focus on HTML5 requires massive tech and workflow adjustments. Facebook is taking a long-term strategic directional initiative, which developers have to compare to the here-and-now money initiative."

CrowdStar was once entirely focused on social development, but made a move to break of Facebook with the announcement of 'Project Trident' - a company-wide strategy where every new product is developed to work on Facebook, mobile, and other social networks in Asian markets.

"That's been a change over the past year from our default-Facebook position in 2010. Zynga is the main other company that has been making this type of move to focus on multiple platforms."

According to data sourced by VentureBeat, the strategy is working; CrowdStar's latest iOS game, Social Girl, reached 1 million downloads in its first week, and Relan estimates that around half of the company's revenue now comes from mobile products.

Relan believes that mobile-social gaming has generated $500 million in revenue this year, but only $100 million of that is being spent through Android devices. In order to catch Apple, Google needs to "accelerate direct carrier billing" to make payment easier for its customers.

"The thing about Android is obviously monetization," Relan told TechCrunch. "For example, on the Kindle Fire we're already seeing much better numbers - average revenue per user, and the rest - even if it's small."

"Google checkout and wallet - that's a very long term strategic initiative, but not likely to take off on a mobile device because they're just behind."

"Amazon already has 150 million credit cards on file, Apple has hundreds of millions. Android needs to leverage carrier billing very, very aggressively."

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I disagree with 'HTML5 immature' statement. We've already done tech and our first social game is coming in a couple of months. For wide range of game genres iPhone and iPad (especially) experience is comparable with native apps. Android is still slower but it's improving with every release. Support of WebGL will be ultimate feature of HTML5 since 2D games will be as fast as native.

Posted:4 years ago


Baris Soner Usakli ActionScript Programmer, Social Game Universe

1 0 0.0
For me as3>js so I don't plan on using js anytime soon.

Posted:4 years ago


Erik Yuzwa Developer

7 0 0.0
Agreed. But the Android Fragmentation problem must be solved very soon. There's no reliable means (as an HTML5 developer) to detect CSS3 features on Android, since it's compatibility is very high...however its implementation of said CSS3 feature ranges from "acceptable" to "extremely subpar"..

Posted:4 years ago


Robert Dibley Lead Render Coder, Slightly Mad Studios

4 0 0.0
HTML5 is nothing to do with Facebook, it's just something they are supporting within their own framework, but nobody is required to stick to Facebook to do it.

We've done tech as well, but we're aiming at a different part of the market, and have gone initially with Chrome because it's got by far the best HTML5 / WebGL support. And it's already out, not in a couple of months.

Posted:4 years ago

@Robert Dibley
> And it's already out, not in a couple of months.

Great job! And congrats on release. But as you rightfully pointed out cross-platform development of HTML5 is very different to single platform experience. You have to deal with multitudes of devices and HTML5 is just a tool not a solution. We've shipped few HTML5 casual mobiles games already and the main obstacle was cross device compatibility. Android is the main headache. We even have hacks for different versions of Android (Android 2.2, 2.3 and 4.0 differs a lot).

Posted:4 years ago

I agree with Peter. For mobile games (not browser based casual games), I've yet to see much compelling done in HTML5, and certainly nothing that could make the top 50 on either Apple or Android. At best, HTML5 works for board games on some browsers, but nothing more demanding.

Yuri, I tried loading your games but couldn't get any to work. E.g. Apple Orchard redirects me to the portal which doesn't work on iOS 5.0 - the outline loads but the content is stuck at 'Loading...'.

Posted:4 years ago


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