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CrowdStar: HTML5 still too immature for game devs

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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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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