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Hawkins: "The browser has already won on the PC"

Convenience and ubiquity means the browser will be king, says Digital Chocolate founder

Trip Hawkins has again espoused the future of the browser as the future of gaming, citing its convenience, ease of use and the freedom it affords developers as key factors in its road to dominance.

Speaking at the Gamelab event in Barcelona, Hawkins talked about the disruption of traditional game distribution channels and media which have occured thanks to the rise of social, mobile and browser-based gaming.

"The browser has already won on the PC," Hawkins told attendees. "It'll win on the tablets. It'll take longer for it to adapt to the smaller screens, the iPhones and the like, but it will."

Virtual goods, attached to a free-to-play model, will be the key factor in that rise, Hawkins feels, calling them the "most important" factor in making money from social gaming.

"What you're going to see is free to play, pay for items in the browser. That's where all the money is going to be."

A key factor in that area will be the so-called whales - those players who buy big in social games to dominate and feel superior to the players who do not. However, whilst it's the whales which are spending the money, the players who don't are just as important. Without them, the big spenders would have nobody to beat.

Developers will be afforded new freedoms in a browser-dominated industry, too - without the creative and financial pressures currently exerted by publishers and retail chains.

It's a theme which Hawkins has spoken on before, and his success in the medium lends credence to his evangalism. Digital Chocolate is part of what Hawkins refered to as the 100 million club - those companies which can boast 100 million or more play sessions across several key forms of new media: Facebook, browser, app stores and virtual good stores.

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Dan Pearson