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Trends That Will Drive HTML5 This Year

2014 promises to be a big year for HTML5 mobile games. Asthe CEO of a NYC-based mobile web game distribution company, I see three trendsapplication developers should look for this year that will drive the HTML5resurgence.

Trend Number 1:HTML5-based mobile web app demand will skyrocket

There is a growing set of HTML5 app stores that are alllooking for the same thing – quality HTML5 games. They want them, they want alot of them, and in many cases they are willing to pay for non-exclusivelicenses to them and/or provide special promotion within their stores.

While the Apple and GooglePlay app stores are and willremain the biggest app stores in the market, they are also the hardest and mostexpensive to crack in terms of discovery and user acquisition. Thesealternative app stores are building sizable audiences and are investing heavilyin their HTML5-based platforms.

So what are the emerging HTML5 app stores and gamingplatforms?  Here is a list of the biggerones.

Firefox OS - Mozilla launched its HTML5-based Firefox OS in2013, first in South America, Spain, and eastern Europe, and will be expandingits footprint throughout 2014.  FirefoxOS is working with Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom.

Tizen - A new HTML5-based operating system supported by Samsungand Intel is set to hit the market in 2014. Samsung sponsored a Tizen AppChallenge in 2013 that included over $4 million in cash prizes.

Amazon - Amazon has recently put its muscle behind a mobile webapp distribution program, supporting HTML5 games with integrated one-clickin-app purchase ability, game service support, and game promotion.

Microsoft – Windows 8 recently surpassed 10 percent share ofdesktop browsers and Windows 8 Mobile continues to grow as well.  Microsoft is actively looking for HTML5 webapp gaming content to support both its desktop and mobile marketplaces.

Kik Messenger - Kik supports an HTML5-based game platform withinits mobile messenger app. They recently surpassed 100 million registered usersand are looking at games as a core component of their mobile strategy.

It should be noted that the web app opportunity is also verymuch an international one. For example, UC Web, which is the top mobilebrowser in China and India, is a firm believer in HTML5 and already has over1,800 mobile web app partners on its browser platform.

Trend Number 2:Online Flash game portals will make the shift to HTML5 games

HTML5 games make a ton of sense for online game portals thatare seeing their audience migrate to mobile. On the online game portals, userstend to enjoy snacking on many different games and game types in sharedexperience with their like-minded brethren who visit that particular portal. Nativegames are not the right fit for this audience. The requirement to download anative game interferes with and breaks this social snacking experience.

HTML5 games, on the other hand, can be played with just aclick of a link. In addition, because the portals are web-based, a whole slewof social and viral elements can be employed by the game portals without therestrictions they would otherwise face as a native app within the Apple AppStore or GooglePlay.

And as a game studio, you need to understand that in almostall cases, game plays within these emerging mobile game portals come with nocost per acquisition. As user acquisition costs continue to rise within the appstores, the value of reaching users through the mobile web will increase.

Shown is a chart that shows the top Flash game portals interms of overall monthly visits and which are launching HTML5 vs. Native mobileportals.

Trend Number 3: Majorbrands will turn to mobile web games as the ideal way to connect with, andengage, users on mobile

Brands are struggling with ways to connect with users onmobile. Video ads can feel very intrusive on a phone, and banner ads are notalways all that effective. What brands need to do is engage with their mobileusers in way that resonates, namely mobile games.  Over 40 percent of people’s time spent onmobile devices is spent playing games and on tablets that percentage rises to67 percent. Games are clearly the “killer” content on mobile.

The challenge to date for brands has been that the only wayto get games on mobile was by producing native games. That is an expensiveproposition, especially when it requires producing both an IOS and Androidversion. In addition, the download requirement in the app stores is a huge hurdlefor a branded game. People are just not very likely to download a branded gameunless they are heavily incented to do so and that costs money.

Enter mobile web games. Mobile web games can be produced ina fraction of the time and cost of a native game and can be shared directly bythe brands through their existing social platforms like Twitter and Facebook(again, just a click of a link with Twitter or Facebook on mobile or desktop). Asan example, last summer HBO produced a mobile web game for season six of itsTrue Blood franchise and used it to engage the True Blood fan base within itsexisting Facebook and Twitter channels.

These three trends share a common conclusion. The demand forHTML5 web app games will dramatically rise in 2014. If you are a developer withan interest in HTML5 game development, now is a perfect time to get “into thegame.”



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