Home Mozilla Hopes Web Games Will Remind Us That Browsers Are Still Awesome

Mozilla Hopes Web Games Will Remind Us That Browsers Are Still Awesome

Mozilla announced Mozilla Labs Gaming today, a push to get developers to make use of new Open Web technologies to build “awesome games” that can be played in a Web browser.

The move was timed to coincide with the latest update to Firefox 4, now in beta development, which promises better graphics and a new application programming interface (API) that will let developers read and write raw audio data in the browser. Together, the two announcements are aimed to let users and developers know there are still reasons to be pumped about the Web in this age of native apps.

“Modern Open Web technologies introduced a complete stack of technologies such as Open Video, audio, WebGL, touch events, device orientation, geo location, and fast JavaScript engines which make it possible to build complex (and not so complex) games on the Web,” Mozilla Labs wrote on its blog. “With these technologies being delivered through modern browsers today, the time is ripe for pushing the platform. And what better way than through games?”

Mozilla neglected to explain how these games will be distributed, a crucial detail for developers. Will there be a Firefox store similar to Google’s Web app store, the Chrome Web Store? If so, will developers be able to charge money for these games?

Mozilla did announce an international game developer competition, Game On 2010, to open at the end of September. It’s likely that the cash-flush Mozilla Foundation will put up some prize money for the best Web games.

Firefox’s new audio API introduces new possibilities for game developers.

Mozilla hasn’t explicitly pushed Firefox as the place to play all these fantastic new games, citing only “modern browsers.” But the improvements to Firefox 4 suggest that’s what it’s thinking. It’s possible that Mozilla expects developers who are inspired by this announcement simply list their games in the Chrome Web Store, which lists apps that can work in browsers other than Chrome.

We’re guessing that driving developers to the Chrome Web Store is not what Mozilla is thinking. But it sounds like games are really a means to an end here. Magazines are writing stories about how the Web is dead and consumers and developers are flocking to native mobile apps. Mozilla wants to spread the word about what’s possible in the Web browser.

We’ll be paying close attention to see what details Mozilla reveals about the competition and its vision for the future of the browser-centric Web.

Are native apps really where it’s at? What do you see in the browser’s future, and do you think Web games are a good way to get there?

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