5 Reasons To Make Web Games In 2024
First of all, we should begin by stating the obvious. Not all games are meant for the web. Although, I dare to say that the majority of mobile games, especially those in the “casual” category, could all be played on a web browser.
What’s even more, the advancements in WebGL, WebAssembly, WebXR, and the imminent proliferation of WebGPU allow us to create stunning and smooth 3D experiences for the web platform.
It’s also important to note that, when talking about games for the web platform, we’re not talking about games that can be played exclusively on a browser, but more on that later.
Let me take you through my top 5 reasons why you should be making web games in 2024.
1. Cross-Platform By Design
From your laptop to your phone, and even your VR headset, chances are, almost all of your devices will have a web browser. It doesn’t get more cross-platform than that. The accessibility of the web platform is unparalleled, and you should be taking advantage of it.
It’s also versatile enough that, even if you decide to publish on Google Play or the App Store, it’s fairly easy to wrap your game in a native container. Here’s a fantastic service called html2app by Yannick that makes it even easier.
Truth is, app stores are pretty saturated, and unless you’re a well-established brand, you’re more likely to find your player base through social media by building a community of your own—basically, creating your own discoverability, which totally defeats the purpose.
If all of that weren’t enough, think about the deliverability factor. Imagine finding a breaking bug and having to patch your game, only to find out you have to wait for app store approval for who knows how long? Compare that with deploying a static website.
In the case of Rogue Engine, you can even publish your games to Rogue Play in just a few clicks, and there’s no 30% fee. Let that sink in for a minute.
2. Instant Play And Engagement
Along with the blessings of accessibility, we also get the magic of instant fun. No installation barriers, nothing. Just click and play. Think of it, web games are used a lot as playable ads.
Now what if the ad was the game? Why even bother going through multiple secondary steps?
You may think, well, an actual game is a lot heavier. It’ll take more time and resources to load than a mere ad, right? That’s not necessarily true.
For instance, Rogue Engine games are asynchronous by default. Your scenes are downloaded on request, and so are each of their assets. There’s also the Asset Manager to give you fine-grained control over what you wish to preload and keep loaded.
You can get your players in the game immediately and load the rest of it on demand. You’re effectively streaming the game.
As mentioned earlier, your players are probably on Discord, X, Mastodon, or whatever social media platform is trending five minutes after I publish this. That’s where they’re more likely to find you and your games. Regardless of the device they’re using, they can simply click on a link and start playing immediately.
I’m designing Rogue Play with this in mind – envisioning it less like a traditional Game Store and more like a cutting-edge streaming platform.
While I acknowledge it’s a work in progress, the invaluable feedback from early adopters is shaping it – not into what I envision, but into what it needs to become.
3. Lower development costs and barriers
A small studio or startup will use whatever resources they have at their disposal, but the moment they need to hire or find a technical co-founder, it’ll become extremely evident.
Any competent web developer can start making web games fairly easily nowadays. There’s the vanilla option, going with purely programming libraries like Babylon.js or Three.js, the most popular one by far. There’s the frontend framework option, like React three fiber for all the React fans out there. And finally, my personal favourite, you can go with a complete Game Creation Platform like Rogue Engine.
Rogue Engine stands out with its use of a component-based system, similar to Unity, with three.js as an open-core. This means that you’ll be writing pure three.js on top of a simple and intuitive component framework.
This significantly reduces the adoption risk, allowing you to take most of your code with you if, for any reason, you decide to go vanilla.
Moreover, component-based systems, when paired with an intuitive editor and Prefabs, are excellent for the reusability of assets and code. This becomes especially important when working on multiple prototypes or collaborating with others.
4. More Control Over Revenue
This one’s easy and obvious. It’s no secret how much app stores take from you.
Despite the logistical hassles, you also find yourself having to pay a vampiric chunk of your revenue, as if the tax man wasn’t taking enough already.
On the other hand, there are so many ways to monetize a web app. In-app purchases and ads are things the web platform excels at. But think outside the app — it’s a website.
With all of this in mind, I believe it’s key to shift our perspective: let’s stop thinking of games merely as apps and start viewing them as integral components of the web experience.
5. Unleashing The Power Of The Web
The web is an incredible tool of communication. Growing up in Uruguay, my family didn’t have a landline until 1998. To me, the internet and its capabilities were pure magic.
When I finally got continuous access to it in 2006, I was able to get proficient in English by talking to people in different countries. A big part of that was playing MMOs, which played a crucial role in my path to learning how to code.
Seeing our characters on the same screen despite being so far away from each other is facilitated through web technologies that, guess what? Web browsers excel at. They are meant for communication, either instant or asynchronous — we can always be connected through them.
The power of bringing people together to play a game on their browser, on any device, anywhere in the world, is immense.
Once again, the sky is the limit. There’s ample space for experimentation and innovation, especially when leveraging web-native solutions. As mentioned earlier, consider the example of Rogue Engine’s Asset Manager streaming your game assets on demand. Hydrating your game like a regular SPA.
We can harness that power with the tools we’ve had at our disposal all this time. We’re in a much better place, stack-wise, than we ever were in the golden days of our dear, and never-forgotten, Flash.
The technology is readily available — there are no excuses now. It’s time to get ahead of the curve and start building the future of the web experience.
I know I’m biased, as I’m working hard on making Rogue Engine the perfect tool for this, but regardless of the path you take, there’s no denying the potential of the web as a gaming platform.
We’ve had a glimpse of it before. Let’s make it happen now.
As you embark on this journey, remember that Rogue Engine stands ready to be your companion in crafting the future of the web.