Web game

A browser game is a computer game that is played over the Internet using a web browser.[1] Browser games can be run using standard web technologies[2] or browser plug-ins. The creation of such games usually involves use of standard web technologies as a frontend and other technologies to provide a backend. Browser games include all video game genres and can be single-player or multiplayer. Browser games are also portable and can be played on multiple different devices, web browsers and operating systems.[3]

Browser games come in many genres and themes that appeal to both regular and casual players.


Browser games are often free-to-play and do not require any client software to be installed apart from a web browser or browser plug-in. In some cases a game may be free, but charge for extra in-game features. Multiplayer browser games have an additional focus on social interaction, either between several players or on a massive scale. Due to the accessibility of browser games, they are often played in more frequent, shorter sessions compared to traditional computer games.[4]

Since browser games run isolated from hardware in a web browser, they can run on many different operating systems without having to be ported to each platform.[5]


Browser games can take advantage of different technologies in order to function.

Web standards

Standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript can be used to make browser games, but these have had limited success because of issues with browser compatibility and quality. These technologies, collectively termed dynamic HTML, allow for games that can be run in all standards-compliant browsers.[6] In addition, dedicated graphics technologies such as SVG and canvas allow for the fast rendering of vector and raster graphics respectively.[2] In addition, WebGL allows for hardware-accelerated 3D support in the browser.[7][8]

Comparison of web technologies[notes 1]
Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari
SVG Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Canvas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
WebGL Yes Yes[9] No (future support with IE 11 [10]) Yes Yes


Browser plug-ins can be used to provide game technologies after being installed by the user.

Comparison of browser plug-ins
Windows Mac OS X Linux License[notes 2] Installed base[notes 3]
Flash Yes Yes Yes Proprietary[11] 96%[12]
Java Yes Yes Yes Open source (free)[13][14] 78%[12]
Shockwave Yes Yes Yes Proprietary[15] 52%[16]
Silverlight Yes Yes Partial (Moonlight - LGPL) Proprietary[17] 62%[12]
Unity Yes Yes Yes Proprietary[18] 1%[19]


Browser games can be a distraction in work environments, causing lost productivity. Critics cite examples such as the occurrence of May 2010, when Google replaced their normal logo with a playable rendition of Pac-Man. A small scale study of 11,000 users concluded that Google's playable logo caused users to spend an extra 36 seconds on Google's homepage, which could be extrapolated to 4.82 million hours over Google's 504 million unique users. Assuming all of this time was lost during time that would have otherwise been spent productively, the game could be considered to have incurred a time cost of $120 million USD in man-hours.[20][21]

See also

Video games portal



External links

  • DMOZ
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