Intensive HTML5 Gaming on Mobile Isn’t Possible Yet, According to Spaceport
HTML5 is widely touted as a major potential competitor to Flash, and as a huge boon to cross-platform gaming. However, Spaceport.io has done a study, revealed today at the 2nd Annual HTML5 Game Developer Conference, showingthat HTML5 gaming may be a faraway proposition for mobile gaming.
The picture isn’t pretty on iOS. Through their PerfMarks II testing system, iOS rendered HTML5 code six times slower than on a modern Macbook Pro. Yes, even with Apple’s push for HTML5, their browser and hardware still lags behind traditional computers in terms of handling HTML5 games.
It’s even worse on Android. The best Android phone for handling HTML5 was deemed to be the Samsung Galaxy S II, which handled HTML5 ten times worse than the Macbook Pro – the Galaxy Nexus, Google’s flagship phone, was right behind in terms of performance. In general, across the array of various iOS and Android devices, Android on average performed 7X worse in tests compared to iOS, and some devices even ran HTML5 code thousands of times slower!
While Spaceport claims that some low-end games will run fine despite the lowered performance, any kind of performance-oriented gaming should suffer, or just be unplayable. HTML5 through web browsers on mobile appears to be an untenable proposition, in large part thanks to not only the fact that these mobile devices have lesser hardware compared to a traditional computer, but because they are designed to run native code most optimally. Apple may have security concerns about running native code thrugh Mobile Safari as well.
As such, HTML5 may be a pipe dream for the developer looking to build once, run everywhere. Facebook has been maligned for this approach, and considers improving on mobile to be a big part of their future. Word Off suffers from some interface lag issues because of its HTML5 core. And anything more serious than playing a simple puzzle or card game may not be playable through a web browser. While Spaceport claims to have a solution to speed up HTML5 code through their tools to run as native apps, it appears as if HTML5 gaming may still be a pipe dream at this point. It will take massive changes in the way mobile browsers work, along with improvements in hardware, in order for HTML5 to be that “Build once” future.