According to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the Unreal engine now has the potential to be run in web browsers due the latest update for Adobe Flash Player. The update, Flash 11, brings with it direct hardware acceleration to the browser or any other application running Flash 11.
Despite this, Microsoft has said it will not allow Flash to work in the new Metro IE10, which is currently in development for Windows 8.
This indicates that Flash is being pushed out in favor of HTML 5 for the Metro IE10. This decision to use HTML 5 has obviously put pressure on Adobe to prove why Flash is still relevant for the future of any OS, Metro especially.
The potential to bring higher quality games is at the forefront of the presentation, bringing a new era of streaming games to Facebook or other social portals that focus on the browser for their games. Epics Tim Sweeney had this to say:
games [sic] built for high-end consoles can now run on the Web or as Facebook apps, reaching an enormous user base. This totally changes the playing field for game developers who want to widely deploy and monetise their games. We could be in for mega-graphicked PC games that step away from traditional installing altogether, if the games are designed smartly enough.
Here is a video demo provided by Epic showing the new Flash 11 features at work.
Analysis: This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about streaming games via the Internet. Just look up OnLive and you will see what I mean. This is, however, the first time I’ve seen it come to an established product that could be offered by companies directly without having to run it through a third party distributor. The whole process hinges on being able to run your current system specifications, and that can be tricky.
The games couldn’t be run full screen to give max visual fidelity if you’re only running an on-board video card. Thus, developers will have to keep the screen small or it will create a demand for more powerful video cards if that were to happen. What makes Facebook games so accessible is that they can be played on almost any computer, laptop, or even mobile devices with no limits to hinder anyone. This is where web game developers have had an easy time. Now it’ll cause a great increase in development time and obviously cost to support the streams.
I also see a problem with this in the form of your browser. That’s right, yours. How many plugins do you run? How many of them are ones you went out and installed yourself? The point I’m making is that, since this will be dependent on the browser, what performance issues will we now have to face because the game is bogged down due to the browser and all the features people may have willingly installed?
That said, this is a great idea over all. The next great challenge will be to develop social games that could use this tech without shutting certain people out because of hardware or browser features. In the long run, cost is going to be the default reason to either not support this or charge customers to use it, the latter of which will change social gaming forever.