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Are HTML5 games getting more views than PC games?

A topic by David Jalbert created Apr 04, 2019 Views: 610 Replies: 15
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Hi guys and gals! I've been working for a couple years on a first person shooter that I'm planning to release on PC and consoles, but I've also been considering making smaller 2d games on the side, like platformers, short action adventures, maybe even a small rpg. I want to do it just for fun and to take my mind off my main project. However, I've been wondering if people would rather play these smaller games in their browser, that is, with HTML5, or on their computer, using a good old stand alone executable? Basically, is there a side that is clearly more popular when it comes to small 2d games?


In terms of raw numbers, games are downloaded more than they are played in the browser. But, downloadable games are more commonly uploaded by developers.

The issue I generally see with HTML5 versions is that they are poorly done: for example Unity exports that are laggy or have bad controls, etc. A lot of engines make it easier to export to HTML5 but that doesn't automatically mean a good player experience. I think that if you make a game designed for being played in the browser you will have a much higher conversion rate since there is nothing to download.

So.. the short answer: HTML5 games are alive and well, but my recommendation depends on the kind of game your making. I know for any future jam games I want to create, I'm going to try target browser first.

As a side note: the the monetization options we provide for downloadable things is different than web games. Currently, you'll have a chance to make more money with downloadable content because we nag people to pay before downloading. I think once we get our act together though, HTML5 games will have better opportunities to convert paying customers because you'll be able to trigger the UI for donations directly from the game!

Hope that helps.


I'll add my experience with jams, which do mean smaller games (I mean, most of the time). I've got much better results, in votes, views and etc, when I make and HTML5 version of my games. I think that even bigger games could benefit from having something playable on the page, maybe a small demo showing the main mechanics or something.

Thanks for the answers!

I guess it makes sense that in-browser games would get better views. My main gripe is that in most cases, you have to choose between a stand alone build and a web build. Unity has both, but the webgl exports are often super slow and buggy. I might look into Godot, though, I've heard good things about it.


Most (if not all?) of my games that are HTML5 enabled are Godot games and there were very few cases that I had to actually change code and etc to make it work on the browser (compared with GMS that I used before that is a huge improvement) and I'm not even close to even knowing what I'm actually doing... but I can vouch for Godot. hahaha

Does anyone happen to have numbers we could compare? Having 25% more views on an HTML5 game makes less of an impact than, say, 1,000%.

Then again I might just stick to MonoGame. They're apparently working on an HTML5 compiler thing, although it's going to take a while I reckon. I just like being able to code in C#.

this isn't related to your question, but could you let me know when your shooter comes out? (FPS's are my favorite kind of game)


I'll give the same answer as CD Projekt about Cyberpunk 2077; it'll come out when it's ready :P
Seriously though, I have no idea. We'll launch a Kickstarter campaign soon, if that counts for anything.

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Another thing to keep is mind is what kind of metrics you want to keep track of

Downloadable distributions are easy to track: someone needs to click download. takes care of this, which is nice. But it can be a bit.. segmented by it's implementation.  Manually counting windows distribution downloads across several releases can be something you grow tired of super quick lol

Browser games? There's no download, just a page view.  And doesn't automatically ignore scrapers and bots (like sharing on Twitter, Twitter will scrape the page for every-time the tweet "refreshes" while you're authoring it, and then once more for good measure before caching it.) So itch might report 200 views on your browser game.. COOL, till you hook up a real analytics platform to the page like Google Analytics and notice that only 1 actual person hit your page.

The raw APPEAL of a browser game is high: no barrier for entry, just load up and go.  Unfortunately, browser games have a negative reputation so people might be expecting a lesser experience and might be a _lot_ less tolerant of bugs, UX issues, and frame-rate dips. 

The downloaded distribution is great because they can launch it whenever, without first going to itch or other platforms.  But, I've noticed a frightening number of people just straight up not want to bother downloading something out of pure laziness.  Even friends of mine who "want to test it" or "support" you.  

Me: "Hey man what did you think so far?"
Them: "Ehh I had other things to do"
Me: "But you practically begged for it"
Them: "meh" 
^^^ Actual conversation with a friend. They cited the "work" involved in downloading and going through the whole process of extracting the archive or installing, and then finally launching the game.. 

In my personal experience, I've had so many visitors to my various pages over the years, but only the smallest fraction bother to download at all.  Where when a game is embedded in a page, it gets a lot more traffic by sheer virtue of just.. being there. 

The key to a good browser game experience is UX. They're already at your game, make it inviting to get them to click into the window to give it a real shot. Keep the load times low as possible, the ability to get into your game as quick as possible, and get the player into your addictive gameplay hook ASAP before their attention is grabbed by anything else going on on their screen.  When it comes to browser games, "hits" isn't your metric of choice to track, it'll be "Time on Page" in minutes you want :)


Thanks for the post, just a few things:

  • The way we do analytics prevents scrapers from counting as a view. A client with JavaScript running must load the page, typical scrapers don't work like that. Additionally, if we detect a bot user agent, it won't increment view counter.
  • We also provide a way to track plays now from the analytics page.
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HTML5 games are now being used less and less. If you are developing html5 games, you should study the group characteristics of the game users. The popularity of smartphones and app games have made the market for html5 games less and less,,mainly because the gaming experience has been greatly improved and also meet the user's gaming habits.

mod edit: removed the embedded image

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This is far from true, HTML5 games are seeing continued growth as browser environments become more powerful. 

Also, can you please stop including large images with your posts?

But I did find that more and more people around me download app games instead of playing html5 games.  There are currently no professional statistics to support your point.

By the way, thanks for reminding, I will pay attention.

HTML5 and other Web based games are much more convenient to play instead of downloading. When I want to play a quick good game, I look for Web based or HTML5 games.

There's a site called indieexpo that allows RPG Maker games to be played in the browser.  I absolutely hated it.  It was often buggy, glitchy, broken, and made things a mess and a waste of time.

If a dev can't be bothered to test their game, they cannot expect their players to pay attention to it.

I don't believe so, most HTML 5 games are basic and boring.

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