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Harrison Sees Open, Browser-Based Future For Gaming

Former Sony and Atari executive Phil Harrison says gaming's future will be dominated by high-quality games delivered through web browsers and open platforms, rather than dedicated game consoles.
Former Sony and Atari executive Phil Harrison says gaming's future will be dominated by high-quality games delivered through web browsers and open platforms, rather than dedicated game consoles. Speaking at the Italian Videogame Developers Conference in Rome, the London Venture Partners founder said he thinks we'll see games the quality of Modern Warfare 2 running in web browsers and other non-traditional platforms in the near future. "I think in the next five-to-ten years we will easily get this level of game inside a web browser, on your mobile platform, on your iPad, and we will be able to deliver that level of immersion to any kind of screen," Harrison said, as reported by Develop. Noting that over 68 percent of venture capital in the industry is currently going towards online games, Harrison pointed out that countries like Korea -- where the retail game business is practically nonexistent -- represent the future of the worldwide game industry. The companies that succeed in that industry of the future, he said, will be the ones that can "satisfy the needs of the core gamer" on an open, browser-based platform like Facebook, rather than closed platforms like the iPhone and major consoles. "The console companies, I believe, will want to figure out how to become more open and to deliver more content without restriction to more people, to stimulate creativity," he said. “I think we have probably seen the last of the traditional game console companies already in the market. I don’t think we’re going to see a new entrant who is going to be able to compete at the level that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have established," he added. The last few years have seen a proliferation of game engines designed to work within web browsers, including de facto web standard Flash but also engines like Unity 3D, Microsoft's Silverlight and Monumental's Prime MMO engine. However, not all businesses in this are are guaranteed to succeed - browser-based gaming company InstantAction announced it was shutting down earlier this month after failing to gain traction with its web-page-embeddable selection of classic games and original titles.

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