A browser game is a computer game that is played over the Internet using a web browser.[1] Browser games can be created and run using standard web technologies[2] or browser plug-ins. 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 or web browsers.[3]

Browser games come in many genres and themes that appeal to both core players and casual players. For example, Zynga's Farmville is a popular Facebook farming browser game that uses the Facebook interface for easy point-and-click interaction with game mechanics that are easy to understand for all players. Games like Farmville are also social, and social hooks are provided to interact with other users on Facebook, as well as report achievements to one's Facebook Wall. Other titles like Evony and Aeria's Caesary and Lords Online are relatively complex and deal with many factors associated with RTS games and may require more involvement and time commitment from players. These kinds of games also include a competitive player-versus-player or pvp element and social network building in the form of leagues, guilds, etc.


Browser games are often free-to-play and do not require client software to be installed apart from a web browser. Multiplayer browser games have an additional focus on social interaction, often 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.


Standard web technologies such as the Document Object Model, CSS, and JavaScript can be used to make browser games. 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 the Canvas API allow for the fast rendering of vector and raster graphics respectively.[2]

Future technologies such as WebGL will also allow for accelerated 3D support in the browser without the use of a plug-in.[7][8] There's also a possibility to use no additional plugins and no future technologies to implement 3D software using just javascript and existing box model rendering engines (with limited functionality).

Comparison of web technologies
Developer License Cross-platform Graphics Website
SVG W3C Free Yes 2D vector
Canvas WHATWG Free Yes 2D raster
WebGL Khronos Group Free Yes 3D

Browser plug-in

Browser plug-ins provide additional capabilities to web browsers[9] and can provide support for features that are not yet provided by standard web technologies.[10] For example, plug-ins provide accelerated 3D computer graphics using O3D[11] or physics and audio processing using Unity.[12]

Comparison of browser plug-ins
Developer License Windows Mac OS X Linux Graphics Installed base Website
Flash Adobe Systems Non-free Yes Yes Yes 3D 96%[13]
Java Sun Microsystems Non-free[citation needed] Yes Yes Yes 3D 81%[13]
Shockwave Adobe Systems Non-free Yes Yes No 3D 52%[14]
Silverlight Microsoft Non-free Yes Yes Partial 2D 39%[13]
Unity Unity Technologies ? Yes Yes No 3D Over 30 Million[15]
WebVision Trinigy Non-free Yes No No 3D


Server-side scripting languages such as PHP, Perl or Python can be used to create browser games.[16]

See also


  1. D Schultheiss: Long-term motivations to play MMOGs: A longitudinal study on motivations, experience and behavior, page 344. DiGRA, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Graphics - W3C". 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  3. "The PBBG Project". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  4. C Klimmt: Exploring the Enjoyment of Playing Browser Games, page 231. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2009.
  5. E Adams: Fundamentals of Game Design, page 80. New Riders, 2009.
  6. By Stephen DownesAugust 17, 1999 11:01 p.m. "Fun and Games With DHTML ~ Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  7. Anthony, Sebastian (2009-12-11). "3D browser apps and games creep ever closer with the WebGL draft standard". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  8. "Google Web Toolkit Blog: Look ma, no plugin!". 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  9. "WWW FAQs: What are browser plug-ins?". 2004-03-25. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  10. Paul, Ryan (2009-08-06). "New WebGL standard aims for 3D Web without browser plugins". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  11. Shankland, Stephen (2009-04-21). "Google tries jump-starting 3D Web with O3D | Webware - CNET". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  12. Bright, Peter (2010-04-09). "Apple takes aim at Adobe... or Android?". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Web Browser Plugin Market Share / Global Usage". Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  14. "Shockwave Player Adoption Statistics". Adobe. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  15. "Unity Fast Facts". Unity Technologies. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  16. A Mulholland: Programming Multiplayer Games, page 57. Wordware Publishing, Inc., 2004.

External links

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cs:Webová hra da:Browserspileo:Interreta ludoko:웹게임 it:Videogioco per browser nl:Browserspelno:Nettleserbasert onlinespill pl:Gra przeglądarkowaru:Браузерная игра simple:Browser game sk:Na prehliadači založená hra vi:Webgame zh:网页游戏

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