Things to know about HTML 5

First glance, HTML5

seems to offer some huge advantages for online and mobile game developers. As a purely web-based platform, game makers can create their game in HTML5, and release it on any number of supported devices, from phones to PCs and beyond. But is it really as easy as it sounds?

The platform doesn’t have a final specification yet, so its capabilities are very much in flux. It’s shown clear signs of promise, and major developers like Zynga have already begun supporting it for their mobile releases, but companies such as on engine provider Unity claim HTML5 “isn’t where it should be in terms of performance.”

With no clear consensus on where the platform is headed, we’ve decided to talk to some of the developers most involved with HTML5 to get their perspective, diving into the platform’s greatest strengths, it shortcomings, and where it might be headed in the future.

The following is a list of the most important things to know about the current state of HTML5:

1. It’s Designed To Work Cross-Platform

HTML5’s primary advantage is that it works across a wide range of devices, from PC browsers to mobile phones, tablets, and even Smart TVs. As long as a device uses a browser equipped to run HTML5, it can theoretically serve as a viable platform for HTML5 games.

This offers a huge advantage over native apps, which often have to be completely redesigned for their target operating system. If a developer wants to bring his or her iOS title to Android, for instance, they’ll have to make some fundamental changes to their game. With HTML5, that process should be a bit easier.

“We’ve supported the drive to HTML5 for over a year now, and we see great value in the ability to outfit browser-based games for any device. This is becoming more and more important as gamers play more often and on multiple devices,” said Peter Driessen, CEO of major web game publisher Spil Games.

hmtl5 mobile“We think there are a few reasons to go with HTML5,” said Zynga Germany’s Paul Bakaus, who helps build tech for the company’s numerous web and mobile games.

“One benefit is the ability to distribute it easily on mobile web browsers. You don’t have to install it, for instance — that’s one significant advantage. There’s also the thing with content updating and cross-platform development. If you’re building a native app, it’s likely that you have to build your app twice on Android and iOS, and on desktop maybe, too. On HTML5, you build your app once, and you can port it to multiple different devices,” he said.

In addition to allowing developers to more easily put their games on multiple platforms, HTML5 also allows for easy cross-platform communication, allowing for a host of cloud-based features, ranging from social systems to persistent game worlds.

“What we’re ultimately looking to accomplish through HTML5 is true cloud gaming. We support a large online community and it’s been obvious that our players, much like gamers everywhere, are increasingly looking to play games on their mobile phones. HTML5 sets the foundation for us to create a seamless experience, which includes social functions, on browsers both on the go and at home,” explained Spil’s Driessen.

2. HTML5 Offers Unpredictable Performance

While HTML5 might be designed to run on a wide range of devices, there’s still no reliable way to maintain performance across varying hardware specifications.

EA creative director Richard Hilleman recently shared his frustrations with the platform at the San Francisco-based New Game Conference, noting that his team’s experimental 3D animations ran great on a MacBook Air, but chugged on more powerful hardware.

“On my own computer, which runs on an i7, I couldn’t get more than a few frames per second [from our demo],” Hilleman said. He explained that “high performance JavaScript is obtuse at best,” so it’s hard to predict how an app will run on a given hardware specification.

“I don’t know how to explain that to a customer. That’s a big, big problem,” he added.

Mobile-focused HTML5 developers are particularly susceptible to these problems, as their games need to run on a wide array of smartphones and other mobile devices.

Stewart Putney, an experienced HTML5 developer and former CEO of the recently shuttered Moblyng, told Gamasutra that his company would test its games on literally dozens of devices. “For iOS it is simple: 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad, iPad2. Android is much more fragmented; each handset manufacturer tends to make small — mostly undocumented — changes to the browser on their devices. For native Android apps, this is no big deal. For HTML5 apps, it can mean apps simply don’t work,” he said.

“To get good quality, our apps must be tested on a range of popular devices — it is the only way to be sure apps are working properly. I believe we will see more testing tools and better standards moving forward — but Android QA is a real pain point for HTML5 development,” he continued.

Why the “Power of Branding” Is a Myth

Taken fron / Written By Geoffrey James

Brand is important. No question of that. A strong brand can make it enormously easier to sell. However, the notion that “branding” can create a great brand is a myth. Worse, it’s a myth that can cost you a lot of money, without getting much in return.

By “branding”, I mean the panoply of marketing activities like brand-focused advertising, packaging, marketing materials, logos, taglines, and so forth. In almost every case, money spent on these activities is money wasted.

I fully realize that this viewpoint flies in the face of what you heard in business school. Nevertheless, it’s the truth and to understand why, you need to understand what “brand” really is.

Bottomline: Your brand is the emotion that a customer feels when thinking about your product.

That’s it. Neither more nor less. And that’s why “branding” is so impotent.

While it is true that branding can associate an emotion with a product, especially when pointed at highly impressionable buyers (e.g. young men who watch beer ads), in the vast realm of B2B sales and even in most consumer markets, there is one, and only one, thing that creates customer emotion: the customer’s experience with your product.

Once customers start thinking your product is garbage, there’s no amount of “branding” that can change the perception. In fact, attempting to use “branding” to fix a product problem always backfires. All it does is call attention to the difference between the brand message and what the customer knows is true.

By contrast, if customers love your product, then the brand will reflect that love. Of course, you can use the some of the tools of “branding” to help spread the word, but the keystone is always the customer’s experience.


I know what you’re thinking. What about Coke? What about Sony? They spend money on branding, so branding must be worth it, right? Well, not necessarily. In every case where there’s an instantly-recognizable brand, there’s a history (in Coke’s case more than a hundred years of history) of the company providing a consistently excellent product.

In any case, it’s a very weird notion that your company should be imitating the market spend habits of a company like Coke… unless, of course, your company also has an instantly-recognizable brand built up over decades.

The average SMB has almost nothing in common with Coke, or with Sony or Apple for that matter. Most SMBs sell B2B, which means appealing to a sophisticated buyer, who is very aware of the consequences of each purchase. That a B2B buyer might be swayed by a glossy brochure or a Coke-like logo, is frankly absurd. None of that fancy branding junk has any influence on a B2B buyer.

Same thing is true in many consumer markets. Apple, for instance, is a great brand not because or their logo or their commercials but because people feel good when they use Apple products. So good, in fact, that the Apple faithful are willing to overlook the occasional stinker.

Now, just in case you’re thinking that I’m just a sales guy who’s ragging on marketing, let be it known that I spent 6 years in a marketing group for a multi-billion dollar corporation where I was responsible for branding an entire line of software products. In fact, I won two awards. I still have the plaques.

It wasn’t until I got out of that job that I realized that our marketing group had wasted, over that six year period, well over $100 million on various kind of branding. This included (although I was not personally involved in this particular debacle) a multi-million dollar re-branding campaign that (wait for it…) changed the logo from blue to purple.

Don’t get me wrong. Marketing is important, essential in fact, but only as long as it is focused on 1) generating leads and 2) making it easier to sell.

And brand is important. Unbelievably important. But the “power of branding” to create that brand? Sorry, folks, ’tis but a myth.

The six most transformative in online marketing.

Taken from
Written by Anthony Ha.

A vast array of technologies and trends are transforming online marketing. Because it’s hard to wade through the changes, we’ve whittled them down to six that are significant.

The death of the click through—maybe for real this time. Advertisers and publishers have been predicting—and hoping for—the death of the click-through rate for years, complaining it’s a highly inefficient way to measure an ad’s success, especially for brand advertising. Click throughs aren’t dead yet, but efforts like startup Moat’s “Kill the Click” campaign, which focuses on time spent mousing over an ad rather than clicking, should help dig its grave.

The merging of mobile and desktop. The dividing line between mobile devices (especially tablets) and desktop/laptop computers seems to be blurring. Apple, for example, has been incorporating features from its smartphones into its desktop operating system, and Jefferies & Co. predicted recently that Apple’s two systems—OSX and iOS—will merge completely. Meanwhile, ad servers like Google’s DoubleClick are trying to integrate their desktop and mobile offerings.

The persistence of supercookies. Researchers have found that major websites—specifically Hulu and—have been following visitors with a file called a “supercookie,” which continues its tracking even after users delete it in their Web browsers. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t go over well with consumers. When called out, Microsoft and Hulu apologized and claimed to stop the practice. Don’t look for them to disappear completely, though—supercookies are legal.

The beginnings of ad-tech consolidation. Earlier this year, Andrew Bloom, vice president of business development at MediaMind, said, “The notion of consolidation is a wet dream for people in the industry.” And the dream may have started, sparked in part by Google’s acquisition in June of AdMeld. The latest deal came in September, when ContextWeb and Datran Media merged to create PulsePoint, which promises an easier way to create cross-channel campaigns.

The rise of HTML5. Once a dominant format on the Web, Adobe’s Flash has struggled to stay relevant, especially after Apple declined to support the format on the iPhone and iPad. Publishers and advertisers have shifted their attention to the newer, more mobile-compatible technology, HTML5. Even Adobe, which continues to defend Flash’s usefulness for games and other applications, has announced a separate product to help designers build ads in HTML5.

The value of specialized content. According to ad intelligence company SQAD, the CPMs paid for display ads held relatively steady over the past year, but things get more complicated when you compare different categories. Entertainment and finance sites saw their average CPMs increase by 50 cents or more, while automotive, lifestyle, and home/fashion sites went down by at least the same margin. SQAD’s conclusion? Specialized content still makes money.