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Humble Bundle branches out to a new game platform: your browser

Humble Bundle branches out to a new game platform: your browser

October 14, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

The folks at Humble Bundle have worked with developers to drop their latest game bundle on a new platform: your browser.

The organization has partnered with software firm Mozilla to launch the Humble Mozilla Bundle, a pack of eight indie games that have been reworked by either Humble or the developers themselves to be playable in modern Internet browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla's own Firefox.

While this is new territory for Humble, it's an established strategy for Mozilla -- the company has made a concerted effort in recent years to develop and promote web technology that permits modern game engines like Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5 to run in a browser.

These games are fully playable in the browser as games; they've been optimized to start with a very small computational footprint, then stream in additional assets as needed from the Humble Bundle servers. Those servers will also host game save data, which means Humble now replicates some of the features of a web game portal or game streaming service.

However, the company is quick to distance itself from that comparison. "This isn't a 'pivot' or 'transition' for us," a Humble Bundle representative told Gamasutra. Rather, the company is pitching this initiative as an expansion of its suite of supported platforms that will render select games accessible to anyone with a browser.

"We see this as a new platform that we are planning on putting our weight behind," said the Humble Bundle representative. ""This is our first experiment in this, of course, but we definitely hope to expand this initiative in the future because we believe that the Web is a superior channel for people to discover and play great games."

Humble isn't the only game company pushing browsers as valuable territory for game makers, either; Unity Technologies made a point of showcasing the direct-to-web publishing toolset that debuted in Unity 5 earlier this year, which permits Unity games to run on the web without a browser plugin.

All of the games in this latest Humble bundle have been ported to run in a browser using asm.js, a subset of the Java programming language. Humble ported some of the games in this inaugural pack, like Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon and FTL from Subset Games, in-house; others, including Lexaloffle Games' Voxatron, were ported by the developers themselves.

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