Goko will bring Reiner Knizia and Rio Grande Games to the digital marketplace.
It's not often you see someone trying to claim that HTML5 is the perfect platform for digitally distributed games. Its chief advantage is that it can go anywhere, but it has been criticised as limited and lacking the technology needed to really help developers create great games. This was why German mobile game company Woonga, for one, dropped HTML5 earlier this year; at the time its founder, Philip Moesner, said HTML5 "has the potential to be a complete game changer, but the technology is not there yet." However startup Goko has gone HTML5 for its new digital distribution platform, and put out a trailer telling developers why they should go to Goko to make and distribute their games.
Goko CEO Ted Griggs is aware of HTML5's limitations. "If you're looking at HTML5 to do 3D WebGL-enabled games on every platform, then you're going to be very disappointed," he said. That's why Goko is focusing on card games in its initial releases; they fit the HTML5 format much more comfortably. It certainly helps that they have Rio Grande Games and Reiner Knizia on board, both of which are very well regarded card game makers. Goko's open beta for Dominion, played on iPad, has been mistaken for a native Apple app, Griggs claims.
Griggs wants to give smaller developers a leg-up in the dog-eat-dog world of social gaming. "The idea is that we want to give the tools to the independent, smaller developers so they can actually build the kinds of games that the bigger developers make," he said. The sort of tools that Zynga and EA have at their disposal are things smaller developers can only dream of, but with Goko on their side the smaller independents can pull off pretty much the same thing, allowing developers to satisfy customers rather than the needs of the platform. Or as Goko's website has it, "what would happen if we made it possible for developers to make games for people, not platforms?"
So far Goko has three games on its site, with more planned for release soon.