By moving the popular MMO from Java to HTML5, Jagex opens the game up to better tech and new platforms.
Earlier this summer, the browser-based game Runescape boasted about having the largest registered player base of any MMO. Yet for developer Jagex, it seems the browser is not enough. CEO Mark Gerhard announced that his company is working to convert the game into HTML5, allowing it to be played on other platforms, such as phones and tablets.
While the Java codebase allowed Runescape to run in browsers and gain a foothold when it launched a decade ago, time has marched on. Today’s world of smart phones and tablets don’t run Java well, if they run it at all. This has been a recent hindrance for the game, which initially made its trade off its accessibly compared to other games which required large downloads or a boxed copy.
A dedicated squad is in charge not just the transition, but looking ahead as well. The “Future Tech” team is looking at new platforms to insure that the MMO doesn’t get stuck in a shallow pond again. Gerhard mentions that they are specifically looking at “your favourite tablets, platforms and even smart TVs in due course.”
HTLM5 would allow Runescape to receive a badly needed face-lift by improving draw distance and general graphical fidelity. Although the update is still a ways off, Jagex has released a screenshot of some of the updates the new tech could bring.