What does Google’s new OS mean for games?

 Posted by (Visited 10834 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Jul 072009

Great question. The blog post announcing it says it’s for netbooks, really, and that the development platform “is the Web”:

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

— Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS.

Except that we’re still quite a ways from games of the Web meaning something other than Flash. The kernel is Linux, which could mean that AAA games that run on Linux (all three of them) could show up. Maybe. But I wouldn’t bank on it anytime soon.

Will Flash show up on here? Hard to imagine a Web-centric Netbook or tablet that doesn’t need it, if only for YouTube videos. So perhaps Flash will simply extend its crossplatform dominance one step further.

Who knows is this OS will gain adoption; one thing for sure, though, people will play games on it if it is possible. And the more possible it is, the more adoption it will see.

  18 Responses to “What does Google’s new OS mean for games?”

  1. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies.

    If they’re serious about that, then that includes making sure Flash works, given its ubiquity on PCs and Macs as a web technology. If not, then aside from html and php-server-side apps and the smattering of Linux-capable games out there, I’m not sure what the point is.

    If Flash does automatically work on their new OS… well, this could be big.

    I’ll wait to see. But I wouldn’t bet against Google.

  2. Flash works on all the other big Linux distros already anyway, no problem. Why wouldn’t it work on this?

  3. And yet, I’ve got a list a mile long of web pages and applications that won’t run properly in Chrome… they should fix that before launching an OS with the Chrome browser at its center.

  4. There are a host of enterprise users whose primary development environment is already the web, and who would dearly love a more secure OS on which you CAN’T play games. As long as they have an office suite with backward compatibility, the Chrome OS may be the “Linux for Dummies” that they’ve always dreamed of.

    And if they capture a big enough market segment, I have no doubt that there’ll be some “don’t call it an emulator” emulators to run PC games, more or less.

  5. There are a host of enterprise users whose primary development environment is already the web, and who would dearly love a more secure OS on which you CAN’T play games.

    And even without Flash, there’s still a possibility to waste time on some javascript only game 😉 I should start advertising it as one of the few graphic MMO you can play if your boss is blocking Flash on your machine. 🙂

    Well, ok, no big AAA graphics there but with the development done on things like canvas and HTML 5, maybe we’ll see more of it in the future that gets closer to what players are used to.

  6. Or they could port their O3D and we make games in javascript with AAA graphics.

  7. Vinicius that’s an interesting notion, that they could preinstall the plugin to try to drive adoption. But unless they push it in Chrome-the-browser as well, I am not sure it moves the needle much.

  8. What I have yet to hear is the value proposition of the Google OS. It’s an OS that runs Chrome. Chrome is not very different from Firefox or Internet Explorer for that matter. What does the OS + Chrome buy you that you can’t get from Windows XP or Windows 7 on the same machine? It has to buy you more than simply the feature list because you get an entire library of Windows software for the XP/Win7 install in addition to stable drivers for all the peripherals you’ll use your netbook with.

    I can’t see this taking off in any real sense unless some value proposition is achieved. That value proposition isn’t at all clear right now meaning this is nothing more than an interesting story from Google. Their success depends upon the Value Proposition versus the software you have to give up and the driver support for all the peripherals you’ll use with a netbook. I’m not convinced at all it will succeed.

  9. Also, Google’s new Virtual World is going to be the next big thing. Oh, wait. It’s dead already you say?

  10. It’s very ambitious of Google to launch a OS. They obviously think the web is the future – maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but it’s certainly a big gamble for them. Android wasn’t the smash hit they hoped for so this may never amount to anything but if anyone can push through a new OS though, it’s Google.

  11. Speaking as an avid Netbook user: Games are a non-issue. I can’t run games on my Netbook if I wanted to even using Windows. It just doesn’t have the power required to do such a thing. The best I can manage is Minesweeper.

    What I actually want from my Netbook is Web access, email, instant messaging, skype and OpenOffice.

    Windows 7 is too bloaty and uses too much memory and CPU on my Netbook (it is lovely on my Desktop PC though) and the Linux distros are generally more complicated than I actually want.

    Complaining that an OS designed for hardware that can’t run any games made in the last decade can’t run any games made in the last decade is fairly nitpicky.

  12. If Google IO showed us anything, it’s that Google is setting their minds on browser native implementations, as opposed to plug-ins. While Flash is greatly considered a requirement these days, it would not completely surprise me to see Google push for highly efficient HTML5/Gears support over Flash.

    However, JS will never completely do for me without the ability to provide some code obfuscation to preserve IP. Although it’s useless even speaking of, considering my two year old niece could decompile an swf.

  13. You could serve up compiled JavaScript. I’ve never tried it myself — never wrote any JS code I considered unique enough to be worth protecting, nor a host that would support it. But the option exists.

  14. Netbooks have hardware at least as capable as most smartphones and in most cases, a lot more; and smartphones run plenty of modern games — just ones designed for the platform. And it may be that the same needs to be true of netbooks: games FOR netbooks.

  15. I think one thing that will make a big difference in games on an OS like this will be if tool makers like Adobe or Google create some kind of easy to use game engine for HTML5 making use of the strengths of the web and things like SVG and Canvas. Almost like a Dreamweaver meets RPGMaker. …

  16. YouTube is all set to roll out for <video&rt; for Chrome OS, no Flash required: http://www.youtube.com/html5

    The issue with no baseline codec for HTML 5 doesn’t prevent them from just using H.264 as they’ve licensed it.

    I’m fairly certain that Google has no interest in Flash on their OS.

  17. Why are you all against Google OS. I think that is a good idea. Something new, plus they said it is going to be OpenSource.

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