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Mozilla and Epic team up to bring Unreal Engine 3 to the web

At the Game Developers Conference 2013 in San Francisco, Mozilla and Epic Games have announced that they have teamed up to bring Unreal Engine 3 to the web.  It’s great news for the web as a whole, but especially for Firefox users and those who purchase smartphones running Firefox OS later this year. Why? Because of the recently-integrated asm.js.

When Mozilla unleashed OdinMonkey, it finally offered a response to Google Chrome’s Native Client. Asm.js promises to speed up Emscripten-ported JavaScript apps and games to the point where they perform nearly as well as their native-code counterparts. When you add asm.js in with things like WebGL support, improved memory management, and hardware acceleration, Mozilla has positioned Firefox perfectly as the browser of choice for next-generation, plug-in free gaming on the web.

With Firefox OS and the Firefox Marketplace launching later this year, this is a significant win for Mozilla. No, the porting of Unreal Engine 3 doesn’t mean that Mass Effect 3 is going to find its way onto sub-$100 Firefox phones, but it does mean that mobile hits like Infinity Blade and Dungeon Defenders will. It should also mean that we’ll see more developers offering up browser-friendly versions of their mobile hits — particularly if the porting process is relatively painless and offers an additional revenue stream.

Prior to the launch of Windows 8, doing so might not have made much sense. But half a year on, the PC market is now rich with touchscreen devices. Now that there’s a top-notch game engine that runs under asm.js and a web browser that’s optimized to do the heavy lifting, Android and iOS-style games are a much better fit for the modern web.

Now read: Full-body, real-time motion tracking achieved using 17 sensors, Unreal Engine



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