A recent update to the Xbox 360 dashboard made Internet Explorer available as a free download. This is exciting news for an HTML5 game company like us, as it means that our games are now playable on Xbox 360 consoles.
In an interview with ImpactJS creator Dominic Szablewski, we talked about some of the developer frustrations revolving around Microsoft and HTML5. Dominic has his game Biolab Disaster running natively on an Xbox 360, but at a completely unplayable 3 frames per second. It’s so close to working but there’s no apparent interest from Microsoft to seal the deal, despite their repeated pushes into the HTML5 game space.
Microsoft has financed or otherwise produced a handful of HTML5 game projects in the past few years, including Pirates Love Daisies, Agent 008 Ball, Cut the Rope, and most recently the apparent game platform Atari Arcade.
These projects are beneficial to the HTML5 game development scene and we’re glad Microsoft has sponsored them, but it does contrast the decidedly lackluster support for HTML5 on its Xbox 360 consoles.
The release of Internet Explorer on Xbox 360 is a step in the right direction. Hopefully someday you’ll see our HTML5 games running natively via XBIG, but in the meantime, why not fire up Internet Explorer?
First, download Internet Explorer onto your console. Then, open Internet Explorer and navigate it to arcade.lostdecadegames.com. Once there, it should look like this:
First, I recommend a quick game of Onslaught! Defense. I played a game and happily got my highest score ever! Fair warning, there is some awkwardness with the controls: you’ll need to move Internet Explorer’s cursor to the directional slider at the bottom of the screen. Hold down the A button and you should be able to control the character.
Onslaught! Defense isn’t a terribly deep game, so next up how about some Lunch Bug? It feels best with a touch or click interface, but Internet Explorer’s cursor is good enough. Of course, like in many other browsers, the sound playback is buggy and unreliable, but the game runs pretty smoothly and the graphics look great on a big TV.
I think you’ll agree that the games show a lot of potential, but there are plenty of issues that would be largely solved by a native wrapper. For example, the audio in Lunch Bug is pretty bad in desktop and mobile browsers, but sounds great in the native Android version.
So this is really exciting and awesome, but our question is: will we get native HTML5 games on Xbox 360, or will we have to wait for the next generation of consoles? If someone at Microsoft happens to read this, please do get in touch.