News Article

Web Developer Puts HTML5 Games to the Test on Wii U Browser

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It works, sort of

Prior to Wii U's launch we posted the news that the Wii U web browser posted impressive benchmark results when running resources such as audio and video, its score putting it above Internet Explorer 10. Those were pleasing results, though Matt Hackett, co-founder of HTML5 game developer Lost Decade Games, put the browser to work with a greater focus on web gaming,

On the positive side, Hackett discovered that the browser can play games and maps the arrow keys of a keyboard very conveniently to the GamePad's d-pad, yet the list of negatives was fairly substantial.

Using the online HTML5 Test tool (as well as a few of my own scripts), I compiled the capabilities of the Wii U browser. Here are some of those results:

  • No Audio support
  • No Web Audio API
  • No WebGL, WebSockets, or File API
  • No AppCache, some security
  • No WebWorkers
  • Framerate is very low (~10 FPS for tested games)

An Audio object exists but it doesn’t support any standard audio formats (such as mp3, ogg, or even wav). Sadly there’s no WebGL support at all. Though the localStorage object exists and will accept commands to get and set data, the local storage data is wiped when the browser is closed, breaking its functionality completely.

The lack of any storage space for the browser rules out the practicality of any HTML5 games with monetised incentives and items, while free games will often run, but without audio and game saves while suffering from a low frame rate. Hackett did, however, map various functions to their relevant GamePad inputs.

A: mouse click or enter/return key equivalent (USABLE!)
B: history.back()
Y: open bookmarks
X: toggle TV visibility
d-pad: arrow keys (USABLE!)
Left stick: pan
Right stick: zoom
-: zoom out
+: zoom in
L/R: history.back/forward
LZ/RZ: previous/next tab

While HTML5 is a growing market for creative game development, it's perhaps unsurprising that Nintendo wouldn't provide a particularly supportive browser. It'll want Wii U owners to be attracted into buying games from the eShop, and having a browser run free web games would be counter-productive to that. For those of you that do enjoy a bit of web gaming, it looks like you'd be better sticking with a PC or Mac.


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User Comments (22)



Sjoerd said:

Too bad. I'm not getting one to play HTML-games, so I don't bother



Auracle said:

I've been very pleased with the web browser so far. I'm fine with the lack of HTML games, personally.



MisterRJ45 said:

It doesn't effect me because I don't play Web games on my computer, iPad, phone, or any other device anyway but I can see this being an issue for some. The web browser on the Wii U has been very nice so far and hopefully they will continue to make improvements.



RupeeClock said:

In all fairness, the Wii U lets you play many more substantial games as it is, and the web browser does the thing that most people are concerned with when it comes to flash player or HTML5 - playing Youtube videos.

The Wii U browser should do everything you need to do, HTML5 and Flash stuff is lovely however but maybe that will have to wait.



SCAR said:

Like the artical said, the formats they're using aren't compatible. That means they're using old formats to support a new system. My guess is that they'll make new file formats that are compatible, which will make features people have gotten used to more responsive and useful. Nintendo put a feature still in development, so it's expected that much won't work immediately. I use the internet browser on Wii U constantly, and works better than my computer for everything besides flash(which I think email uses).



zeldazero said:

Once again, why is it everyone out thier who posts stuff about the Wii U only look into the flaws that they look so hard to find instead of publishing articles about what it does amazingly. Seriously, for every good article there is 5 bad articles that overall are completely insignificant but someone just wants attention. Almost every complaint about the Wii U is complete BS. Like many of you said the system wasn' t meant to do this. It's like complaining your DVD player doesn't play Blu-rays. I wish someone would put thier time into seeing what the Wii U's GPU is capable of compared to the PS3 and 360 and post that instead of how its processor is weaker which was purposely made that way.



rjejr said:

It is free though, right? On both systems? I'm a little nervous what divides Nintendo might create between Basic and Premium owners besides the 10% rebate, which is the only one I'm aware of. But you know its coming, they've already set a precedent w/ Wiis that can play GC games and Wiis that can't, and they didn't even bother to change the name or anything, just whooshed BC away.

And MS requires a Gold subscription to use IE on the Xbox360.

Still, this article seems a little too one-sided w/ negatives, I've read good things about the browser that aren't in there.



Azooooz said:

Seriously, who wants to play web games on a gaming console that has better control, graphics and gameplay?



Lobster said:

I never wanted to play browser games on my Wii U, so... OK. Meanwhile I really enjoy everything else it can do. I literally don't have a single complaint about it.



SirSmugleaf said:

I totally agree with that ending statement. The Wii U's primary focus is to play Wii U GAMES, and if you want to play browser-based games, the Wii U shouldn't be for that. Go to your PC or Mac.



IAmSpike said:

"Please remove the last 2 words. I think they were typed by mistake."

I really don't know how to respond to this



WaxxyOne said:

Well at least Nintendo's not making up complete lies and BS about why the browser won't support Flash by claiming it would reduce the battery life or anything ridiculous like that... cough cough



Usagi-san said:

Regarding Flash, Isn't it becoming irrelevent? I know it was completely removed from my web design course.



SMW said:

Games can still be done, developers just need to be more creative. Like store states and things server side like @ajmetz said. Cookies would help too.

I'm more interested in creating a website that can be controlled with the GamePad.



Sun said:

3DS browser is slow and doesn't support Flash. I understand that Nintendo browser won't support playing games but this is ridiculous.



defrb said:

I would like to see flash support, everybody got like 3 devices allready to play flash stuff, so whats the wiiu trying to block anyways?
Reason i like flash on wiiu is because i can put my kids behind it. Its a lot safer then behind my computer. Also many websides are based on flash and many videos cant be watched without flash also..

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