Mozilla Labs Vaguely Announces Web-Based Gaming Initiative

Earlier today Mozilla Labs — the R&D arm of the company behind Firefox — announced that it was launching a new Gaming section focused on fostering games built on modern Open Web technologies. And to kick things off, it’s inviting developers to take part in a contest to develop the best games for the Open Web. At least, it’s inviting them to look forward to a competition that will begin later this month (the logistics haven’t been announced).

The contest itself isn’t out of the norm — Mozilla Labs runs challenges every two months for its various projects. But the long-term vision for this new Games project is extremely vague at this point. The main site for the Gaming section states that Mozilla is looking to “help establish the Open Web as the platform for gaming across all your Internet connected devices”, but it doesn’t really get into how it will do that. A Mozilla spokesperson said that the company isn’t sharing more details at this time and that this is announcement primarily about getting developers excited — we’ll learn more later.

From the Mozilla Labs Gaming Page:

We are excited to present to you the latest initiative from Mozilla Labs: Gaming. Mozilla Labs Gaming is all about games built, delivered and played on the Open Web and the browser. We want to explore the wider set of technologies which make immersive gaming on the Open Web possible. We invite the wider community to play with cool, new tech and aim to help establish the Open Web as the platform for gaming across all your Internet connected devices.

Modern Open Web technologies introduced a complete stack of technologies such as Open Video, audio, WebGL, touch events, device orientation, geo location, and fast JavaScript engines which make it possible to build complex (and not so complex) games on the Web. With these technologies being delivered through modern browsers today, the time is ripe for pushing the platform. And what better way than through games? Traditionally games and game developers have been at the forefront of technology, often pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible.

So what could this mean? It’s possible this is related to Google’s Chrome Web Store, which is slated to launch this fall and will provide developers with a relatively seamless way to distribute and charge for web apps (and games). Mozilla has previously discussed the possibility of creating an Open Web App Store (in other words, one that isn’t controlled by Google) and gaming would almost certainly play a part in it.