Google is bringing quick web games to lower-end devices with slow connections, pitting itself against the likes of Facebook's Instant Games.
It has announced GameSnacks, from its internal Area 120 incubator, which aims to “make HTML5 games more accessible for phones on any network in the world". The idea is “any device that lets you connect to the internet" - whether it's an Android or iOS device or even a desktop - should be able to load games regardless of their memory capacity and access to networks.
That's crucial considering, currently, many games, including web games, need decent specs and preferably a 4G LTE network connection to properly work. GameSnacks, however, is for people using low-memory devices, and devices on 2G or 3G networks. Google said it takes 12 seconds for a typical web game to load on a slower phone with just 1GB of RAM and a 3G connection.
Since visitors tend to leave a page if it takes a while to load, GameSnacks takes just four seconds on a network with speeds under 1Mbps. "Our Area 120 team works with developers to achieve fast performance by reducing the size of the initially-loaded HTML page, compressing additional assets such as scripts, images, and sounds, and waiting to load them until necessary," said Google.
GameSnacks games can load in a few seconds even on network connections as slow as 500 Kbps. Keep in mind these are simple games that take only a couple minutes to play and are therefore ideal in situations where you quickly want to pass the time, like waiting in a doctor's office.
You can try one GameSnacks game, called Tower, here. Google said it's working with developers including Famobi, Inlogic Games, Black Moon Design, Geek Games, Enclave Games, and other HTML5 game developers to bring their titles to the GameSnacks library.
At launch, Google is also partnering with Gojek to bring GameSnacks games to the GoGames service in Indonesia and eventually Southeast Asia.