Gone in a Flash: HTML5 open web tech to power 100% iGaming in 2020.
Anyone who’s browsed the web for ten years or more should be well aware of the impact Flash technology has had on the computer-verse. In the 1990s, it gave birth to a whole new realm of possibilities. Everything from animated graphics, to in-browser video games, to entire websites were built in Flash; all powered by the universal Adobe Flash plug-in.
In 2017, Adobe announced an “end of life” for Flash to come in late 2020. At that point, updates to the multimedia software project were abandoned. In response, Google Chrome developers turned off Flash and disabled the ‘ask to run‘ option by default. Anyone wishing to run Flash, or even get a message asking to run it, would have to enable it manually in their browser – not just once, but every browsing session.
Some called it crazy, but Chrome and other browser brands called it safe. No updates means no further security patches for Flash – a software that’s already proven less secure than its descendant, HTML5. Just recently, a new message appeared in my Chrome browser, explaining the situation for users, and no doubt creating a stir among some businesses operating within the online casino community.
Gone in a Flash: HTML5 to Power 100% of iGaming
Back in the earliest days of internet casinos, players had to download the games they wished to play. The file sizes were so large in some cases, it would start with an initial bundle of popular titles, followed by a background download of the complete package at the player’s discretion. And then Flash gaming came along to save the day, giving players a choice – download or play instantly ‘in-browser’.
Much like the decades-old ‘Coke or Pepsi?‘ wars, years went by with games creators, casino operators, network affiliates and players debating what was better, download or Flash? But when mobile technology came along – not just flip-phone mobile, but the iOS and Android-powered touchscreen variety – it was soon decided that Flash was no longer good enough. In 2010, Apple declared Flash unfit for support on its devices due to security flaws. Android followed suit, and that left mobile users unable to access the online casino websites they loved on desktop from their smartphones and tablets.
Enter stage right; HTML5…
HTML5 was a newly formulated hyper-text mark-up language capable of displaying everything – text, images, animated vector and raster graphics… it did everything Flash could do, and more, without requiring a special plug-in to make it all work. Best of all, it was compatible with all major operating systems; Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
The industry’s biggest companies immediately began the conversion to HTML5. Online casinos adapted their websites for it, and software developers came out with new games to accommodate. At the same time, major firms like Microgaming began working backwards to convert their most popular games of old into modern HTML5 titles. Now that the HTML5 transition is well underway, it’s been confirmed that Flash will phase out for good.
Chrome Spreads the ‘Goodbye to Flash’ Message
Just recently, Google Chrome users have seen a new message when they open their browsers. It’s a small line of text just below the URL box that says Flash will be disabled entirely in 2020. Users are practically forced to recognized the warning by either X-ing out the message, or pressing on the Read More button.
This option explains the situation, but if you note the publication date, it’s not a new situation at all. The farewell letter was published in July of 2017, proclaiming that “Adobe announced its plans to stop supporting Flash at the end of 2020”. That intention clearly hasn’t changed.
The message goes on to explain the steady decline of users who interact with Flash, and the “open web technologies” (i.e. HTML5) that have replaced it over the last few years. As Google explains it:
|“This trend reveals that sites are migrating to open web technologies, which are faster and more power-efficient than Flash. They’re also more secure, so you can be safer while shopping, banking, or reading sensitive documents. They also work on both mobile and desktop, so you can visit your favorite site anywhere.”|
I don’t know about you, but being in a journalistic business that requires me to investigate all manner of new games and technologies, I still come across iGaming-related websites with Flash-based games that don’t load unless I manually tell them to. I have to assume that the webmasters of these sites are aware of the situation, and working to fix it. If not, their online casino games will no longer function when the calendars roll around to 2021.