When you play a game, how do you play it? Monopoly or Settlers of Catan around the dinner table? Mario Kart on your Nintendo Switch? Assassin’s Creed on your Xbox? Among Us on your phone? Usually they are games with a physical form, a console or an app. Artie is preparing to shake up the gaming industry with another option, which is to bring high-end games back to the browser. The benefits are obvious: you don’t need to download any apps, and you can launch a game directly from a link-in-bio, whether it’s from TikTok, Instagram, or, well, anywhere you can find links. Also: Bypassing the apps means Apple doesn’t pay the in-app purchase finder for transactions.
“We realized that with 5G, the maturity of the device and the GPUs that we can access through the browser, you actually don’t have to download a game anymore to play a high-quality game,” explains Ryan Horrigan, co-author founder and CEO of Artie, out. in an interview with australiabusinessblog.com. “We thought, is there a way to do something that’s not purely on the customer side… is there a way we can leverage Unreal or Unity, and sort of elegant asset streaming and optimization can we do where we kind of stream data from the cloud, but we render locally on your device?”
Yes, there’s a way to do it, it turns out, and that’s the market Artie is jumping into. The company calls it “over-the-top game streaming.”
“The idea is I’m in my TikTok feed where I see an influencer or an ad, and I click on a link. I play the game directly in the pop-up browser and TikTok, but then I have two choices,” says Horrigan. “I can track the game there and return (similar to Farmville back in the day and Facebook) and go back to social to play, or I can bookmark or have a progressive web app on my phone screen and have a pseudo app at my fingertips. ”
Being a progressive web app, it is indistinguishable from an app, but has the advantage of being discoverable in many ways, especially social media, and does not need to be downloaded. TikTok and Instagram are now the equivalents of an old-fashioned arcade.
“I used to play in the arcade as a kid,” says Horrigan. “What if the modern arcade is just TikTok or Instagram? We’ve said we’re trying to build the game console of the future on social media, which might be a weird thing to say. But if you think about it, a console was hardware. More recently it has been software, such as with Steam on the PC or the Epic Game Store. But there isn’t really the equivalent of that on mobile, as there was no entry point to reach players.
Reaching players through social media, making app stores obsolete and rendering on the customer side makes sense for gamers and developers alike, Artie believes. Without having to pay app store fees or cloud rendering fees, it gives developers the financial opportunity to create new games that appeal to different markets.
“We can afford to have a different audience,” Horrigan says. He might be right, and if that means a wider variety of games for a wider audience available without the friction apps (and in-app purchases) adding to the experience, that just might turn out to be a win.