Arty goes beyond the app stores by putting high-quality games in your browser


How do you play a game? 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 that have a physical form, console or app. RT is preparing another option to shake up the gaming industry by bringing high-end games to the browser. The advantages are obvious: there are no apps to download, and you can start playing directly from link-in-bio, TikTok, Instagram, and wherever you find links. Also, ditching the app means Apple doesn’t have to pay the searcher for in-app purchases.

“With 5G, the maturity of devices, and the GPUs we can access in the browser, we understand that you don’t need to download a game to play a high-quality game,” said Ryan Horrigan, co-founder and CEO of RT. In an interview with TechCrunch. “We thought, ‘Is there a way to do something that’s not purely client-side… Is there a way that we can use Unreal or Unity and do some kind of elegant resource streaming and optimization, and distribute data? Cloud, but working locally on your device?”

Yes, there is a way to do it, it turns out, and that’s what the market is jumping on. The company calls it “over-the-top game streaming.”

“The idea is that I see an influencer or an ad and I’m in the TikTok feed and I click a link. I play the game in a pop-up browser and in real-time in TikTok, but then I have two choices,” says Horrigan. I can follow the game there (like Farmville back in the day and on Facebook) and go back to play social, or I can bookmark or put a progressive web app on my phone screen and have a fake app. At my fingertips.”

Being a progressive web app makes it indistinguishable from an app, but it has the benefits of being presentable and non-downloadable in many ways, especially on social media. Tik Tok and Instagram are now the equivalent of an old-fashioned arcade.

“I used to play on the playground when I was a kid,” Horrigan said. What if the modern arcade was just TikTok or Instagram? We’ve been saying on social media that we’re trying to build the gaming console of the future, which is probably weird. But if you think about it, it was console hardware. More recently, it’s software like Steam on PC or the Epic game store. But there was no equivalent on mobile, because there was no access point to reach players.

Reaching players through social media, bypassing app stores and offering through the client makes sense for both players and developers, Arty believes. It gives developers the financial ability to create new games that appeal to different markets without having to pay app store fees or incur cloud submission costs.

“We can have a different size audience,” Horrigan said. He’s right, and if that means a wider variety of games for a wider audience, without conflicting apps (and in-app purchases) added to the experience, that could be a total win-win.


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