File Under: Mobile, Multimedia

What Language Do You Game In?

The developer of an online game-building platform is switching from Java to Flash. The reason? Users don’t want Java.

“Up front, I’ll say that the reason we are moving to Flash is because of Java’s adoption rates. It is not, in fact, because of the language itself but because of Java’s deployment model. We suspect that we lose somewhere between thirty and fifty percent of users due simply to the fact that we are in Java.”

Java -- DENIEDIt probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever tried to load applets on the web. They are slow and prone to crashing. To be fair, the same could be said of other technologies, including Flash. Java tends to get more than its equal share of criticism, for what I’d call legitimate reasons.

Still, Java has been embraced for most mobile game development, excluding the iPhone. Google’s Android open development platform uses Java. Sun estimates that its Micro Edition of Java is deployed on billions of devices.

So, is Flash the answer? Flash has been popular for creating web-based games. Adobe’s Flex framework has made programming Flash easier, giving developers a more standard environment than a timeline. But Dale Beerman, the developer making the leap to Flash, admits Java’s development environment is still “years ahead” of Flash.

Flash is also mostly unproven as a mobile language. Apple has not allowed it on the iPhone, apparently over worries of battery life. Adobe announced that it has an iPhone version ready to go, should Apple change its mind. So, Flash is getting some mobile love.

The iPhone, of course, has its own development framework, based on Objective C. There are major benefits to developing for a device as well-loved as the iPhone. Unlike Java and Flash, games written for the iPhone cannot be used elsewhere.

As we said recently, mobile casual games are going to be big. There will always be multiple platforms, but the fight for number one is still in the early rounds. Do you think it’s fair to rag on Java? Is Flash a viable alternative? Or, will all the world eventually have an iPhone?

[Graphic by Dale Beerman]

See also: