A new app store for Chrome that enables in-browser gaming and third-party apps has been shown off by proud parent Google.
Several major titles already grace the Google camp, including Lego Star Wars, Quake II and Lemmings, with many more expected to be added after the app store is launched in October. Google claims the arrival of a games showcase on a browser as widely used as Chrome, plus its links with Google Checkout, will simplify the discovery and purchase of video games online.
In-browser gaming is already a massive industry -- even though many people think of traditional consoles when you mention video games. Farmville, for example, has managed to inspire or annoy all of Facebook's 500 million users by the simple concept of real-time virtual farming, and in the process pushed the valuation of its maker, Zynga, to a staggering $4bn. Flash games have been on the Web and infurating bosses for years, from classics such as Tetris and Minesweeper to the quirky catalogue of the hugely successful publisher PopCap.
With such a massive following from simple yet bafflingly addictive ideas like falling blocks, farming and, er, bomb disposal, it's encouraging to know Google will be opening up this app store to developers. As you'd expect, Google will take a cool 5 per cent from each app's sales, but this is significantly lower than the 30 per cent cut Apple takes from iPhone developers.
Furthermore, if the Android Market is anything to go by, the Chrome store will be far less exclusive than Apple's equivalent and developers will be free to include in-app purchases, subscriptions and even distribute free trials.
Programmers who want to develop Chrome apps have a pretty wide selection of languages to use, though Google did lend a particular prominence to C++, as well as HTML5 and Flash -- apparently, Google is sitting carefully on the fence. It remains to be seen if there will be a Chrome API like Google has released for Android, which could make it even easier for developers.
Google's Chrome OS promises to blast all the user's computer programs into the cloud. It makes perfect sense that Google would want an app store that can provide anything a computer can -- productivity apps, tools and now games.