Some might say that the age of browser-based games is long gone, especially with the death of Flash that also heralded the demise of Farmville. At the same time, browsers and Web technologies have advanced to the point that more sophisticated games can be played on a browser, not to mention the growing market for game streaming through browsers. It is against this backdrop that Opera announced its acquisition of YoYo Games, most popular for its easy to use 2D game-making tool, but few are able to divine what Opera plans to do with it in the long run.
Unity 3D and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine together have the lion’s share of the game development platforms on which many games, from indies to triple-A, are built on. GameMaker and its various iterations, however, is pretty much the household name when it comes to 2D titles, especially those leaning more towards the indie side. Its claim to fame through the decades has been its friendly interface and ease of use, used mostly as a jumping board for beginners getting their feet wet in game development.
That is pretty much what Opera is buying when it bought YoYo Games but the exact implications of that business move are still shrouded in vague marketing speak. Opera is better known as a maker of web browsers though it has dabbled in other Internet-related products and services, especially VPNs.
It does, however, have one product that crosses paths with gaming. In 2019, it launched the gaming-centric Opera GX browser that boasted of controls that would throttle the browser’s performance to give way to gaming. Opera’s announcement included the revelation of a new Opera Gaming division but, again, its real goal remains mysterious.
There are definitely multiple possibilities, from a game streaming service for games created with GameMaker Studio 2 to adding support for running those games locally on the browser as well. The only thing that’s clear is that Opera has definitely interested in putting its finger in this pie, potentially breaking away from its core Internet-centric business focus.