A new technology that allows console-quality games to be played directly through an Internet browser is now in open beta, Square Enix has announced.
The service, Core Online, currently supports Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, but requires the installation of a plug-in before use.
Core Online features a free-to-play business model with a twist: players can pay directly for game time or watch ads to accumulate time credits. Watching one ad grants the player around 10 minutes of game time.
All saves are cloud-based so games may be resumed from any browser that has the plug-in installed.
Hitman: Blood Money and Mini Ninjas are already available to play, with Lara Croft and the Guardian of the Light coming October 12. Tomb Raider: Underworld and puzzle-RPG Gyromancer have also been announced, and will be available within a year.
“We’re in an early phase where we are understanding consumer’s interest and preferred payment models,” said Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada.
“The browser allows us to present content in unique ways; users can now play high-definition games instantly, on any supported PC, starting and stopping where and when they wish. This is a new frontier for us, and we’re absorbing significant knowledge as we take the lead and grow the service.”
Square Enix subsidiary Hapti.co studios are responsible for the development of the technology.
Its managing director David Guldbrandsen has declared his intention to release as many Square Enix games on the platform as possible.
“It is our ambition to give everyone the possibility to play a great variety of games with very high quality,” he said.