David Bluhm, President and CEO of Z2Live, speaks at the GeekWire Summit. (© Karen Ducey 2012)

The promise of HTML5 has captivated mobile developers for a long time now. But the debate still rages: Should devs spend their time and energy tinkering with HTML5 or moving forward with native apps?

Depending upon who you ask that question, you’ll likely get a very different answer.  Mobile gaming veteran David Bluhm — whose Seattle startup Z2Live makes the popular iOS games MetalStorm and Trade Nations — certainly has some opinions on the matter. And he shared them at last week’s GeekWire Summit, bluntly pointing out that HTML5 “only goes so far” and will “never allow us to write once to play everywhere.”

In other words, it just doesn’t offer the framework that they need to create great games.

“The HTML5 thing is not going to happen for me. It will never happen,” said Bluhm, who previously ran Kirkland mobile gaming company Mforma. “The religious part of that argument — people just got to get over it.”

Bluhm conceded that some applications will work great in the HTML5 environment, but he doesn’t think that will be the case with games like the ones Z2Live makes that require enhanced capabilities. (One of the criticisms of HTML5 is that games run too slow in the format). Bluhm continued with his critique at the Summit:

“There are certain apps that it will work great, I am sure, in HTML5. Ours won’t. They never will. We produce ‘wow.’ We produce user experience that have to be ‘wow.’ And yesterday’s ‘wow’ is not tomorrow’s ‘wow.’ And limited by technology — especially as it gets more standardized and in more committees — will never allow us to break above that and produce our ‘wow.'”

Other GeekWire Summit coverageT-Mobile executive: Key to fixing industry is removing device subsidiesQ&A: Ray Ozzie on startups, Microsoft, and what he’s dreaming up nextGeekWire Summit: How to stay innovative in a world of technological change

Previously on GeekWire: Mobile Web vs. Native Apps

Here are the full remarks from the mobile panel at the GeekWire Summit, with Bluhm, T-Mobile CMO Cole Brodman, Swype CEO Mike McSherry and Rhapsody President Jon Irwin.


[Thanks to the team at Bootstrapper Studios for the video].

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/toddhooper Todd Hooper

    Nicely done, David.

  • Tyson Ross

    They won’t compete with native today, but I wouldn’t bet on *never*. People end up looking quite silly making those sort of statements.

  • http://twitter.com/logicking_com Yuri Dobronravin

    Yeah, HTML5 now is exactly how Flash was seen in 2005. And yet it appears that Flash is pretty sufficient for FarmVille, CittyVilly and almost every other social game. HTML5 is Flash of the nearest future.  

  • Bwakathaboom

    As far as I can tell, David’s not and never has been a “developer”.  He’s a suit.  As such, he doesn’t actually know anything about the tech.

    And I wouldn’t proclaim generic me-too 2D social games as “producing WOW!” 

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