Rakuten, one of the most popular e-commerce websites in Japan is planning to move towards a future without mobile apps. According to the strategy that the company has envisioned, it is trying hard to move to HTML5 platform instead of the app-centric platform where you need to develop and maintain apps or games for multiple platforms at the same time.

The company has bet on HTML5 based apps and games that no longer need to be installed or upgraded. These apps don’t eat up space on your computer or smartphone storage, even if they do then it is temporary and gets cleared when you close the window or navigate away from the website after you are done with your gaming session.

The most significant advantage of using HTML5 is that the applications and games developed on the platform are cross-platform and can be used on web browsers across platforms or from within the apps. According to a report by Bloomberg, Rakuten has made about 15 games using the HTML5 platform and these games are based on Pacman and Space Invaders. Rakuten is not the only company that is heading towards the app-less world.

Industry leaders like Facebook and Tencent are also gradually moving towards this as they shift from apps to services while trying to create a comprehensive ecosystem within one single app so that users don’t have to leave.

Cross-platform compatibility is not the only thing that is pushing companies towards this future but the sheer fact that these apps go through a vetting process and have to be compliant with different rules and regulations specific to that platform.

Another major factor is the revenue distribution where the company or the developer has to part from a certain percentage of revenue that the developer should rightfully earn and give it to Google Play or Apple App Store.

Revenue that the developers have to split is not the only cause for Rakuten to move in this direction. The company is also trying to gain as much from the mobile gaming app market which accounts about 81 percent of the total mobile app sales across all platforms. The net revenue made in-app sales amounted to about $62 billion last year.

One thing to note is that HTML5 is not that powerful and it will be long since developers develop polished games like Super Mario Run, Temple Run and other purely to run on HTML5 but most platforms like Facebook Messenger have games known as ‘Instant Games‘ which are gradually moving towards it.

Telegram Messenger also introduced HTML5 based games that can be playing without leaving the app. These games are no match for dedicated mobile app games but they still stand on their on as casual games to engage users for some time.

Rakuten has a sizable user base (114 million) when it comes to active users and so it has nothing to lose. The company has also ensured that regular shoppers play these games as frequent-shopper points by the company can be used to for in-game money to buy virtual items.

Rakuten has also planned a comprehensive integration with Viber that will be rolled out in near future.

Publish date: April 5, 2017 3:39 pm| Modified date: April 5, 2017 3:49 pm

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