The announcement of Google’s Chrome 94 beta states that it implements some new web standards that could make the browser-based gaming experience even better.
The webcodecs that will be released soon could make cloud gaming easier and faster, while the experimental WebGPU could make it easier for browser game developers to harness the power of your computer
WebCodecs is an API designed to provide developers with better access to the video codecs that take over video feeds. While there are already methods for playing videos in Chrome, they are not necessarily designed for things like gaming in the cloud, which is best when it has the lowest possible delay.
1The WebCodecs is designed to avoid overheads, making it easier to transfer incoming video streaming to your screen as quickly as possible, possibly with the help of hardware decoding. This will also, in theory, make it perform better on slower machines (which are the kinds of computers where cloud gaming is more desirable anyway).
The newest, more experimental WebGPU gives web developers better access to your computer’s horsepower graphics, letting them connect to your computer’s native graphics API (similar to Apple’s Metal, Microsoft DirectX 12, or Vulkan). In simpler terms, it makes it easy for web developers to “talk” with your graphics card in a language it understands, without having to go through other levels that could slow down the process.
Both technologies also work out of the game. In a speech in July 2020, Google said that Zoom was interested in using WebCodecs in its video conferencing, and that WebGPU could be used to render three-dimensional models in the browser or to accelerate machine learning models.
Of course, we probably won’t see experiences supported by WebCodecs or WebGPU very soon. While WebCodecs are indeed close to traffic, developers should make their apps work with it. As for WebGPU, it is currently in an experimental phase, which Google expects to finish in early 2022.