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Mozilla is bringing modern video games to your browser

WebAssembly is one more sign that the browser plugin is dying.
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Modern 3D video games require a ton of processing power to look good and respond to player input quickly. That's why most of the web-based games you see today are at best stripped down versions of their PC or console counterparts. The team behind the Firefox web browser would like to see that change, however. Mozilla released a version of the browser that includes WebAssembly - a new technology that enables high-resource apps like games, computer-aided design, video and image editing and scientific visualization to run in a browser almost as fast as they do on your local computer. It will also speed up existing web apps that use JavaScript.

With WebAssembly, developers will be able to code a game or app and know it will run in the same way on any supported browser, regardless of platform. Consumers get the convenience of using a web browser to run any WebAssembly-enabled game or app, regardless of platform or operating system.

WebAssembly is a low-level programming language that allows other, higher-level computer languages like C or C++ to run in a web browser. WebAssembly apps are parsed and compiled before they even hit your browser, which means that much of the heavy lifting has already been done. By comparison, a javascript app often pulls a bunch of code into the browser, then figures out how best to run it on your system, slowing the whole process down. Google and Microsoft's browsers will support WebAssembly, though Firefox is the first browser to include the technology, thanks to Mozilla's lead role in the research.

As WebAssembly matures, the Mozilla team hopes to bring it to mobile, as well. Imagine playing the modern version of Doom or running a CAD app on your Mac or PC, then loading it up onto your smartphone as you head out on your morning commute. All of this without plugins or the need to sacrifice speed for the convenience of the web.

The Firefox beta, available today for Mac, PC and Linux, also includes improvements to Wi-Fi portal detection and better warnings for insecure logins.

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