There was a time when it seemed like the downloadable client was going to be an inevitable casualty of the march of technology. Games like City of Steam bet themselves entirely on the idea that you could just play a full MMO in your browser, no client download needed. Why waste time with streaming clients like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 when you could just load up your browser?
Except that anyone with memory will realize that’s not even close to what happened. While various games have experimented with lowering the time between “start downloading” and “start playing,” at the end of the day we’re still downloading clients to play. It’s arguable that having more MMO options on central services like Steam has actually done more for availability, as you don’t need to hunt the titles down individually.
But just because there was never a huge sea change that completely rewrote the way we download and play MMOs doesn’t mean that the core idea doesn’t have merits. A browser-based game has a smaller footprint, after all, and it also means you can play from a wider variety of computers. Heck, some games like RuneScape have done quite well while embracing browser clients. So what do you think? Would you like to see more MMOs offer browser-based clients? Or was that a notion that’s really been made obsolete and irrelevant with more mobile gaming options?