Online-gaming publisher Spil Games is making a $5 million bet on HTML5 gaming in the next year. The company announced today that it will create a fund that will sponsor developers looking to create HTML5 games.

Spil is looking for studios that want to create games as well as developers that wish to port existing work to HTML5. Unlike most other game-programming languages, HTML5 is cross-platform and will work on any device that has an HTML5-capable web browser. This is opposed to “native apps,” which developers have to custom-build for every OS (Android, iOS, Windows, Linux). This means that gamers can get to a title just by tapping in a web address in addition to downloading an HTML5 game from an app market.

“Mobile developers face increasing obstacles in developing native apps — it’s expensive, app stores are crowded marketplaces, and they have to make multiple versions of their games for different devices,” Spil senior director of games Dan Prigg said. “We believe HTML5 development can offer the best solution to most of these obstacles. With our massive investment next year, we are demonstrating our confidence in the future of HMTL5. Our goal is to help remove the risks for developers with financial, technical and marketing support.”

Spil will use the $5 million to pay for development costs. The publisher also plans to help developers figure out how to generate revenue with their games and how to market their titles.

HTML5 has had a bumpy road in terms of mobile apps. When the new standard came on the scene, companies like Facebook jumped on it to build their mobile app for Android. Many Android owners noted that Facebook app was notoriously poor, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously said that HTML5 was his company’s “biggest mistake.” That gave the language a poor reputation.

“Like any new technology, HTML5 for game development had a slow start and many small developers were reluctant to do early development and take the plunge,” M2 Research president Wanda Meloni said. “Now, HTML5 is finally gaining momentum as more developers view mobile web browsing as a viable development strategy, and we believe 2014 will be the year of HTML5 starts to shine.”

Spil Games currently has 180 million monthly active users (MAUs), and it is obviously hoping to grow and generate even more revenue with a suite of new HTML5 titles under its publishing label.


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