Microsoft Edge

Games: Microsoft Edge’s new edge

Anybody older than about thirty will no doubt have some recollection of the early internet and the browsers that once vied for dominance. Back then, Internet Explorer was still a vaguely respectable piece of software—or, at least, one of the few browsers that existed—but rivals like Netscape Navigator, Firefox, Safari, and Opera would soon emerge to battle over the right to display web users’ cat pictures.

Google Chrome

Quite a bit has changed in the browser space since then. Internet Explorer no longer exists and Firefox has been in continuous decline for more than a decade, with 46m users ditching the browser in just the past three years. Google’s Chrome is now the confirmed ruler of the Internet, with 64.6% of the browser market share, while Apple’s Safari has 19.2% of the audience. Edge, Internet Explorer’s successor, has 4.2%, more than Firefox (3.9%).

While it is possible to download Safari on Windows, Edge is now effectively the second most popular browser on Microsoft systems. Ironically enough, it’s actually a Chromium-based platform, as are Opera and Samsung Internet, which actually tips Google’s dominance of the browser market to over 70%. Still, Microsoft seems to consider Edge something of a major competitor for Chrome.

Recently, Microsoft has thrown all sorts of things at the wall in an effort to make Edge the go-to browser for web users. Alas, not many of them have stuck. Price-tracking, coupon tools, loans, product reviews, and built-in Office functionality are just a few of the more harebrained ideas to come out of Microsoft HQ. The latest addition to Edge is a mite more interesting, though—browser games.

Google Chrome browser on Apple OSX

Privacy

HTML5 has done wonderful things for the Internet’s usability, especially from the perspective of entertainment.

Previously, media displayed in browsers would require a download to work, such as Adobe Flash or a codec. This meant that games providers and online casinos were bound to pieces of software. Today, pages like Kongregate keep all their content in-browser, while online casino content such as Casino777 slots, table games, and even live format experiences can thrive on just about any device with Internet functionality.

Apple Macbook with a cat

All of Microsoft’s new browser games run in HTML5, too. While they’re not quite the jumping T-Rex game that Chrome has (they’re actually from MSN Games), they serve a purpose as a brief time-consumer. So, if you’ve ever wanted to play solitaire, billiards, or chess in your browser, Microsoft has you covered. Unfortunately, the games are only present in a test build so it’s unknown when the feature will be rolled out to the wider public.

It’s worth mentioning that Microsoft may be trying to fight Chrome in the wrong arena. After Edge left its beta testing phase, magazine site The Verge noted that privacy, rather than speed or any particular features, would be the thing that ultimately decides the modern browser war. Edge already has more and better privacy features than Chrome does but it doesn’t change the fact that Microsoft seems to be leaning on gimmicks to get Edge over with users.

Chrome’s lead over every other browser might seem unassailable, but as Firefox reportedly lost a billion users since its peak, there must always be time for change. Can Edge take the lead?