Native Client turns Chrome into high-end gaming platform

Calling it Native Client, Google says that integrating technology into Chrome is essential for the future of Web browsers.
To show that Native Client is road-ready, the company used its event to announce several new Chrome-only versions of games known for their rich and processor-intensive graphics, available immediately. It also revealed that the browser currently has more than 200 million users worldwide.
The games include those made by Square Enix, maker of Mini Ninja; Wolf Toss, built with Moai; Supergiant Games' Bastion (Chrome browser only), which has won industry awards; and the Unity 3D game-building engine. Game designer Amir Rao showed off Bastion running in Chrome via Native Client to the crowd of about 100 developers, Google employees, and journalists, and it was apparent that the gameplay was smooth and that the graphics were highly detailed. It looked as if it could've been running on a console, except it was being played in a Chrome tab.

The popular Xbox game Bastion has been ported to Google Chrome using the new Native Client technology.
(Credit: Supergiant Games)

Ian Ellison-Taylor, Google's director of product management for the open Web platform, said that Native Client, also called NaCl, can currently improve browser performance by 2 to 10 times. "What would it be like if we could run native code inside the browser," he asked the crowd, and he enumerated two goals for the Native Client project. He said Google wants to bring native applications to the Web for performance and security reasons, and it wants to enrich the Web ecosystem by bringing popular, long-in-use programming languages to the Web.