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October 09, 2012

AOL Breathes New Life into

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

When Infogrames started to breathe its last about six years ago, one of the key assets it dropped was, which AOL (News - Alert), who was then a comparative newcomer to the field, picked up for an amount that was then undisclosed. It was part of a package that brought about $25 million to Infogrames--not enough to save it, but enough to keep it going for a bit--but now, AOL is looking to bring new life to, which is launching today with a whole lot of extras and a new philosophy, as AOL announced from the GDC Online show in Austin, Texas.

The new will bring in over 5,000 free online games, as well as a wide array of mobile games and plenty of new features as part of a bid to make the Web's number one stop for online gamers. AOL is reportedly relying heavily on HTML5 technology to make sure the games available for play on the site will work on any platform, as opposed to going the native app route, which is why the new is being described as operating under "a mobile-first mentality".

Image via Shutterstock

This isn't the first of AOL's new initiatives; they recently brought out the Entrance service for Nokia (News - Alert) Lumia smartphones that provided news, music, and an augmented reality program to the devices, and an announcement just last week detailed plans for iOS and Android (News - Alert) apps alike to help drive video content to smartphones, an area that's really coming into its own., however, is going to be a pretty big part of AOL's operations, with AOL working with several game developers like GameHouse and Big Fish Games to get the games in the library, with likely more to follow. More and newer games will be a big priority for AOL, especially given that they're not the only ones with skin in the HTML5 game; Microsoft (News - Alert) was found planning to bring old Atari titles back to browsers with HTML5 technology, and there are already several purveyors of browser games out there, including Kongregate and Armor Games.

Using the comparatively new HTML5 technology to open up the concept of mobile apps usage across platforms is a smart idea, and it's showing up in several places, especially in games. When game developers--and other app developers--no longer need to choose between putting time into developing for iOS or Android (or even Windows Phone (News - Alert)), they have more time to develop in general, which gives them more products to offer and a better shot at return on investment.

But the new is still looking like a good time in the offing, with plenty of free, ad-supported games for users to enjoy across a wide variety of types--most everything from puzzle to action seems well-represented--and should provide hours of fun for any gamer looking for a quick round of something to wedge into a few otherwise boring minutes.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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