It’s not often that a browser company acquires a game development platform. But that’s exactly what Opera has done with YoYo Games, a British team best known for GameMaker Studio 2. The latter is a hugely popular platform for novice game developers with little programming experience. It works well with 2D projects and has an approachable drag-and-drop interface, along with its own scripting language that can be used to build more advanced titles. GameMaker supports every major platform including PC, mobile and Nintendo Switch. A bunch of indie gems have been created with the software, including Spelunky and Hotline Miami.
Opera has bought the company for a simple reason: Opera GX. The gamer-focused web browser was launched in early access back in June 2019. Its headline feature is a slide-out control panel that lets you limit the browser’s bandwidth and see which tabs are demanding the most CPU and RAM resources. Opera says it will create a new division, sensibly called Opera Gaming, by combining the Opera GX and GameMaker teams.
“We look forward to further growing Opera GX and to driving the growth of GameMaker, making it more accessible to novice users and developing it into the world’s leading 2D game engine used by commercial studios,” Krystian Kolondra, EVP Browsers at Opera teased in a blog post.
But what’s the end goal here? It’s hard to say. Many companies, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon, see streaming as the future of browser-based gaming. Does Opera want a similar offering for Opera GX users? Or does it want to follow companies like Epic Games, which owns the popular Unreal Engine? For now, we can only speculate. “We have always had big plans for improving GameMaker across all platforms, both from the perspective of improving accessibility and further developing the features available to commercial studios,” Stuart Poole, General Manager of YoYo Games said. “And now we can’t wait to see them arrive much sooner.”