Anna Debenham: Exploring the game console browser landscape

Orde Saunders' avatarUpdated: Published: by Orde Saunders

Anna Debenham (@anna_debenham) was speaking at Full Frontal about the console browser landscape, these are my notes from her talk.

Children of primary school age can get online via their consoles, 69% have handheld, 86% have a TV based console.

Fist console with a browser was the Dreamcast had a modem. Gamecube had network access. Now all major current consoles have browsers built in. Consoles are no longer just for gaming.

Consoles are the 4th most popular way to access the internet. 20% of 14-18 year olds access the internet via consoles.

Current consoles

HTML5 test and CSS3 test ratings


  • HTML5: 89/500
  • CSS3: ?
  • Pointer emulated by Wiimote. Has a reader mode

Xbox 360

  • HTML5: 120/500
  • CSS3: 32%
  • Can set the User Agent to mobile. Can zoom the screen but can kill content.


  • HTML5: 68/500
  • CSS3: (didn't catch the slide)
  • Not the most advanced but remote is good.


  • HTML5: 98/500
  • CSS3: 42%
  • 3D images can be displayed but not inline (although they have a fallback).


  • HTML5: 58/500
  • CSS3: 32%

Firmware 2.0

  • HTML5: 243/500
  • CSS3: 55%

Update 2012-11-20: Thanks to @Fylian via @stowball for the 2.0 scores.

All of these devices are severely limited by processor and memory. No flash and no HTML5 video which kills YouTube which is a problem as people want to watch YouTube on their TVs. Don't run JS very well so often not shown in analytics.

Wii U

  • HTML5: 323
  • CSS: ???
  • Released shortly and the browser is a first class citizen, you can pause a game to go to web and then go back. Support for browser technologies looks good.

Extra screens

Increasingly devices can pair (phone, handheld console) to give an extra input method. On the WiiU content can be mirrored to a second screen. Second screen is often used as a keyboard. YouTube lean back

Catering for different devices

Different devices have different input methods. Detection does not tell you how the interface is about to be used. UA sniffing is not reliable for consoles as they include other UA key words to attempt to work round existing UA sniffing. Build sensible web pages and let the device take care of itself.

Try plugging a PS3 remote into your computer via USB to check the status of the gamepad API in FF and Chrome.

There are JS libraries to work with console controllers.

Google Developers has guidelines for designing for consoles. Kinect Human Interface Guidelines contain gesture recognition guidelines.

Voice controls are staring to appear but have a fallback.

Disney Touche - touch and gesture sensing for the real world.

The lines between traditional classes of devices are blurring.

Hover interactions don't usually work well.

Think Future Friendly

Comments, suggestions, corrections? Contact me via this website