Unreal Engine 4 ported to Firefox for epic gaming on the web

Unreal Engine 4 on Firefox
Gaming on Firefox is about to get Unreal

Epic and Mozilla have announced that they're porting the Unreal Engine 4 game engine to the web.

Leading up to the Firefox UE4 demonstrations at next week's Game Developers Conference, Mozilla showed an early preview of the game engine working with its web browser.

In the demo, you can see Epic's Soul and Swing Ninja demos running almost as if they were running on computer hardware instead of streaming over the internet.

The web browser maker said video games built with the engine would be easily ported to the web. More importantly, this feature could allow gamers to play their favorite titles while they're away from their high-powered gaming rigs or consoles like the Xbox One and PS4.

Crank it up

Mozilla and Epic's latest demonstration builds on the port of Unreal Engine 3 on Firefox showed at last year's GDC.

Mozilla managed to pull off the feat by running the C and C++ code games written through an Emscripten compiler. This process converts the complex programming into asm.js code, a supercharged subset of JavaScript pioneered by Mozilla, that can run on any browser.

Over the last year, Mozilla claims it has optimized the performance of web applications using asm.js from 40% to 67% native speed, or as if they were running on a user's own hardware.

Web-developed games

"This technology has reached a point where games users can jump into via a web link are now almost indistinguishable from ones they might have had to wait to download and install," Brendan Eich, CTO and SVP of engineering at Mozilla, said in a release.

The hope is this initial debut will help bring popular gaming titles to the web after showing developers the power and opportunities browsers can provide.

Mozilla and Epic will show off their web-powered games at GDC, so stay tuned for our first impressions of Unreal Engine 4 on Firefox coming next week.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.