Microsoft teased the release of the next generation of Internet Explorer by unveiling an online game crafted to show that websites can be as richly playful as "apps."
A free-to-play version of hit iPhone and iPad application Contre Jour that highlights capabilities of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) web browsing software went live online at contrejour.ie on Tuesday.
"Contre Jour is really a representation of where the Web can go," IE general manager Ryan Gavin said while demonstrating the game for AFP.
"It starts to show off that, in many respects, touch is the new fast when it comes to the Web."
The physics-based puzzle game, inspired by "The Little Prince," a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, stars an eyeball character named "Petit" searching an immersive world for water droplets to save a cherished rose from withering.
In a reversal from most videogames, players control the environment instead of the character.
Gavin played the game on a Microsoft Slate tablet computer, using jabs and swipes of fingers to raise or lower terrain and swing Petit over obstacles with what could be viewed as virtual versions of elastic tentacles.
The game takes advantage of the fact that IE10, running on new Windows 8 operating software, allows programs to take commands from as many as 10 fingers simultaneously.
In order to complete the third level of Contre Jour, players need to use at least three fingers at one time on a touch-screen, according to Gavin.
Bringing Contre Jour to a website was meant to demonstrate that technology such as multi-touch and HTML5 are opening doors to online experiences on par with those found in "apps" for smartphones and tablet computers.
"The larger theme is that the Web we know today is not going to be the Web that we know of tomorrow," Gavin said.
"People will continue to see richer and richer sites, and a defining element of this is going to be touch."
In contrast to the swipes, pinches, taps, and other gestures used on touchscreens, browsing the Internet remains geared for navigation with a computer mouse, Gavin lamented.
"Our job is to help people realize the Web doesn't need to be as one-dimensional as it is today," he said.
IE10 will make its debut with the new generation Windows 8 operating system on October 26.
That same day, scores of real-world Microsoft stores will "pop up" in the United States and Canada to showcase the technology giant's latest gadgets, including the new Surface tablet computer.
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