Well that was a relief. Colour us surprised when we discovered the Wii U web browser’s score in The HTML5 Test – which measures how compliant a web browser is with modern HTML5 web standards - a score of 323.
This puts Nintendo’s browser ahead of any other console’s – and within range of current desktop and smartphone browsers - for example it bests Microsoft’s brand new Xbox 360 browser (a port of Internet Explorer 9 which scores 120), which currently holds the console crown for the highest score in HTML5 compliance.
To hear (well, read) this makes us all very happy – not only can we use this browser and its wide featureset whilst in the middle of a game, but Nintendo have understood the importance of having a good browser (at least in terms of modern web standards) on an internet-powered device.
Who’s behind it? Given the quality of Netfront’s browser offerings on 3DS, Vita and PS3 when compared to the competition we’d be tempted to think that Wii U’s browser is the result of those NSTC job listings from a while back.
But perhaps Wii U is using Netfront NX 2.1 – which scores a similar tally of 325 points on the test. If this is the case, then we can expect content from the likes of BBC iPlayer to work in-browser, which is really quite neat.
The true test will be whether Nintendo/Netfront/whoever’s developing is committed to updating the browser. Wii’s Opera-powered browser was fairly up to date when it launched in late 2006, but fell behind due to a lack of love in the update department.
A brand new Vita browser is also listed under the “in development” section of HTML5 Test, which improves its score from 58 to 243 – we’d like to see Nintendo continually update their new browser over time, otherwise Nintendo risks falling behind in the future when compared to other casual browsing devices such as smartphones and tablets.