Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 has been around for years now, providing the backbone for many of the games we've obsessed over in recent times. While the version 3 update to Epic's proprietary engine was originally used for PC games and current gen consoles, increasingly powerful hardware has brought Unreal's processing power to mobile devices and, now, your web browser.
It's possible because of Flash Player 11. Epic boss Tim Sweeney demoed the added support this week at Flash creator Adobe's annual developer conference, Adobe MAX 2011. The demo showcased Unreal Tournament 3 running inside a web browser, with what looks in screenshots at least like console-quality results.
Sweeney said during his keynote that the latest version of Flash ups the 2D and 3D graphics rendering over the previous version by a factor of 1,000. The goal of course being to bring console-quality experiences to your browser window. Imagine having a version of Unreal Tournament 3 (or some other multiplayer-focused UE3 game) integrated with your Facebook profile.
The widespread use of Unreal Engine creates new opportunities for a vast number of games. The reality surely isn't as simple as "it runs on UE3 so it can run in your browser," but with games like Rocksteady's Arkham titles, BioShock Infinite, Borderlands (and its coming sequel), DmC and so many others built on Epic's engine, the possibilities are certainly tantalizing.