Brass Monkey Turns Smartphones Into Cloud-Based Game Controllers

August 29, 2011

2:30 pm

From the addictive properties of Angry Birds to the casual feel of playing Scrabble interactively via your iPhone, mobile gaming and cloud-based games are beyond-a-doubt popular.

With the rise of smartphones and increased connectivity, Boston-area startup Brass Monkey is looking to make a splash in the gaming industry with its cloud-based video game console. It utilizes a browser for the game display and leverages people’s smartphones as the game controllers. So in essence, any iPad or iPhone with the app on it can become the game controller, thus enabling game play with ease.

Brass Monkey is system agnostic and works with any web-enabled TV over wifi. They are working on enabling hundreds of games to use the control protocol.

The team of Dominick Accattato, Rebecca Smith Allen and Chris Allen co-founded Brass Monkey in 2010, spinning it out of five year old Infrared5, a web 2.0 development house. Chris Allen is now full time CTO and President of Brass Monkey; he has been joined by James Bull and Jonathan Leach as CEO and SVP Sales respectively, since it was re-launched as Brass Monkey.

Brass Monkey has had some good momentum as the company continues to grow. Since incorporating, Brass Monkey has been busy working on its software development kit (SDK), and they have partnered up with some companies to offer its controller capabilities to a handful of games, including Star Wars Trench Wars, which was the first game to integrate the technology. For the first time, you can use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a wireless game controller to play the Trench Run full screen on your computer at StarWars.com. This has been followed by other games from Suzuki and Alcatel-Lucent. Brass Monkey was also selected as one of 26 startup companies in the Mass Challenge competition. As a result they received mentoring from entrepreneurs, investors and even an office till mid-year on Boston’s Fan Pier.

This past June, Brass Monkey acquired the San Francisco-based and HTML 5 rich startup called Emotely. Emotely was a similar platform led by Francois Laberge, now Chief Innovation Officer and HTML 5 guru, as the company looks to make sure its experiences leverage the latest web standard. With Emotely on the West Coast, it also helps to strengthen the company’s overall presence as developers and brands begin building more interactive games and other content using their toolset.

It will be interesting to see what types of interactive games will be created using the Brass Monkey developer kit.  The one thing we all carry on us all the time – our mobile phone – will be turned into a powerful game controller. Aside from games, I could see some very interesting advertising displays being constructed that would enable passers by to control various components of a window display via a mobile device.

Brass Monkey is one company to keep an eye on.  Be sure to stop by and meet the team at Tech Cocktail Boston this Thursday!

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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