Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Smartphones Are Game Controllers With New Tech

Just the other day I noted that Qualcomm has a new chip to make it easy to connect tablets and smartphones to HDTVs, by beaming the output wirelessly. If you already have your HDTV on the Internet (with an Internet-connected TV, or by a computer connected to it), now your connection to a smartphone is already here. Brass Monkey makes an SDK for game developers to turn smartphones (iOS, Android, and others) into game controllers, and they've just acquired Emotely, adding instant multi-user capability and HTML 5 support.

What's it all mean? Well, for starters, a variety of controller options for games that are being piped into your HDTV. Users can even create their own control configurations and share them. This technology is usable right away if you've got a web-based game that can be shown on your computer or your TV, and you can have up to 8 players in the game with a simple app. This will be a supercharger for the Apple TV/Android TV boxes, enabling very cool gameplay options. Instant party games where everyone hauls out their smartphones and plays the same game. Your smartphone, while lacking joysticks and buttons, has a dizzying array of sensors and a nice screen that can be configured in near-infinite variety to meet the needs of each game. Plus you can get hidden information... the drawbacks of a touchscreen as a controller are minimized when you have a screen dedicated to a control interface, rather than trying to have the screen do double duty as the play field and the controller.

I expect game developers should be all over this, as the SDK seems very flexible and easy to implement. It's going to be another nasty blow to the current console market. Sure, Nintendo's new console will have a controller with a screen... but they will be expensive and have several orders of magnitude fewer games.

Board games should be heading for the family room TV with this technology... it's a major opportunity for the adventure game field, if only they can figure out how to grasp it.

A tip of the hat to Steve Pieraldi for spotting this technology... it's definitely a gamechanger... ahem.

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