HTML5-Centric Artillery Raises $2.5M To Make the Browser The Console

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A challenging area that has seemed perpetually ahead of its time, HTML5 gaming has seen many startups come and go as Flash or native iOS and Android development have held their own. Yet the lure of having true cross-platform play keeps entrepreneurs coming.

Now some former early Facebook and early Google engineers are attacking the problem with a new startup called Artillery. They’ve raised funding from a stellar cast of investors including First Round Capital, Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson’s Signia Ventures, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz, longtime former Googler Ben Ling, Greylock’s Ali Rosenthal, Bubba Murarka, Tim Ferriss, Crunchfund and Kevin Colleran, who was one of Facebook’s first 10 employees.

“We set out to solve the problem that real games don’t exist in the web browser,” says CEO Ankur Pansari, who was an early Facebook engineer.

Pansari says now that smart TVs increasingly come with browsers, there is a growing base of devices including smartphones, tablets, PCs to larger-format screens that should really support HTML5 gaming.

“The $40 billion console business — we feel like it should move to the web,” he said.

They’re starting with building real-time, synchronous games, but ultimately plan to work with third-party developers. With three people on the team, they’re looking for more. They outlined “Six Impossible Problems” they’re setting out to solve including making “high-fidelity, resource-hungry games run perfectly in JavaScript.”

Pansari says the issue with other HTML5-centric gaming companies like Moblyng, which shut down earlier this year, is partially timing. But it’s also that many companies tend to focus on the mobile element of HTML5-gaming, when making HTML5 titles work on desktop or laptop-browsers is more feasible now. Another Artillery competitor is Game Closure, which has raised $12 million from Highland Capital Partners, Greylock Partners, Benchmark Capital and General Catalyst Partners.