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Xbox Smart Glass Is How Tablets Should Be Used For Gaming [Opinion]

Today, Kellen, Tim and I have been geeking out over Microsoft’s press conference to start the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3. Near the end of their presser, while listing off all the new things coming to the Xbox 360 to keep you centered around it, they showed off “Smart Glass,” a feature they hope to implement into their tablets and phones (albeit WP7 devices) that I think is the way that games should be done on mobile devices. 

At it’s core, Smart Glass is a feature that allows mobile devices to be linked with your TV and Xbox so that when you are watching content on either device, the other knows. For example, you’re watching a movie on your tablet and you switch to your TV. Your tablet will soon give you a list of information on the movie, cast and characters and bios, while you watch the movie. They then moved on to show how it could be used for gaming. In Madden 13, before the play happens you can pick up your tablet and draw out the play with your finger before setting it down and executing it. In the clip for Halo 4 they showed Master Chief unlocking a piece of intel that could be read on the tablet.

In my opinion: perfect.

With a few exceptions, I find gaming on tablets very lackluster and not very fun. Trying to shoehorn an old way of gaming (on-screen controls) into a new medium is not a good plan of attack, and something needs to change. The next Nintendo console, the Wii U, has a controller that is a tablet basically. The possibilities grow as the games get more in-depth. If a major game developer puts time and money into the idea of a tablet alongside the console, great things can happen. That being said, it’s probably going to take a lot of time and effort to make things seamless to the point of releasing.

The question is, will we see any of these for Android tablets? For Xbox probably not. Microsoft will likely do everything in their power to make sure that an Android tablet never talks to a Microsoft product in any way, while pushing their upcoming Windows 8 tablets as much as possible. We are hearing rumors that it was confirmed for iOS and Android but given Microsoft’s overall tone with Android lately it’s questionable we will ever see it. Sony however has a console, the Playstation 3, and their own Android tablets, the Tablet S and P. Maybe that connection will allow Android to have some future in this kind of integration. What do you think? Would you like to use your tablet to increase the experience of your console game, or have it be the game itself?

  • Andrew Elliott

    I really love it….bring gaming to a whole new level. And the fact that I heard one of the Microsoft PR people state that it will work on any mobile device you currently own makes me even happier about it. No you have to buy this tablet for it to work. Very cool.

  • EvanTheGamer

    Not to nitpick, but it’s actually Xbox SmartGlass(no space). lol


    I thought I mistakenly logged onto xbox-life.com for a couple minutes…

  • DontBeConfused

    MS mentioned android. It was about the only interesting thing that Microsoft showed this E3. I don’t care for its overall use, but I loved the connectivity of the devices. As an android lover and PlayStation fan, I hope something similar is introduced eventually. Google and Sony work together… so how about you guys make this happen

  • Scott Willenborg

    Watch a Blu-Ray movie with Pocket Blu now. VERY interactive with the film plus you can control the movie and watch behind the scenes items. You can actually “flick” the snippets up the tablet screen and it plays on your TV then. This Microsoft thing sounds very much like that.

  • What I would rather see is for phones to use Wifi direct to display games on a TV, and the phone being a dedicated controller — as in controls only, no actual game video. I rather like touch screen controls (over physical ones) as long as it’s not covering up the game. We are a couple of years away from this though, and then another 1 or 2 for technology adoption.

  • BA_Carroll

    Did they say if it would work on just the phones or the tablets too?

  • I am an Android fan and an Xbox fan. These 2 things don’t mix and it makes me sad. My Android phone will never fully integrate with my Xbox.

    • WickedToby741

      Did you watch the press conference? They were very clear is meant to work on existing devices, even existing Android devices. it appears this offers more integration than even Google TV for Android devices.

      • I guess that’s what I get for reading articles and comments before actually watching the announcement.

  • XIII

    Actually, if you watched the presser, it was stated that Smart Glass would be available for any device, including Android and iPhone. And would work on existing devices you already own. They stated that several times so I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on that. While I’m sure that devices running Windows platforms will get enhanced features, it will still be able to be integrated across them all.

    This was the only good and interesting thing to come out of MS’s press event.

  • sahilm

    I saw another site also say that Android and iOS has been promised by Microsoft, so we can hope that they will work well together.

    Frankly, the only way Smart Glass can work is if they have deep cross-platform support. No one is going to get a windows 8 tablet to draw a Madden 13 play alone.

    Maybe by releasing a cross-platform product that works well, Microsoft can show Android and iOS users that they make good products, and I would then be willing to maybe give Microsoft a chance on a Windows 8 tablet.

    MSFT’s reputation is really in the dump right now, and releasing a good, working, platform that functions well on the 2 most dominant platforms is the best way, IMO, to help.

    • EricRees

      I hope that this is what happens. I really want MSFT to work with people on this but I’m not getting my hopes up lol.

  • JBX77

    They did say Android. I remember hearing it…

  • If you listen to what the say at E3, this will work with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android.

    • EricRees

      I heard that, I’m currently under the status of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” I’m skeptical that Microsoft would extend that branch.

      • MikeCiggy

        They made a very big deal about bringing these features to devices “you already own” and we all know that, that’s not a windows phone lol

      • WickedToby741

        This extends the functionality of the Xbox, so it’s beneficial for them to do it. They said very clearly, multiple times “this will work with devices you already own.” Those aren’t Windows 8 devices. Obviously, Windows 8 devices will likely have more features, but this will work on Android and iOS devices.

        • It will also be in typical microsoft limited exclusivity style

          • WickedToby741

            I don’t think so. You see, Microsoft can use this as a sort of point of entry for trying to convert you to Windows Phone. To use this, you already own an Xbox, and you’re likely using a Windows PC. If you’re using a Windows 8 PC or tablet, Microsoft stands an even better chance.

            What they’ll be able to do is surround you with Metro and hook you into the Microsoft ecosystem. Then, they’re hoping it will be much easier to make the switch to a Windows Phone. By exposing you to Metro on the Xbox and possibly the PC as well as presumably this app, they’re getting you used to Metro. They’re also warming you up to the Microsoft ecosystem as opposed to the Google one. If the app is hobbled in any way for Android, Microsoft can’t do this.

            At the very least, they may convince you to upgrade your current PC to Windows 8 or to choose a Windows tablet over an Android one. Microsoft is prone to make riskier moves in the smartphone and tablet space because they have little to lose there and a whole lot to gain. It may not seem like typical Microsoft to offer full fledged services on a competing platform, but Microsoft isn’t used to being the underdog either. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I think this is a well played move by Microsoft to drum up more interest in their products as a whole. It’s similar to how Apple offered iTunes on Windows to sell more iPods but to also ease people into the Apple ecosystem.

          • It was more a joke but I do realize Microsoft is trying to make a savy business move by doing this its just the amount of timed exclusives they do annoys me some days.

          • michael arazan

            At e3 they said it will cross multiple devices from android and ios to window phones and all 3 os tablets too. It will all use the exact same code for the multiple devices so that way it will be simpler for developers.

        • NemaCystX

          yes but they released a disclaimer shortly after the press conference that certain devices will get all the features and certain ones will not. Think of it like Hulu Plus fragmentation.

      • You should believe that — it’s actually not a new thing from Microsoft. They had developed software for competing platform in the past, like Office for Mac. Now, you might ask why there’s never been an Office for Linux, but let’s admit it, there’s never been enough users on Linux who want Office.

      • NemaCystX

        They’ll leave out the Gaming part and the Xbox Music part of it I bet to keep those exclusive to Windows devices

    • GianCarlo Bregaglio

      Agreed, it was clearly stated that it will work with Android, Windows Phone and iPhone. It isn’t a rumor, it’s a fact.

  • WAldenIV

    I’d rather have phone integration in clever ways, e.g., hidden QR codes that unlock additional but unnecessary content. When I want to use my tablet for gaming or entertainment, I want to use my tablet for gaming or entertainment. I don’t want to suck the battery life out of my tablet just for it to be additional screen space.

    • Matt Gondek

      My problem with “bonus content” is that companies love to use it as a way to suck more $$$ out of someone who just paid 60 bones for a game

      • WickedToby741

        Like EA’s Battlefield Premium pack for an “incredible value” of $49.99?

      • WAldenIV

        I’m talking about short video clips or faux websites and the like that would add even more detail to a game, not actual levels or content required to complete anything.

        • Matt Gondek

          That’s interesting. How about an instant replay after an awesome kill?