At the E3 conference on Monday, Microsoft announced a new application they’re developing to enhance your interaction with their console. It’s called XBOX SmartGlass and it’ll live on your phone or tablet (both iOS and Android). Watch the video above and see the use case for Game of Thrones, which shows you a map of where the action is currently taking place. While this experience will probably make explaining what’s going on in the show to your significant other a whole lot easier, I’m way more excited about the gaming potential.
Second-screen apps almost always seem to focus on providing more context to what’s on the primary screen and while that’s nice, it’s just not something I crave. But I do really like the idea of using the app to bring new dimensions to games. This next video shows a demo where the user draws up a new play in the Madden NFL game.
Now I’m far from what you’d call a gamer— I don’t even own a console, unless you count an iPad— but I used to play Madden quite regularly back in the day (bought and played it every year 2001-2007). However the prospect of being able to draw up my own plays, save them to a playbook, and then use them to beat people along with a digital version of the Redskins’ RGIII… well, that just makes me want an XBOX.
The above video also hints that you might be able to use the app as a controller as well. This could be a big step in bringing strategy games (think WarCraft, StarCraft, Command & Conquer) to consoles as the controls will clearly be better. Those games are still focused on the PC crowd, but maybe a more robust controller can bring some of that crowd over to the XBOX. At least, I bet that’s part of what Microsoft hopes.
Either way, I come away from these videos with one thing confirmed: the smartest people at Microsoft are the ones working on the XBOX and its future.