The lights are on
Find out more of how you'll be using your phone or tablet to interact with your Xbox 360 this fall.
We met with Microsoft to see a little more on what the Xbox SmartGlass program will be capable of and came away hopeful that it will live up to expectations. It will be a free download on whatever app store you prefer (iOS, Android, Windows), and at its base level will serve as a remote in which you can navigate the 360's menus or enter text into a virtual keyboard. Unfortunately, Microsoft cannot guarantee that the app will be available on all platforms simultaneously, but it seems to realize the importance of including as many phone and tablet types as quickly as possible.
Up to four devices can connect to a single 360 at any given time (any mix of tablets or phones). As we saw at the Microsoft press conference, HBO's Game of Thrones will fully support SmartGlass. As of now, it features a realtime interactive map showing the location of whatever scene you're watching at that time. You can also access guides to all of the houses and lineages and an episode timeline.
Next, we saw the potential of SmartGlass with movie viewing. Microsoft brought up School of Rock from freshly announced partner Paramount Pictures. The remote functionality allows viewers to easily scrub through the film to access any point of it instantly. You can also tap the "Who's on screen?" icon and get a realtime display of all the actors currently in the scene you're watching. When you tap on an actor's name it brings up a bio, filmography, quotes, and scenes in the current movie. The latter option means you can easily get to your favorite part of the movie without having to deal with predetermined chapter breaks. Say you're watching Animal House (not currently confirmed by Microsoft) and want to see the part where Jim Belushi uses mashed potatoes to imitate a zit, you can easily browse all the scenes he appears in and pinpoint that cafeteria scene.
Movies and shows are great and all, but how do games figure in? Mobile-friendly Ascend: New Gods features an "Oracle" that brings up a minimap of the current dungeon you're in the instant you enter it. You can also take a peek at the stats of a new boss or player that enters your world to inform your decision to fight or flee. A holiday baseball title called Homerun Stars features both Smartglass and Kinect functionality, allowing a SmartGlass player to pitch to a Kinect batter or vice versa. Microsoft also showed off an as-yet-unnamed karaoke title that supports up to 8,000 tracks. When one of your friends is singing at a party, others can browse the available tracks and queue up a playlist so there's no waiting around between songs. This intriguing feature has also been confirmed for Harmonix's just-announced Dance Central 3. Another neat tidbit about the karaoke game? You can actually alter the key of the song in SmartGlass to better match your vocal range.
That's pretty much all Microsoft would talk about in regards to SmartGlass for now, but we'll be waiting in anticipation throughout the rest of the summer for new functionality ideas and confirmed release dates.
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
So far I think this is the most interesting announcement at the show. There is so much potential for this type of setup to change the way we enjoy entertainment.
This is going to be amazing. Now hopefully they wont over look people in countries other than US and UK.
That. Is sick.
Sounds cool. It would be awesome if you could use your iPhone to type in text when sending messages or recovering gamer tags instead of using the onscreen keyboard. And the tracking of faces in movies seems cool, too. It's always interesting to see how companies are planning to use technology, and it's even cooler when they pull it off.
Hmmm, like i have said before, it will be great if devs actually use it
If implemented correctly and if devs pick up the tech and start using it in games, this could be really awesome. I pretty much always have my phone next to me when I game anyways, if I could also have game stuff on my phone to enhance the experience that's awesome.
I like this a lot. Hopefully it works great.
Sounds like they took the GBA/Gamecube model and modernized it. Way to upgrade.
I really like this idea just for the fact if I get an in game message I can type out a response on my I pad the Xbox virtual keyboard is slow and I don't like the chat pad.
This was honestly a very interesting part of the show, even though it received a lot of hate from the gamer crowd. The concept is an awesome idea, and I really want to see more.