The lights are on
Microsoft will be launching a completely new
SmartGlass app for use with its upcoming Xbox One console, promising better
performance and a host of new features.
The app will be released sometime in the 2013
holiday season for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.
The Xbox One will detect and connect with
your SmartGlass-empowered device in about four seconds and can support up to 16
(!!) devices at once. Once connected you'll be able to use it as a remote to
control both your Xbox One and TV functions like volume, etc. You can also
access and purchase items in on Xbox Live while playing a game.
Microsoft also says you will be able to use a
table or phone to engage in multiplayer matchmaking without interrupting your
current game. Also, Xbox Live general manager Ron Pessner said the company is
working on in-game SmartGlass help features.
"If you're having trouble in a game, you can tap a Help
button in SmartGlass that will give you contextually aware information for
whatever you're playing," said Pessner. "We're working closely with
developers today to add game help to individual Xbox One titles. This is done
by game creators making a help manual that we then host in SmartGlass. During
gameplay, SmartGlass follows your progress and knows exactly where you're at
and where you're having trouble, so that when you hit the Help button you'll be
given the tips you need."
Our Take:On the one hand, it's cool to see Microsoft
pushing it's Xbox content to more devices. Being able to, for example, buy
something on my phone while I'm at work then have it waiting for me when I get
home has some definite appeal. So does the idea of live game guides and hints,
if they are done right (that's a big if). Sometimes, though, I wonder if the
new systems are going to present me with too many ways to be distracted from
what I actually bought them for: playing games. Oftentimes, I look to games as
a way to get away from my phone. Still, the world is increasingly about
connecting multiple devices and SmartGlass is a smart play for Microsoft.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.