Well, E3 week is underway, and despite the fact that I don’t have the incredible luck of attending in person this year, rest assured that I’m on top of the news, starting with Microsoft’s conference that happened early Monday morning. For the most part, it was a relatively uneventful aside from when Usher came on stage and gave a performance that was both uninspired and incredibly awkward. I mean, honestly, you’d think game companies would learn that journalists really don’t care about flash and awe like this…
Anyhow, Microsoft did unveil one semi-interesting bit of news that’s actually sort of relevant to smartphone and tablet users as well. It’s called ‘SmartGlass’, and the idea behind it is one fueled by the new tablet-based control that the upcoming Nintendo console the ‘Wii U’ will bring to the table. Essentially, SmartGlass will let you connect your Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Windows Tablet, or whatever other smart device you own to your Xbox 360, and use it to receive push data from games, check up on scores while watching sports, search through various other options, pull up movies, send/receive game invites, etc etc, all while still playing the game with a traditional controller.
The only problem? Well, aside from the fact that it’s a remarkably poorly hidden Wii U response initiative, it- unlike Nintendo’s version- does not have the controller built into the touchpad. This means that if you’re playing the upcoming (and recently unveiled) ‘Halo 4′ and you want to check on some intel you gathered or accept a game invite, you have to pause the game, set down the controller, grab your tablet, and then continue from there.
On the upside? In my limited experience with the Wii U’s touch tablet, it seems as though traditional tablets are much smoother and more versatile, often having multitouch capabilities- something Nintendo’s screen lacks.
Still, it remains a toss up. Would you shell out $100 (minimum) for an extra controlling device?