Xbox SmartGlass- Xbox One Functionality Smoke And Mirrors
Microsoft wants its app to work alongside the new console, but do gamers care?
Xbox SmartGlass will play an important role in Microsoft's Xbox One console/set-top device, or at least that's what the company said in its recent press conference. Did the powers that be list examples or show this technology in action? Of course not. Instead, we were left to speculate how this iOS and Android app will connect to a system that not only integrates with a person's television, but also plays games when users break from watching TV, chatting on Skype and searching for porn on Bing.
Unfortunately, SmartGlass comes off as a cheap gimmick designed to combat the Wii U's off-screen play. Granted, Microsoft never promised the option of putting the HD experience into gamers' hands, but loose talk of bonus features and maps (as with Forza Horizon) appeared to be the publisher's Band-Aid solution to compete with Nintendo. Now that the Japanese giant has struggled in selling the Wii U, the message has become murkier.
Odd, considering Microsoft boasted of 10 million downloads across both mobile platforms. That's a far cry from Angry Birds and Temple Run, but you can't discount the number. With 10 million potential users, we expect a detailed plan, and not just for Xbox One. What about Xbox 360? It would have been a smart idea to use the machine to test future technology. Instead, we're playing with Avatars.
To be fair, most companies would probably have a hard time communicating the message. It's easier to market the Wii U because everything you need comes inside the box. With SmartGlass, Microsoft wants consumers to also have smartphones and tablets, but where's the hook? How does it tempt people to download the app? Inserts in every game case? Fine, but what about digital downloads?
Perhaps most importantly, how will Microsoft get players to put down their controllers to stare at their touchscreens or use both in tandem? Casuals have enough issues working their way around the multi-buttoned game pads. Now they're expected to incorporate phones into the experience?
If Microsoft intends to use SmartGlass as a fancy channel changer or to see what's on TV, there's a good chance it'll flop. That is, if it hasn't already.