As far as gaming goes, the Xbox 360 and the Apple AppStore are my primary sources of entertainment. They’re easily accessible and, thanks to Microsoft’s app, Xbox SmartGlass, the two go hand in hand. But so far, SmartGlass support is limited, allowing interaction with the dashboard and Xbox apps such as Internet Explorer and YouTube, with a very limited number of games that are compatible with SmartGlass. With so many anticipated games on the horizon, there is no reason why they shouldn’t exploit the full capabilites of SmartGlass to their own ends.
Grand Theft Auto’s style of gameplay appears to be most suited to this kind of addition to the experience. In GTA 4, Niko’s mobile phone plays a big part in the story, receiving calls from stood-up girlfriends, useless family members and general psychopaths that need your help. Now what if SmartGlass was your character’s phone? Load it up with the game and have one crime lord or another calling to give you a job, listen in on frantic police radios as you murder your way to five stars, or even just acting as a button to press that detonates the bomb you just planted in a car. Features like that would really make a difference and draw players into the game more than before.
Besides GTA, though, there are games being released that SmartGlass might have a big impact on if it is integrated well. The upcoming Bungie game, Destiny, is one of them, with its promise of MMO gameplay on a console. Friends could use SmartGlass to request help during a difficult mission or customization of character through the app that could be done while still playing the game. Another is Splinter Cell: Blacklist, in which an array of technology will most likely be available to Sam Fisher to incapacitate enemies quietly. Have SmartGlass open and it could be used as snake cam or a device to control CCTV or other electrical equipment that you might use on Fisher’s stealthy adventures.
Ubisoft seem to have already jumped on the SmartGlass bandwagon, however, in its impressive-looking Watch Dogs where players will be given control over the cyber world by hacking into everything and anything. No details are known as to how SmartGlass will be involved in the gameplay, but it looks as though it will play a large part in the multiplayer and through being connected to friends who are playing the game, too.
First, SmartGlass needs to include more options for the dashboard, such as accepting party invites and listening to voice messages through the app. But if SmartGlass is eventually properly integrated into games, without excluding those without access to the app, then it could really enhance the experience of games, and with the advent of the next-gen Xbox, SmartGlass could really shine.