E3 Impressions: XBox Smart Glass

Well I’ve done a lot of E3 coverage on the games lately, and I think it’s about time that we started talking a little bit of TECH don’t you? I also want folks to know that I’m an all inclusive gamer. I don’t want it to seem like I have a bias towards one company or the other just because I don’t happen to own a system to play games exclusive to it – SO let’s talk some XBox news shall we?

Microsoft’s press conference was loaded with some pretty awesome coverage of Kinect and their games, but there was something that definitely peeked my interest: XBox Smart Glass. Now what exactly is XBox Smart Glass:

What intrigues me about this concept is that Microsoft is realizing that gaming consoles are swiftly becoming hubs of peoples homes. Games are becoming more casual, movies are being streamed, music is being uploaded, and the web is practically a necessity in this generation of an interconnected world. So – how does Microsoft plan to answer this conundrum of how to provide all of this to mobile on-the-go families?

XBox Smart Glass.

Wii shows off Wii U, but Smart Glass looks sharp for sure!

The applications that you’ve seen above really grasped me. The idea that Microsoft will allow players to use their smartphones and tablets that they already own to interact with the 360 device is genius. They’re not asking for players to go out and buy a peripheral piece of hardware like they asked for when they released Kinect, but rather, they’re integrating their products into the already mobile lives of families and gamers. I’m sort of in love with this honestly. It’s not like I haven’t seen this before, in fact, this technologies been around for quite a while.

Tablet to TV? Awesomeness!

I’ve seen integrated screen technology being utilized by Microsoft and Apple for ages now. In Disneyland’s InnoventionsMicrosoft and HP fully utilize the integrated screen technology within the Disney Dream Home segment. They opened the exhibit in 2008 – so it’s been around. It’s a fantastic look at the usage that Microsoft can get out of their software and integration technology. Honestly, walking through that home, sometimes I wonder why some of these integrations haven’t been fully utilized in games. Well now that looks as though that’s about to change.

This is a girls room – look at how it customizes itself to the programmers interests!

If you want to learn more and take a virtual look of the Dream Home, check it out:

Disney Dream Home Tour

We’ve all heard about the voice command gaming using Kinect via Mass Effect 3 and other games, but what does Smart Glass bring to the table as far as accessibility? Well, here’s what I’m seeing. I see a gaming console that utilizes both voice controls via Kinect and touchscreen functions using your own tablet devices to bring a valued, immersive, and refreshing experience. All this would require is the download of an app to your phone or smartphone.

Clearly you can see from the demo that these ideas may actually make games like Madden, FPS games, etc. more accessible for those gamers with mobility issues. Imagine if you were able to play an FPS via a touchscreen, while still being able to interact and play with friends who participate via controllers. I would also love to see if they’ll start utilizing PC/XBox/Android cross play in the future. This technology may soon be able to shrink the boundaries and difficulties that many gamers find in trying to become valued and integral participants with their fellow gamers.

I thought for a moment that Wii U would be the leader in touchscreen gaming, but clearly XBox is trying to take a vast bite out of the newest console from their competition. I see so much potential in this that I can’t wait to pick up a 360 just to test out the future of this technology. I see a vast social and mobile aspect to this technology and I can only hope that Microsoft keeps up with this design!

Way to go Microsoft – you just set the bar for console accessibility in my opinion!

What are your opinions on the newest tech to be released by the tech juggernaut? Let me know in the comments below. How do you think this will change the face of the industry, accessibility for games, the way we design games, etc. I would love to hear from you all!

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