Why Xbox SmartGlass could help Nintendo more than it does Microsoft

Today, Microsoft revealed SmartGlass, a technology that can turn almost any touchscreen device into an extension of the Xbox 360. For entertainment, this means being able to start watching a television show or movie on the go and continue on your TV - and for games, it means using the second screen as a touch-based interface for creating your own plays in Madden or being given access to additional information in Halo.

It's likely the biggest thing Microsoft revealed at the show, and might be one of the more interesting revelations out of E3, but while some are pointing at it as a "Wii U" killer, it might actually be more beneficial to Nintendo than it could ever be to Microsoft.

Above: Check out Microsoft's full unveiling of SmartGlass

Besides the obvious issues with HD graphics and online gameplay, the Wii's controller was one of the roadblocks in the way of bringing third-party games to the system. Developers don't often feel like creating console-specific versions of their games, and since third-party games often sold poorly when compared to AAA Nintendo releases, many developers simply didn't bother at all. And honestly, we couldn't blame 'em.

While the Wii U will remove the graphical hindrance, the inclusion of a touchscreen on the controller has the possibility to create that hurdle all over again. Developers of AAA games would need to make use of it in some way, just to make it work on the Wii U. With Microsoft's unveiling of SmartGlass, however, that all changes.

Now, if EA were to spend millions of dollars creating an interesting user-interface for the Wii U version of Dead Space 3, that cost wouldn't be for the Nintendo release alone. A modified version of the interface could be made for SmartGlass as well, further fleshing out the Xbox 360 Dead Space 3 while creating a version that takes full advantage of the Wii U GamePad. Instead of beating Nintendo at its own game, Microsoft may have helped it out tremendously.

This works in Microsoft's favor as well, obviously, as it assures that Xbox 360 copies will continue to have the complete experience instead of lagging slightly behind the Wii U. It also helps extend the current generation's lifespan even more by allowing parity between the Wii U and the Xbox 360 - odds are we'll see the Vita being tagged to the PS3 in the same way, creating an interesting generational dynamic where all three systems have features that can optionally extend to a second screen.

We're hoping to find out more about SmartGlass, the Wii U, and the likely Vita/PS3 partnership as E3 continues.


  • bash street kid - June 12, 2012 7:49 p.m.

    All I want is good games. Never had any issue with a good old fashioned controller.
  • tehtimeisnow - June 12, 2012 3:08 p.m.

    smartgalss is a amazeing innevatoin and it will change the way we play ganes useing a ipad and iphone will b so awesome but wiiu on th other hand is nothing more then a gimmeck for childern seruoisely it has bad grafics and its a steaming pile of garbege stay away from it
  • TheMariner - June 12, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    I'll grant you that the ability to watch movies on a tablet and seamlessly pick up at the same point on your TV is something Wii U can't do but there's nothing else I saw in that video that wouldn't be able to be done with the Wii U. So if the ability to watch movies when away from your console really makes the difference between garbage and a true innovation then you have simple standards. Also, considering the fact that the Wii U is at least on par with current consoles from a graphical standpoint, your comment about 'bad grafics' goes right out the window (along with your education considering your atrocious spelling).
  • Waggy - June 5, 2012 3:48 p.m.

    The problem the PS3/Vita setup will have is that the Vita so far has been underwhelming in sales, so while it may be similar to the Wii U, no one is using it as such. Also, the cost to purchase both is extremely high, making it more difficult to compete. The problem with the SmartGlass is that most mobile devices don't have gaming buttons. At least with the Wii U Gamepad, it has the same buttons found on a PS360 controller. At least Microsoft can rely on the fact that there are more people with a smart phone than a Vita. Nintendo announced essentially the equivalent of the 360 controller, so if a developer decides not to support the Gamepad, they're still able to support the Wii U. Essentially, it will then come down to first-party and third-party support for Nintendo's new system.
  • Tjwoods18 - June 12, 2012 2:05 p.m.

    All the Vita needs is more games then it will be set. Right now I only got resistance and MGSV to keep me company.
  • TheMariner - June 13, 2012 8:41 a.m.

    It seems from those that you're a shooter-type person. However, if you're looking for something novel that really takes advantage of the Vita's systems, I can't recommend Gravity Rush highly enough.
  • jedisamurai - June 5, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    SEGA tried all this a long time ago...and it was a flop. It was called "VMU" and it was used with the Dreamcast.
  • TheMariner - June 5, 2012 9:11 p.m.

    The VMU itself wasn't a flop, the Dreamcast as a whole was. The VMU, as well as several aspects of the DC were ahead of their time; the tech simply wasn't up to speed with the ambition. Now that we have tablets and such, evolutions of VMU-like ideas such as SmartGlass and the Wii U GamePad have the chance to flourish and really add something meaningful to the experience.
  • jackthemenace - June 5, 2012 2:15 p.m.

    Well, the only touch screen thing I own is my iPod, and something tells me I aint gonna be connecting THAT to a Microsoft system any time soon.
  • wheresmymonkey - June 12, 2012 2:18 a.m.

    You will be. MS announced that it was going to have versions for ios, android and windows based tablets/phones. Best thing about samrtgalss is that if you have naything with a touch screen its probably going to be compatible
  • chiefbeanflicker - June 5, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    vita doing this shit right now!
  • ObliqueZombie - June 5, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    The best thing to come out of this pointless video was the Halo 4 multiplayer footage.
  • ObliqueZombie - June 5, 2012 8:32 a.m.

  • jmcgrotty - June 5, 2012 2:24 a.m.

    Are you kidding me?! This thing is going to be nothing more than an insignificant side-note that no one will use. Seriously, I cannot believe that anyone is giving a crap about this. It's irrelevant and no one will use it.
  • FaceEater - June 5, 2012 5:38 a.m.

    I'll be using it. So you're entire "argument" is wrong. Therefore you hold no credibility whatsoever.
  • Tjwoods18 - June 5, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    It is the same thing all the way around. Nobody will really use their Vita's as an extention of their ps3, nor will they really utilize this as for their 360 experience. If anything nintendo is in the right direction because atleast they give the slate with the console.
  • ChaosEternal - June 4, 2012 8:05 p.m.

    If the hypothesis at the end of the article came to pass, it would be pretty interesting. I'm not sure such a thing has every happened, where the other consoles on the market adapt to compete with a newer generation console in such a way.
  • zombi3grim - June 4, 2012 7:22 p.m.

    Okay, but Smartglass isnt for gameplay. Its just information. Its just to enhance, its not required. So the cost would be MUCH lower to implement a map or character biographry that works on tech you already own (iphone, ipad) then something the developer would HAVE to implement with the Wii U to controle the damn game.
  • TrAnMu - June 4, 2012 8:23 p.m.

    The developer doesn't HAVE to do anything. They can develop whatever they like and they can make full to no use of the screen if they so choose. Stop trying to create issues that are nonexistent and try to be optimistic for all of gaming for once.
  • zombi3grim - June 5, 2012 1:01 a.m.

    Lol, you have no concept of the Wii U or what its going to be. You think Nintendo is going to put all this money into these controllers and give developers a CHOICE if they want to use it or not? No. Just like all DS games use both screens, all Wii U games will use the controller screen. They have no choice. Nintendo will make them use it or not publish their games on their console.

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