PCs do it better: why I don't care about Smartglass
Microsoft unveiled their new Smartglass technology at the E3 press event on Monday. Smartglass lets your iOS, Android or Windows phone tablet/smartphone act as a second interactive screen. As mentioned at the E3 presentation, the “magic of smartglass” occurs when “devices work together to immerse you in entertainment."
The more screens the better, basically. But PC gamers already know that. And we've used known it for ages. A Supreme Commander overview, a DayZ map, your favourite humourous gif? All second monitor material. And using your PC to stream info to a touch screen is nothing new. I used Logmein to maximise my TOR crafting from the comfort of my living room. And I loved it. Even though it was stupid.
Microsoft’s example? Choose your Madden NFL play via the touchscreen or display an FPS HUD. Not very inspiring or practical. As for the rumours that Watch Dogs will utilise Smartglass to display targets and biographies, along with a friends list: slightly more exciting. But not as good as toggling it on and off by pushing a key.
I can understand why console kids would like the idea of an extra input. And having a secret screen could bolster developer’s options for asymmetrical multiplayer. But MS didn’t have any of that to show off. Guess they’re leaving that to one of PC’s creative indies.
Then there's the case of "enhancing" video playback. PCs can already do films, TV and games simultaneously. We've already got interactive live coverage through our browsers. And their example was silly to boot: a constantly updating map of Westeros as you watch Game of Thrones. HBO clearly love their award winning introduction sequence a little bit too much. If I’m watching GOT I’ll continue to focus on blood, boobs, and Tyrion, thanks.
Do you care about Smartglass? And why does it make me so angry?