E3 2012 opened with a bang as Nintendo and Microsoft each squared off to fight for tablet supremacy with announcements to bring Second Screen to the console.
It seems that we’re destined for tablet-gaming future. So which one will make the cut?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the two:
The new gaming console from Nintendo is a high-definition, motion-control, wireless tablet controller that can be paired with the Wii U console box. Fitted with a screen directly in the controller itself, Nintendo intends for the Wii U to supplement, and in some cases, replace, the gaming experience which usually occurs entirely on the television screen. When in-game, the tablet screen can be used in a variety of ways (e.g. as an inventory screen, sniper rifle lens, tactical scanner screen), all of which can enhance gameplay. Along with the announcement of the Wii U, Nintendo also announced a variety of new titles for the Wii library, a few of which are “Assassin’s Creed: American Revolution,” “ZombiU,” “Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition,” and “Super Mario Bros.”
Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass is technology that turns any mobile device into your Xbox remote control. With SmartGlass, users can push content from their Xbox 360s to their mobile devices and vice-versa. Users will be able to start a movie or listen to a song on their mobile device, and finish it when they get home. SmartGlass was also designed to perform as a Second Screen, providing supplementary information (such as cast lists when users are watching a film or game stats when users play a video game) at appropriate points. SmartGlass aims to bring together all your entertainment needs and centralize it around the Xbox 360.
So what’s the difference?
The main difference between the two lies in the fact that the Wii U is gaming hardware whereas SmartGlass is software. This may actually give Microsoft an edge, as the technology could be easily rolled out and adopted (Microsoft made a point in saying that SmartGlassworks across multiple platforms – Apple, Android, and Windows).
On the other hand, as a gaming device, the Wii U offers better integration. It offers users a supplement to the gaming experience without having to break the action (using the tablet controller as an inventory list or scanner) rather than giving gamers stats on the game (and essentially forcing them to pause the game to read it).
So who will it be? The Wii U or SmartGlass?
It looks to be Microsoft Xbox’s SmartGlass. While it seems to simply be nothing more than a Second Screen, the technology could have potential to assimilate itself into a large part of our daily lives (through small activities such as listening to music, watching movies, etc.) and its compatibility with a huge range of mobile devices makes it easier for the technology to be adopted.
Don’t get me wrong, both the Wii U and SmartGlass definitely have bright paths ahead. We can expect more details to come out as E3 rolls on, but regardless I have to say that the future with the Wii U and SmartGlass looks to be pretty sweet.
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