A collection of 19 games and apps for the Xbox 360 are to be the first that make use of a second screen -- a tablet, smartphone, or PC -- as Microsoft rolls out the SmartGlass update on October 26 alongside the launch of Windows 8.
Games such as Dance Central 3, Forza Horizon, Halo's Waypoint and Kinect Sesame Street TV, sports TV apps like ESPN, NBA Game Time and UFC, and general entertainment apps including Elections 2012, HBO GO, MSN, NBC News and Univision are to support the service.
The intention is for a SmartGlass app to turn tablets and smartphones into remote controls for the Xbox 360, using them as second screens that show relevant sports stats and news, touchscreens and keyboards for big-screen web browsing, and recruiting them as companion devices for Xbox 360 games.
Although the Xbox SmartGlass app is being developed for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 devices in addition to Windows 8 and RT tablets and PCs, the indication is that adherents to Microsoft's own Windows OS will be at an advantage: second screen enhancements to TV shows and movies are specified as features for the Windows 8 tablet only, at least for now, and it's in the company's interests to incentivize use of Windows devices over Android and Apple alternatives.
Expanding the Xbox 360 in this way enables tech giant Microsoft to continue its pitch for the one-time games machine as an all round multimedia center, a position that fellow console manufacturers Sony and Nintendo would enjoy.
Both have sought partnerships with TV, movie and music companies and have their own second screen (or multi-screen) strategies to implement -- Sony by linking the PlayStation 3 and portable PlayStation Vita, in conjunction with a PlayStation Mobile suite for phones and tablets, and Nintendo with the upcoming Nintendo Wii U and its tablet-style controller.
Xbox SmartGlass official website: xbox.com/smartglass