If there was one overall message that summed up the big three E3 press conferences by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, it is that multi-device connectivity is the future. What I mean by multi-device connectivity is that you can use tablets, PCs, and smartphones to enhance your living room experience whether if it is watching movies/television shows, or playing games. While these three companies are finally getting around towards the idea for their consoles, it is pretty much the case generally in the world of technology where the devices we use every day will be connected to each other somehow. Certain audiences are ready to accept this future, but is the gaming demographic ready to accept such a change where all they want to do is just play games? It is probably too early to ask now and it depends whether people are willing to spend enough money to use that many devices.
Microsoft’s approach towards this future is called Xbox SmartGlass. It allows connectivity between the Xbox 360 console, Windows 8 PCs/tablets, and Windows phones. One of the primary examples they showed during their press conference Monday was watching a movie or a TV show on a console and then transferring it to a tablet to be continued there. While watching it on the television, SmartGlass allows the tablet to access information such as cast, characters, etc. Media was the big focus of their demonstration, but it also works for games as well as coming up with play formations in a sports game was one of the examples shown. They weren’t clear whether or not non-Microsoft devices will be supported during the conference, but later said iPhones, iPads, and Android tablets/phones will able to use SmartGlass. That is a relief for many of us because being limited to only Microsoft devices would of been a bad thing since they’re not as successful as Apple and Android on that front. Microsoft didn’t confirm any date when SmartGlass will launch, but that is going to be a big focus by them for the coming years.
Sony is the weakest of the big three so far regarding multi-device connectivity. There are already options connecting the Playstation 3 console and Vita handheld from playing games against each other and cloud saves, but the full potential has not been realized yet compared to Microsoft and Nintendo’s efforts. They still want to support mobile phones in a big way as they announced Playstation Mobile for Android. HTC was one of the big backers of this announcement pushing Android gaming on their phones. Sony weren’t clear, however, on whether or not we will see connectivity between Android phones and the PS3, but it is safe to say that they are trailing behind Nintendo and Microsoft towards the multi-device future.
Nintendo’s new Wii U console that is launching this holiday season is a good example of the future of multi-device integration in the world of videogames. I explained their new gamepad and Pro Controller announcements on Sunday along with their new social features, but there is more detail information after watching their press conference yesterday. The Wii U gamepad can be used as a TV remote for your television for example. Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass, Nintendo’s new Wii U console is its own beast in terms of connecting multiple devices. In other words, you don’t need another tablet or a phone to make it happen since the WiiU gamepad is pretty much a tablet in its own way. Nintendo going into the social networking realm with Miiverse is pretty big too as there will be an app coming for their 3DS handheld and all internet enabled mobile phones where you can interact Twitter style with your friends you made while playing Wii U games everywhere than just the console.
While this multi-device future for gaming sounds nice, at the end of the day, people just want to play games. Good thing, that is what E3 itself, aka the Electronic Gaming Expo, is all about. In other words, it is still all about going to the show floor and playing some of the hottest games that will come out in the next few months even though most of them won’t be out till early next year. The message from the press conferences by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo seems to say multi-device connectivity is the future despite reservations by some gamers toward this future. Sure, lots of us are afraid of change in general especially with technology, but we have to accept it eventually whether we like it or not. The money factor is also another reason some consumers are not ready to accept such a change. Are gamers willing to shell out hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars having multiple devices being connected at all times? They have with new console generations, but having tablets and phones that can potentially enhance your gaming and living room experience along with their console is a little too much to ask for now. The gaming demographic is tough to please these days and we will see if they are ready for the multi-device future.
|GOT A TIP? TELL US.||LIKE TO WRITE? contribute to TS.|
Write a blog about your startup, get 5 or more plugs and your startup will be featured here.
TigerStartups - Chicago, IL