I’ve touched on this before, in fact I reference it quite frequently. And I’m glad to see that a great deal of people feel the same way about it. The Tablet. There is just something fundamentally acceptable about the Tablet. It seems to slipped its way into many homes, even with a somewhat hefty price tag for high end versions. Although, contrary to popular belief it is very possible to get fantastic performance tablets for well beneath to £160 mark if you simply look hard enough and do some research. And for as low as £5 you can even deck it out with digital painting programs that yield stunning results.
Although Microsoft announced their forthcoming plans for “Smart Glass”, this doesn’t really take the technology at hand and make the most out of it. No one really wants to have to look down into their lap to see the Mini-map when it lives in the corner of our HUD. What people want, is to go to a weapon bench and start adding parts to their favorite weapons and adjusting the cross hairs of their most loved sniper rifle to make sure they can put a round between two girders and into the opponent. What people want is a 1-1 reaction between game play and themselves, we don’t want quick time events or automatic lockpicking. Imagine picking a lock in the same way as you do in Splinter Cell, but doing it on a touch screen. Immersive right?
Use your phone or tablet to control what you’re seeing on TV. Easily explore the internet on your TV using your phone or tablet to browse, scroll, pinch, and zoom. Start playing one of your favorite shows, music, sports or games on a device and move it to your TV to keep watching on the big-screen.
Intelligently interact with your Xbox 360 with your phone or tablet. Enjoy rich second screen experiences that automatically change and customize based on what’s on TV.
Available on devices you already own
The Xbox SmartGlass app is available on Windows Phone or tablet, and the innovative Xbox SmartGlass technology is available on other major platforms in the My Xbox app.
So what exactly makes the Tablet one of the greatest potential interfaces for games? It’s optional. Every thing I just mentioned is already in games, but it’s all handled by the controller and your forced to stick to the confines of menus. Want to see the underside of your Avenger N7 rifle? Too bad. With a Tablet capability you could rotate it fully in full 360% range of motion, although obviously on a fixed axis. It would completely negate the need for unwieldy Inventory screens. In my opinion their is nothing worse than a menu in a game. My example for you is this. Resident Evil 4 had the best inventory screen ever. The attache case forced you to manage your gear and equipment strategically, so the game was easier than those that came before it, but still retained all the struggle and horror elements that made them great.
Resident Evil 5 on the other hand, has one of the worse Inventories I’ve personally, ever encountered. The game was fine (although anemic when compared to the rest of the franchise) but the inventory broke it for me. Who in the hell of it, wears their Armour, that is kept in the pocket of their armour? He would turn into a damn singularity.
The game could have been improved like this. The character has a literal attache case that is carried with him/her, when you swap gear they open the box and switch the kit around, thus adding suspense while swapping, and strategic item management. But this would all be amplified by the fact that there wouldn’t be menus on screen, and the game hasn’t been paused, its all happening in real time on the Tablet in your lap. But like I said, it’s optional. If you don’t have a Tablet, this action can easily be mapped to the D-pad and made trigger sensitive.
It’s things like this that Smart Glass is destined for, but unlikely to be expanded upon. But it would certainly be a game changer, and at the very least the most important jump forward in gaming controls since the analogue stick. Just cross your fingers you never see Minecraft integration. the moment that happens is the moment we all stop going outside.