Share & Connect
With an eye on the future, Microsoft unveiled quite a bit of interesting content for the upcoming gaming year at E3 2012. Connectivity is the name of the game that Microsoft seems to be playing. In many ways, the core of what the Xbox console really stands for with Microsoft has come to fruition. Originally designed to compete with the Playstation, the Xbox console has grown past competing with Playstation in terms of integrating itself into the lifestyle of gamers.
The xbox360, with XboxLive, already connected people to music, movies, TV and of course, games. What that meant for gamers was that all of their content was consistently available at their fingertips 24 hours, 7 days a week, with nearly no connectivity hiccups. This is evident now more than ever with the inclusion of Xbox Kinect and Xbox voice commands, features that have Nintendo and Sony playing a big game of catch-up even during last year’s E3.
This year however, it becomes obvious that Microsoft and its Xbox team are targeting not just dedicated gamers, but casual gamers as well. Gone are the days where only gamers own an Xbox360; it seems that Microsoft is creating new gamers out of just everybody that they can get their hands on. With plenty of projected life left for the Xbox360, Microsoft is continuing their strong focus for E3 on the 360 console even going so far as to tweak XboxLive for increased responsiveness and ease of use.
Now, music fans, movie buffs, TV addicts and hardcore gamers all converge on one console, the Xbox360. With E3, though no new gaming franchises have been introduced, the ones that do come out give new leases on life to fan favorite games. What Microsoft has done however, is taking another step to linking all of society onto the Xbox brand and franchise. Microsoft is not content to have just cornered the market on TV’s and PC’s with XboxLive and the Xbox360, their new SmartGlass is designed to go after the Tablets and Smartphones market as well.
To further enhance the user experience with Xbox360, Microsoft and the Xbox team have created Xbox SmartGlass. SmartGlass is an application that links several multimedia devices together. Watch a movie on the commute home via your smartphone or tablet and pick up immediately, seamlessly when you walk into your house by sending the movie to your TV with the SmartGlass software. Other projected features include the ability for SmartGlass to send you information through your mobile devices about a show that you’re watching on TV. SmartGlass also turns touch screen tablets and phones into gaming controllers as well, providing added versatility by connecting devices together be used in conjunction with one another.
Combining an online platform like XboxLive with connectivity software like Xbox SmartGlass provides multi-screen connectivity across multiple mediums to form a great market strategy. Working on PC’s and Tablets, Smartphones and Laptops, Consoles and TV’s, the SmartGlass service has huge potential for syncing up all the devices in your home with this one singular application. Designed to immerse users even further into the content that they already enjoy, SmartGlass gives users a further glimpse into content that they may not otherwise have access to without this new Microsoft application.
It could be a success, with a few caveats. If the process for installing this software doesn’t immediately confuse the average user, destroy the built-in software of any device that SmartGlass would be overlaying or cost an arm and a leg to purchase, the chances for success are much higher. There will likely be a learning curve but if Microsoft is smart, they’ll tailor the software with both general user and advanced settings. Whether users will want to use it as a gaming controller remains to be seen, perhaps certain games will have a greater attraction with the SmartGlass service but it remains to be seen.
A slick move on their part including not only Windows devices and PC’s, but Apple and Android products as well, Microsoft’s move to connect everyone’s screen is likely going to be a huge success. Still, while targeting iPhone’s, iPad’s and android devices is a great strategy, using a Windows Phone will likely have a few perks of its own on top of what you might get with an Apple or Android product. Likely, WindowsLive emails, already linked to XboxLive and Microsoft, will play a huge part in the ease of use department.
With Xbox bringing Internet Explorer to the 360, a likely rolling upgrade to Windows Mobile devices and Windows 8 on the horizon, SmartGlass will likely be bundled together as an overall improved user interface experience. With options and multiple retail launches likely, there could be different versions of the SmartGlass service depending on your mobile device, your cellular provider or any other number of factors.
The bottom line is that Xbox and Microsoft wants you, the end consumer, to remember that just because the Xbox360 has been around for a while, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road. Perhaps next year or later this year news of a new console will amaze and tantalize gamers but for now, Microsoft is making the statement that it’s here, it’s still innovating and thumbing their noses to Sony and Nintendo at the same time.
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