In a press briefing short on surprises, Microsoft's SmartGlass stood out. While the demos on stage were concept prototypes, we can expect the functionality to be incorporated among all Microsoft first-party games going forward.
The cross-platform function is planned to work with any mobile device, from phones to tablets, giving extra info while playing a game or providing something to do while you're away from the living room. Microsoft Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer told Joystiq that the functionality will appear in all games from the company after the feature is launched.
Though Spencer didn't outline specific plans, the Halo Waypoint function we saw displayed at the press conference was used as an example to provide multiplayer GPS tracking. Spencer also mentioned "Ascend," a separate Halo experience played away from the TV that will feed info back into the game.
While we've seen some similar functions with mobile apps devoted to games like Mass Effect 3, SmartGlass is its own application that houses all of the functions itself. "So you have this surface, this smart surface, that sits on any device that you already own that's always in sync with what's happening on the television, and it knows where to go and grab the right content to display at the right time, to make sure that if you're playing Halo, then the Halo surface is available on SmartGlass," said Spencer.
Halo 4 is planned for release this fall, and it seems likely that it will be one of the first major uses of SmartGlass in a game.