Earlier this morning, Eli and I spent some time with Xbox SmartGlass [Free]. It's the iPad and iPhone Xbox 360 companion app that, when paired with your 360, adds new functionality to select 360 games. In Dance Central 3, for instance, you can use your mobile to construct playlists in the game's Party Mode. In Halo 4, you can browse your character's stats as you play the core game. Halo 4's stuff is staggering -- kills, deaths, favorite weapons, previous match scores, medals earned and much more are viewable via the app.

Pairing is pretty easy, by the way. After you sign in to your Microsoft Live profile in the app, your device and 360 automatically sync. From here, you can browse the dash with your iPhone or iPad, easily switching between menus with taps and swipes. When you start a SmartGlass-supported game, your device automatically presents what it has to offer.

There's a lot of stuff we couldn't show you in this video today because it would have been wicked boring. For example, the Xbox Live Internet Explorer support. With the app, you can zoom in and out of the content shown on your TV. You can also just use this app as a controller, similarly to My Xbox Live's functionality.

On the downside, the app is a little slow. And, yeah, it's kinda dumb to use your iPad as a device that zooms in and out of a console-based browser since iPad has a fantastic browser that works way better. But some of what SmartGlass does now is cool, especially the Halo 4 integration.

Also, SmartGlass has potential. It'll be neat to see where Microsoft takes it and if developers embrace second-screen gaming. Fingers crossed that we see more than interactive stat-tracking and playlists in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/Micahsa Micah Peterson

    I appreciate you guys but in this case it you may not be the target audience.  I haven’t had the chance to try this out yet but just the Halo 4 stuff you showed looked like something I’d use pretty much every time I played.  If you’re playing FPS games for any length of time those statistics and numbers are of huge interest (at least to me) in improving my gameplay and recognizing my tendencies during matches.  The achievement/challenge stats are also really nice to have at your fingertips while playing.

    I also see other situations where you could have RPG minigames that take place on the ipad and the results are shown in-game, or quest list access and navigation. 

    I think the point is that for a general game player who plays on the surface of most games, this will likely not be of much use.  But for those players who delve deep into a genre and/or a specific game, this would open up a whole lot of content and enable those players to go even deeper.

  • http://twitter.com/crunchewy Crunchewy

    Regarding pairing - what if you have 2 Xboxes and they are both on? We have 2 and they are sometimes both on. Is it going to give me a list of xboxes to connect to or pick one randomly? I guess I will find out....

    • bradnicholson

      My guess is that it'll be a hassle, kinda like controller pairing.

    • isblackhawk

      I don't think pairing will be an issue because of the way Xbox love accounts work. You can only have an account active on one Xbox at a time. If you recover it on another console, it deactivates it on the other.

      • http://twitter.com/crunchewy Crunchewy

        Oh, right. Very good point. Was forgetting it was using your account on the iPad too.

      • bradnicholson

        oh yeah! forgot that, too. Neat.

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    I agree, just too much crap going on. I don't look at my controller when I'm playing, so I definitely don't want to have to pick up an ipad and look at that for trivial data.

    Also, all this info is available in the game menus for when you're bored as hell in a loading screen. So, it's nice to see Microsoft play nice with Apple, but it's not needed here at all.

    • http://twitter.com/crunchewy Crunchewy

      It would have been much cooler to have the iPad act as a live map, but then I suppose that might be like cheating. Apparently they use it like that in Forza Horizon - it's a GPS, showing your location and such.

      • General Bison

        Yup, that's how it's used in Forza, would be handy if it didn't crash every minute. I think you can also set destinations on the fly.

  • ExcaliburEdge

    Are you paying attention Sony?

  • General Bison

    I've had nothing but problems with the smartglass app. 
    Constant crashes on my iPad and for some reason it doesn't think it's on the same network as my Xbox so certain features are disabled.

    • skmcloughlin

      I don't thin ANY of the new features will work when the two devices think they're on different networks. The new app is an upgrade to the old Xbox live app. That's essentially what it defaults back to when not in SmartGlass mode.

      • General Bison

        Most features work but with latency. The feature I'd want to use the most, using the iPad as a keyboard, is disabled for some reason.

  • skmcloughlin

    Does anybody know if the Xbox Music service will be extended to iOs users as well?