Microsoft has announced a new push to connect its Xbox gaming console with phones, tablets and PCs at the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles.
Microsoft 'SmartGlass' will allow your phone and tablet to communicate with an Xbox 360, controlling games and displaying information about movies and TV shows while you're watching them.
"What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger? What if you could use your tablet to draw up a play in EA SPORTS’ “Madden NFL” and then perform it to perfection on your TV? What if you could control your favourite websites on the TV with a simple swipe, pinch or zoom on your tablet’s touchscreen?
Launching this year, Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.
“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”
SmartGlass will allow you to use tablets as games controllers - for instance using it to draw out team orders during games of Fifa, or starting multiplayer battles of Call of Duty.
Similar in some respects to the already announced Nintendo Wii U, which uses tablet-style controllers, industry watchers will be keen to see how Nintendo responds in its own keynote on Tuesday.
At the press conference, Microsoft also announced that Internet Explorer will be launched for the Xbox in autumn 2013, and will use Kinect voice controls and phone apps to make it more usable than previous attempts to bring the web to the living room.
Xbox Music, also unveiled at the event, will allow Windows 8 PCs and phones as well as Xbox 360 to share and play a massive music library of over 30m tracks - though details on how the system works were not given at the conference.
Microsoft also used the event to give details about a range of upcoming games:
- Halo 4: First trailer and screenshots
- Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Gaming demo and video
- Fifa 13 And Madden 13: Games titles to gain Kinect voice control features
- Gears Of War and Fable Sequels
- Tomb Raider: New gameplay demo
- Ascend: New Gods, LocoCycle and Matter announced
- Resident Evil 6: Gameplay video
- South Park: Stick of Truth: Trailer and demo
- Dance Central 3: Gameplay demo (and Usher appearance)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: Gameplay demo
Below are the best screenshots from one of the highlights - Halo 4.
Take a look at the announcements as they happened below.