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Monday, October 29, 2012

'Forza Horizon' and SmartGlass - A Literal Game Changer

My PC was upgraded to Windows 8 yesterday without me really realizing it. I have been part of the Consumer Preview for some time and only noticed the transition because the "Games" icon now lead me to my Xbox 360 dashboard.

Well, not the exact dashboard but an emulation of it.

That's when I noticed that Forza Horizon had an option to "Play on Xbox 360". I clicked it immediately and was pleasantly surprised to find that my computer screen had been transformed into a working, interactive map.

Instead of having to stop my driving and search the map I was now able to simply click on the computer, set a Waypoint, and it would show up in-game automatically. My driving was even tracked real-time, showing me exactly where I was at that exact moment.

My PC with the map and Horizon on my TV
It's a literal game changer. To be able to have second screen showing my map has helped so much already, and it's a simple mechanic. This same thing worked on my tablet as well, bringing the map to my lap.

Look, this isn't anything we haven't heard of already *cough Wii U cough*. It is however already working and it's clear that the ceiling is very high. Imagine games with inventory on your screen or up-to-date stats and maps for first-person shooters.

The fact that SmartGlass and Microsoft are already ahead of the curve with this is astonishing. It's honestly made me start playing my 360 more. If you play Dance Central 3 you can queue up songs and change playlists from your tablet, phone, or computer without having to pause and interrupt your groove.

If you have Windows 8, an Android tablet, or an Android phone you need to download SmartGlass. It's incredible.

Note: make sure you have updated your Xbox 360 and have SmartGlass enabled in the system settings.
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