Written by Chad Van Alstin Tuesday, 21 August 2012 14:17
The official website for the app features a video showing young people using the SmartGlass as everything from a controller, to a second screen for gaming. The introduction sends a message that the sky's the limit; however, I can't help feeling like SmartGlass is something I just don't want.
When I'm watching a movie or playing a video game, I like to get lost in the experience, and I'm really not interested in having another device to divert my attention. It's hard for me to believe that many people feel differently.
My guess is that most gamers were never demanding anything like this -- but the app is certainly something advertisers hoped to see. After all, how else are they supposed to send you ads while you're watching a movie or playing a video game?
Yes, there are product placements in movies and video games, but there is no way to really expose people directly to ads, pausing their attention from what's currently on screen -- at least until now. If you search around you'll see no specific indication that Microsoft intends to use the SmartGlass for advertising purposes, likely because they want you to download it when it launches.
However, since ads seem to creep their way into everything, it's not a huge leap to assume SmartGlass will somehow serve Microsoft's partners. It's possible that I'm just being cynical, but why else would Microsoft make the SmartGlass in the first place?
If their core audience wasn't demanding the thing, is it possible Microsoft just developed some cool new way to enhance media, and they simply had to share it with the world -- maybe. Still, the bottom line for Microsoft is its profits, and that often translates to sales and advertising.
You're going to see some of your favorite games, TV Shows, and Movies on board with SmartGlass, but the extent to which third-parties are going to support the app remains to be seen. Expect Microsoft to really push it as much as possible with their first-party software.
As time goes on we'll see how the SmartGlass really unfolds, and I expect it to be nothing less than an advertising platform. You probably won't see direct ads displayed, but there will certainly be lots of synergy, with the device offering you new products based on your preferences.
Another possibility is that SmartGlass will be a way to data mine the way users enjoy their Xbox, giving advertisers a window into your living room. One thing's for sure, there's more to this app than meets the eye.
It's hard for me to see this app as anything more than a Trojan Horse into my Xbox life. Even if that's not the case, I use my Xbox to escape from reality -- why would I want another distraction?
One thing is for near certain, SmartGlass will absolutely not change the way we play video games. There's just no way in hell I can imagine this app being the killer success Microsoft is hoping for.