Though the types of gameplay integration Microsoft suggested for their upcoming new technology SmartGlass didn’t exactly blow us away, the ways in which it could expand a single player experience into a multiplayer experience certainly sounded intriguing. Unfortunately, what was on display was mostly based around the idea of using a gamer’s smartphone or tablet to provide ancillary information like a map.
However, one of the first games to ship using SmartGlass, as revealed by Microsoft’s Peter Orullian, is called Homerun Stars and, along with using Microsoft’s innovative new technology, it will also feature Kinect support. Rather than allowing players to simply partake of a Kinect-based baseball mini game – something that is already offered by Kinect Sports Season Two – lets one player (using Kinect) be the batter and allows the other (using SmartGlass) to be the pitcher.
On any of the SmartGlass supported devices, the pitcher will select the type of pitch they wish to throw and chart out its trajectory. From there it is up to the batter to connect with the pitch and try to score some runs. It’s a very basic concept, but one that illuminates the type of experiences Microsoft can deliver using Kinect and SmartGlass, something that the Wii U couldn’t necessarily do.
There’s also no word on when Homerun Stars might be available for the console, but the SmartGlass technology is believed to be rolling out this Fall.
Now this type of SmartGlass integration – one that features Kinect as one player’s form of interaction – isn’t going to be for everybody, especially given the motion controller’s inherent inaccuracies, but it could do well to sell tons more Kinects to the casual consumer. For the hardcore, Microsoft is going to need to think a little more outside the box, find ways to make SmartGlass more than just a second screen for inventory management or helpful tidbits of information.
The SDK for SmartGlass just so happens to be available as we speak, so maybe the next great evolution in gaming is being developed as we speak.
Does Homerun Stars sound like a step in the right direction for SmartGlass or more of a tech demo? How would you like to see Microsoft incorporate the technology into their games?