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Xbox SmartGlass might just save the Wii U

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

At Microsoft's 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press briefing, the company introduced a new technology called Xbox SmartGlass. What appears to be an app for tablets and smartphones will allow you to tie your console experience to other related content, such as in-game maps and information about the game you are playing or the show you are watching. 

While very little was shown in the way of interacting with a game through SmartGlass — a brief and generic football playbook scene occured — many game journalists and professionals made the association to Nintendo's upcoming Wii U system with its touchscreen Wii U Gamepad.

The overwhelming majority saw it as undercutting the Big N's new console and beating Nintendo at its own game, but what I saw was a possible savior for Nintendo's storied third-party woes. 

 

The reason "multiplatform" means "Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, but not the Wii" is two-fold. The first being the Wii's obvious technical limitations, which the new Wii U allievates (if only for a couple years at the most until Sony and Microsoft reveal their big new systems), but second and more pressing is the method of play control. A Wii Remote is not a 360 controller, and it never will be, but with the Wii U Gamepad and Xbox SmartGlass having such an obvious overlap, cross-developing for both platforms seems to be relatively natural.

Third-party studios shied away from Nintendo when it meant appealing to only a single console's audience (especially one that skewed younger) when you could get a bigger multiplatform population instead, but the risk is significantly lower if the 360 and Wii U can share a few titles between each other (which the more traditional-looking Wii U Pro Controller only enhances). Plus, having a graphical leg up and its awesome stable of first-party software, Nintendo has a real chance at dominating the market early.

Nintendo shouldn't see SmartGlass as a threat as much as a window to getting back into the third-party conversation and reclaiming core gamers. Whether they utilize the opportunity is up to them.


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