Bank Holiday Catch Up: E3
With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) kicking off in Los Angeles, it's starting to become clear how Sony and Microsoft are adapting their games console offerings in response to the mobile revolution.
In Sony's case, that's the expansion of its PlayStation Mobile initiative – a rebranding of the previous PlayStation Suite, which Sony introduced as a way of bringing its game properties to Android – starting with a partnership with manufacturer HTC. The One series of handsets will receive 'PlayStation Certified' status, meaning users will be able to download and play Sony-developed games through an app store, presumably including ports of old PSOne games.
Microsoft, meanwhile, unveiled SmartGlass, an app for Windows Phone and iOS, which brings second screening to its Xbox 360 console. Tablets and smartphones can be used as a remote control for watching video content on the Xbox, and to interact with extra content for certain games. It will also enable users to surf the web on their TV, with the launch of Internet Explorer for Xbox 360, using their mobile as a controller.
SmartGlass also incorporates augmented content for certain TV programmes – as Microsoft demonstrated at the event using Game of Thrones, using the app to display a live map and other relevant information during the episode – and enables users to watch video content across devices, meaning a film can be started on a Tablet and finished on an Xbox.
Microsoft also teased its Xbox Music service for the 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 devices.
On the show floor, appMobi is showing off Boom Town, which it claims is the first 'massively cross-platform game developed using HTML5'. The app, launching simultaneously for iOS, Android, and Facebook, was built using the ImpactJs game engine and a single HTML5 code base.
“At last year’s E3, appMobi introduced directCanvas acceleration, giving HTML5 games native graphics speed,” said appMobi CTO Sam Abadir. “Over the last year, we've perfected the use of HTML5 to develop and deliver massively cross-platform games, giving developers the fastest possible path to literally billions of mobile device users around the world.”