The second screen

Console to hand-held connectivity taking strides in modern gaming

For me it all started with the Dreamcast, that beautiful white brick, accompanied by the console’s VMU (visual memory unit) I could play mini-games on a small second screen that would affect things in the console version of the game, most notably the Sonic Adventure Chao mini-games.

This type of second screen capability is making a comeback and may in fact be the way of the future in terms of video games.

Systems such as the Wii U already have this second screen sold along with the console, the Wii U comes with a tablet-controller hybrid, called the Wii U gamepad that can be used to play the game or show things such as a player’s inventory and other stats.

Another example is the connection between the Playstation 3 console and the PlayStation Vita hand-held system. These two have to be bought separately but to some gamers the access to the Sony “Cross-play” feature may be worth it. Sony “Cross-play” allows players to pause a game on either device and resume it on the other, though this feature has not been fully embraced yet it is a promising look into the future for Sony.

Lastly is Smartglass, an application for tablets and smart phones that is used for connectivity between an Xbox and a player’s smart phone or tablet. The app displays helpful tools on the hand-held device that can aid in the console version of the games.

All these ways to connect from console to hand-held are just in the infant stages of what is to come; with the increase in gamers with smart phones over the last few years, it isn’t outrageous at all to think that the next generation of consoles could allow every game to feature this connectivity.

 

Nicholas Wedyke
Managing Editor

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