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Epic Games’ Mark Rein says he doesn’t see the value in second screen gaming

Epic Games' Mark Rein chimes in on second screen gaming among the new consoles and where the future lays.

Mark-Rein-Epic

With the release of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, we’ve seen two additions to these consoles that mimic the Wii U GamePad. The PS Vita can be used as a second screen or remote screen for the PlayStation 4, while Xbox Smartglass offers similar functionality on the Xbox One. These are all solutions to second screen gaming that try to ape what Nintendo started with the GamePad and Epic Games Vice President Mark Rein says he doesn’t see the value in any of it.

I think we’ve yet to see the real value of the second screen idea, if you’re talking about [Xbox] SmartGlass and companion apps and things like that. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be big one day. I don’t really know what it is yet.

Where it fits into gaming, I don’t know. I’m not sold on picking up my tablet to choose my play and then putting it back down and picking up my controller. It’s kind of a wonky way to choose a play, so I don’t know if that’s how it’s going to go or not.

It’s interesting to note that Rein is talking about third-party peripherals here, such as the PS Vita or Xbox SmartGlass and he’s entirely right. For example, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has the ability to tie-in with a tablet app on iPad and Android that lets you see the map real-time on your tablet while you play. It’s a useful feature, but it doesn’t compare to how you can just tap the screen already in between your hands with the Wii U.

While Rein has notably harsh words for the idea of second screen gaming, he does have an optimistic outlook for developers working on future titles:

Developers should try everything and have lots of fun with it, and sooner or later there will be a killer app for that sort of thing, too.

Overall, I would say both the Xbox and the PlayStation 4 having second screen options is a good thing for developers, since if they decide to utilize those the Wii U already has its option built into the controller. It’s up to Nintendo to show the world how to properly revolutionize gaming using a second screen beyond just maps and inventory. What would you like to see done with the GamePad screen?

Around the web
  • Terry J. Stroud

    Ridiculous. After getting a Wii U and playing games like Zelda: Wind Waker HD, the second screen makes gaming so much easier. Streamlining gaming so I no longer have to pause my fight, figure out what I need equipped, and then jump back in *hoping* that I didn’t accidentally pause at the wrong time.

    Maybe I’m not some 1337 gamer, but frankly, there’s a huge amount of promise in a second screen–so long as it’s incorporated into the controller itself. Now a Vita on the side, only to pick up your controller again? Yeah, that’d be a pain.

    Wii U’s on to something here–I just hope developers will start seeing that soon.

    • Keyser

      I agree that the gamepad does have a lot to offer, but I don’t think Nintendo has done a good job so far showing the average consumer how it will greatly improve gameplay.

      I particularly like the second quote: “Developers should try everything and have lots of fun with it, and sooner or later there will be a killer app for that sort of thing, too.”

      It’s really up to developers to try to be creative and come up with innovative ideas to use a second screen. I really hope more of them give it a try because I see a lot of promise, but I really don’t think we’ve seen that “killer app” yet.

      • Rinslowe

        Solid!

    • bizzy gie

      He’s not talking about Wii U. Just Vita and Smartglass with companion apps. He notes specifically that putting down the controller, picking up the tablet/smartphone, putting down the tablet/smartphone, then picking up the controller again is a nuisance.

    • Luciano

      Deus EX Human Revolution has the Wii U GamePad functions ported to other consoles,these guys are irrevelevant to me,like patcher and all other.
      And now Sony wants so sell PSVita as a bundle with PS4.

      Can you imagine Nintendo selling 3DS with Nintendo Wii U as a bundle too? :D

  • Prince Ali

    I think maps and inventory is good enough!… It is more convenient and immersive than having to constantly pause the game. After playing games like Darksiders 2, Batman AC, ACIII, and Windwaker.. going back to play adventure games on the PS3… I find myself constantly looking at the DS3 expecting a map… the map on Pikmin 3 was absolutely brilliant!

    All I want developers to do is continue to support it in this manner. The downgrade from Batman Arkham City to Batman Arkham Origins in gamepad support was highly disappointing.

    I will note that having the map and inventory on the second screen, while absoultely amazing when playing, do not seem that awesome before you experience it.

    • Prince Ali

      A cool feature would be to be able to make notes/annotations on the map so that you can return to places after finding better equipment… you know something you might actually do on a real adventure… I loved that concept in Phantom Hourglass/Spirt Tracks but have not really seen it since.

  • Josiah Parsons

    Really, he just bashed the Xbox and said that second screen is good if it’s not awkward. Wii U FTW!!!!!

  • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

    I think the concept of second screen gaming is new to so many people, the instant response is “no I hate it” simply because it’s a change. The reality of having second screen available for both XB1 and the PS4 is that third-party developers who want to utilize those features already have an innate ability to do so on Wii U. This similarity between all three consoles is a good thing for Wii U gamers who want third party releases.

    • Magnus Eriksson

      The only game (that I played) that took it in use in a great way was ZombiU, and that worked incredibly well. Zombies attacking you when you pick locks or open your bags gave it a new dimension. Even if Last of Us looked better it was not nearly as stressing IMO. So yeah it can bring alot to gameplay. I think Vita can probably pull off some of the same, but I dont see how it would work to well with the smarglass as you still need another controller (if I understood it correctly).

      • Daniel Gonzalez

        Of course it’s not stressing enough, ZombiU and The Last of US are only games. I’d imagine an actual apocalypse would have you panicking on the streets. :P

        • Magnus Eriksson

          ZombiU was the closest thing I was to a real Zombie apocalypse. Never had that feeling since early Resident Evil.

          • Daniel Gonzalez

            Well, from my experiences, I never got that feeling over a game. Damn it, some guys have all the fun. ;P

          • Magnus Eriksson

            Did you play through Zombi U? There are some really jumping scenes there. :)

          • Daniel Gonzalez

            I’ve tried it a few times at my local GameStop. Never played through it all the way, nah. Those employees think they can just tell me I’ve played enough and get away with it. Bastards… It might just be that I’ve seen so many jump scares back in the glory days of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. :(

          • ScrewAttack

            It’s got to a point where I only play ZombiU in three-four hour stints, when I can really focus on what I’m doing (ie not tired etc). Too damn scared of losing my survivor and all the work that’s gone into her! Of course that means I don’t get to play it often, as I don’t usually have that much free time.

            ZombiU did survival horror right,

          • Magnus Eriksson

            Cool. you loved it too? Then I guess you are up for a sequel? I know Ubi scrapped a project, but I started a petition to reconsider that and bring ZombiU a sequel. Please sign it, and ask other fans of the game to do the same.

            http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/please-ubisoft-give-zombiu-a-sequel-on-wii-u

          • ScrewAttack

            Hell yeah I’ll sign, ZombiU needs an ambitious, expansive sequel!

          • Rinslowe

            Worthy cause!

          • Yousif Alromaithi

            My advice buy a Wii U as soon as next year. If you want to get those glory day back.

          • Magnus Eriksson

            Yeah, but ZombiU managed to bring that back. RE and SH was great games, but they transformed into something not that scary and utterly boring (ok, not RE4 which was still a great game even if not that scary). ZombiU is the first game to give that feeling in a very long time. Also, you shouldnt play it on job, but in the sofa at home with no lights on an a cold beer on the table.

          • Daniel Gonzalez

            I’ve lost trust in the survival horror genre. Which Resident Evil and Silent Hill pretty much made famous. Yes, those two franchises went to the dumpster over the years.

          • Nintendoro

            Agreed. That game gives a true horror feeling

          • Yousif Alromaithi

            Seems true that game me gave me the chills. The experience was something bizarre.

          • Magnus Eriksson

            Do you want another shot? Made a petition to bring it a sequel:

            http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/please-ubisoft-give-zombiu-a-sequel-on-wii-u

        • Petri

          Got so much hate when I said something like that to DayZ gamers who said “this is what I would do in a real zombie apocalypse”.

        • YogiGRB

          that game is great, i even own the WiiU “ZombiU” edition has great gamepad features, love Deux Ex gamepad features also especially the (while playing off-screen) touchable stuff

      • fireheartis1

        Have you played Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Director’s Cut yet? That game makes some amazing use of the GamePad. Hacking into secure locks with it is so fun. I suck at the game but I’m having so much fun with it even though I die more often then win lol.

        • fireheartis1

          Looks like Mr. Downvotes is back. Since I got a down vote for adding to a conversation, I didn’t say anything too down vote, what the heck is up with that man?

          • Magnus Eriksson

            It could be someone you made an enemy too. People are like that.

        • Magnus Eriksson

          No, didnt try it because people said it was bad when it was released the first time.

          • TheAquacharger

            This on fixed it. They got rid of all the previous boss fights for new ones. Tied the DLC missions into the story instead of just being out there. Fixed some story bits, fixed gun play, and now it’s possible to beat the game without killing anyone.

          • Nathan Verbois

            I don’t know who said it was bad, but it makes me wonder what those people would deem as good, as Deux Ex: human Revolution even with its flaws was pretty darn good.

          • TheAquacharger

            IF you’re like me and someone who loved the original it was a bad Deus Ex. Like how RE4 is a bad RE. However RE4 and Deus Ex: HR are both great games, just bad at the IP they’re continuing.

          • Nathan Verbois

            Bad is already a very relative and subjective term. Like anything else in life, when series’ stay the same, they tend to become stale. Also, what we expect from our games is different person to person. RE4 wasn’t tense in the same way it’s precursors were, but it was far and away a better game, certainly critically if not commercially. However, Deus Ex: Human Revolution felt closer to the original than the sequel, in my opinion obviously.
            :-)

          • Rinslowe

            It was fantastic on Wii U for all the right reasons, mostly; level of gamepad integration…

    • Daniel Gonzalez

      I agree with that it’s a good thing for everyone. Only problem is, there isn’t many third party releases on the Wii U. Developers don’t seem too keen on releasing their games on it. Though, they sure are interested in the other two. I’m starting to feel that having a controller with a built in screen isn’t unique enough for third parties. If it is a great innovation, then Nintendo needs to step up and prove people wrong. Third parties aren’t too convinced at this point.

      Edit: Also Ashley, when did the PS Vita become a third party peripheral? Would you mind explaining what you mean by that? Last I checked, PS Vita is a Sony product and is also a stand-alone handheld. :P

      • DragonSilths

        3rd parties aren’t interested in Wii U because “Lack of a userbase”, or cause their games don’t sell well against Nintendo’s. Or they complain that a crappy port didn’t get bought so they wont bother anymore with Wii U.

        • Daniel Gonzalez

          That about sums it up.

      • Nathan Verbois

        Third party, in this case, would mean a peripheral or accessory that is not included with the base hardware. The PS Vita may be a stand alone handheld (and a great one!) but it is not included with the PS4, making it an additional cost and not standard. She might have worded it differently, but that’s the idea.

        • Daniel Gonzalez

          It’s an additional cost that no one is forced to buy. PS Vita is a handheld first, a peripheral second. However, it’s not a third party product. That much is true. Yeah, she worded it differently, and that’s my point. She should have worded it right. I just call it like I see it. :P

          • Nathan Verbois

            Fair enough. I thought you were legitimately asking a question. :-)

    • DragonSilths

      But Motion Controls with the Wii was new and it exploded.

  • RyuNoHadouken

    second screen gaming is a waste of resources, no matter what system you game on and there is not one “must have” use for it that I have seen so far…the moron who thought i would think its cool to look away from my tv screen while i game should have his morning coffee dumped on his head

  • Matt Lambourne

    See ZombiU as a great example of how 2nd screen can be utilised in a useful and immersive way.

  • Matt Elgie

    He must live alone. When anyone in the house wants the tv, the gaming doesn’t have to stop!

  • ScrewAttack

    His comments don’t pertain to the Wii U at all….

    • Daniel Gonzalez

      Kinda see that too. He never mentioned anything about it. So this article just appears to assume that’s what he was talking about.

      • ScrewAttack

        For the first time in a while, I’m not impressed with this sites journalism. I was all ready to come in here and insult the guy too lol but yeah, nothing to do with Wii U, unless you happen to enjoy playing with the pro controller and dumping the gamepad in your lap.

        EDIT: Oh and the title’s misleading. When did WiiUdaily become an e-tabloid?

        • Seth Callahan

          Yeah, Wiiudaily value has gone down since launch. I frequent Nintendolife.com these days.

          • peeer

            Yeah, no shit… I been telling them in comments to quit including their opinions in their news because of exactely this same reason. When you want to post an opinion on a news like this you don’t categorize it as a NEWS… >_<

            Also, look at this:

            "It’s interesting to note that Rein is talking about third-party
            peripherals here, such as the PS Vita or Xbox SmartGlass and he’s entirely right." <- When did he EVER mentionned anything about PS Vita?

          • Daniel Gonzalez

            Not to mention PS Vita isn’t third party or an actual peripheral.

  • crocodileman94

    I personally love the way Lego City and Rayman Legends implemented the WiiU gamepad.

  • bobbybangin

    Yet the DS and 3DS have been two of the most successful systems in recent years, with their dual screens. And enough of a concern that Sony made sure to implement remote play into each of their last two systems.

  • Frankie

    Epic Games was sold to a company in China. That is why Cliff left and a lot of their other key people. Epic games is becoming irrelevant.

    • Daniel Gonzalez

      Lol. Mark Rein and Tim Sweeny have 51% + stake in Epic Games, Tencent Holdings has 48.4%. That means they are all co-owners of Epic Games. Your comment is a bit flawed there my friend. They never sold it.

      Cliffy B said his reasons was he needed a break after making games since he was a teenager. So what you’re saying is only speculation. As for Epic Games being irrelevant, to each their own. :P

      • Frankie

        My comment was not flawed. You need to do some research. I work in the video games industry, I talk to people about recent events in the industry everyday.. Epic games did sell out to a company is China and that is why their key people are leaving.

        • Daniel Gonzalez

          Your credibility to work in the industry is questionable. No offense. You’re not the first person to make such a claim. Lol. Also…http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/03/21/chinese-internet-company-tencent-owns-40-percent-of-epic-games/

          I don’t see how they own them when they have the smaller stake in the company. Apparently you’re the one who needs to do research. It’s all over on websites. I suggest you google search. I’ll take your word for it when it’s actually news to the public. Good day.

  • Nintendoro

    I’d rather Nintendo had gone the powerhouse way like MS and Sony did rather than innovation (second screen). Having a one years head start over competitors with similar specs to PS4/XO would have seriously turned things around for them. Third parties would have flown to Nintendo like flies towards a warm poo. Instead Nintendo stuck with roughly the same specs as an aging generation while introducing a second screen which for a home system is as important as beautiful painting for a blind man. If only they’ve improved Pro controller (while making gamepad as a second option rather than necessity) and spent more money on the tech specs….

  • Green

    So far for my personally I’ve disliked the tablet controller granted I was against it from the beginning so I may be a bit biased, but I find it pulls you away from the game by making you look down :X. like with Wind Waker for example if I wanted to use my pro controller the map was forced to be on the gamepad so I would have to use the gamepad even if I didn’t want to. Just my personal preference~

  • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

    At least the second screen is integrated into wii u, as opposed to having to pick up another device, like he suggests

    • Rinslowe

      Lol, exactly.

  • fireheartis1

    You know this is where a Metroid game would shine in showing how it can be used. I think it’s time for Nintendo too be working on it, or maybe the new IP form Miyamoto-San is what’s going to prove the second screen worth. I hope they get this rolling and show off some new games before E3 14.

  • Dáibhí wotshissurname

    He’[s flip-flopping, because last year he complimented Rocksteady for doing “cool stuff” with the Wii U controller (Arkham City uses Epic’s Unreal Engine so I guess he had some level of view of Rocksteady’s Wii U project)

  • Kenshin0011

    I can’t imagine a next gen console without the ability to type full messages. So far wii u is the only one to offer that.

    Ps4 should add an app for smartphones that let’s you use your smartphone as a keyboard for the ps4.

  • BIG Franky

    um…. maybe I’m late to the party, but… who the hell is this guy?

    • Petri

      Epic did unreal engine?
      Think thats the boss of epic?

    • Rinslowe

      He’s a guy not so interested in the second screen, loves burgers and contemplating future lays – which he’ll likely never get, except when paying for it….
      Hope that was helpful.

  • DragonSilths

    I like no more pausing the game to switch items or to see a map or such.

  • Jared Garcia

    There are mechanics that a second screen just does better. The hacking in Deus Ex for example. It has a more fine tuned control with tapping on the screen with the stylus than navigating around with the analog stick.

  • TheAquacharger

    I don’t get why everyone acts like second screen gaming is a new thing. I’ve been doing it since the DS came out. You know, with the DS.

  • http://www.mpt-online.eu/ Sylux

    I’m kinda in the middle there, not sure what to think of second screen, DS/3DS have it the longest, but I also see developers, even Nintendo itself don’t really optimize it, mostly used for map and inventories and stuff, but little very innovative with it these days, except Ubisoft with zombiU and Activision with CoD with the drone camera etc, atleast gamepad has off tv play with it, but for me as one person living in my house, I would probably never use off tv play myself either. So I can kinda relate to him, though he could be a bit more subtle about it imo.

  • Simon Stevens

    Just another hater trying to put it kindly that he doesn’t like the Wii U, Off tv play is great, unless you have kids or a naggy wife/partner or just plain love handhelds, your not gonna see much value in it, makes sense to me when my little boy has his cousins round and I wanna watch a movie, they all rush over to the gamepad to watch him play, it’s great, personally, also, some games are easier to play on the gamepad providing it’s a party game, my son got into gaming on tablets and the wii because it was simple, I’m sure that’s Nintendo’s idea, I can only hope we see games like Rollercoaster tycoon to truly show the innovation of what the gamepad can do.

  • Andrew Chambers

    Unless I’m misreading this, it’s not a jab at Nintendo. He mentions not liking to switch from a tablet to a controller. It almost sounds like if companies want second screen gaming they should integrate it into the controller or console like the Wii U and 3DS.

  • Amsterdamsters

    This guy obviously has no friends. I hate split screen, but two player games on the Wii U are great with the second screen!

  • ETeach

    Sounded more like he’s not into smartglass/vita than the WiiU itself.

  • Selina Kyle

    It appears this man has never played ZombiU…

  • http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008SRISGU#reader_B008SRISGU Adam Howell

    When done right, maps and inventory along with off tv play is justification enough for the second screen. I’m using mine like a handheld 50% of the time

  • Stealth

    3ds/ds proves it works. This guy who is he?

    • TalesOfBS

      A random guy from a random company who wants to look cool for random hardcore kids by bitching/underestimating some random thing Nintendo did.

      Or maybe he just got some money to say this. Who knows, just another normal day.

  • TAKANYAN

    I can’t imagine not using a second screen.

  • Rinslowe

    “Epic Games’ Mark Rein says he doesn’t see the value in second screen gaming”
    Of course not, for a guy like that there’s obviously more value in a Whooper Burger and fries…

    Note however he doesn’t actually reference the gamepad, people. Only companion apps like smart glass, probably referring to the value of having to invest in a second screen as opposed to not having to… From not just a design aspect but also from the point of the consumer as well…

  • Maxwell Baumgarten

    honestly, the second screen on wii u is cool, but i could really have done without. I’m going to pick up a set of pro controllers soon for 3d world multiplayer. does anyone know if the pro controller can control the main wii u menu (the one with the apps, as well as switching to that from wadada plaza)?

  • Ryan Jordan

    when we are limited to one game pad atm theres a limit on how useful the second screen is toss in another pad and a sports game like football where you have the plays on the pad instead of on the tv where it is visible to your opponent, could be used for an acvtive online friends list for games, the second screen has so much potential, you just have to be creative, instead of ripping off other ppls ideas

  • Rinslowe

    When talking about comparable experiences of Wii U gamepad vs Vita. I think Digital Foundry said it well enough…

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-vs-vita-remote-play

  • Marcos Parreira

    I don’t think the developers are going to invest so much into double screen for PS4 and the Xbox One. Why? Because not every gamer has the second screen, they have to pay more for it. I don’t know about the Smart Glass, but the PsVita is kind of expensive, I wouldn’t buy it only because of a double screen game.
    Now the WiiU gives you that advantage. Even if the game is only on the tv, sometimes you can get lots of help from the touch screen. Like Terry J. Stroud said about Wind Waker HD. Ubisoft already realized that, we just need to wait for the others to realize it too.

    • Robin

      It’s proven as well that the double screen with Smart Glass and PsVita are not as great as the Wii U gamepad when it comes to remote play and double screening. There is delay and it’s easy to loose connection,while the gamepad has none of those.

  • https://soundcloud.com/rauschenmaschine Kristian Kouvo

    Obviously Mark Rein has never played DS or 3DS games, not to mention Wii U.

  • Glitch256

    I guess he isnt totally downplaying the second screen. Hes just confused on where it can go.

  • MujuraNoKamen

    After playing Wii U, I can definitely see the benefit of a second screen. in ZombiU and W it made inventory management much easier and eliminated the need to pause the game to sort items. Off TV play in a simple yet amazing feature, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
    “if you’re talking about [Xbox] SmartGlass… I’m not sold on picking up my tablet to choose my play and then putting
    it back down and picking up my controller. It’s kind of a wonky way to
    choose a play” yes Smartglass is because you have to switch between the 2 devices and I’m not sure if you can use the second screen as a controller yet. With Wii U on the other hand, everything is accessible immediately (no buying other devices) and it’s all in the palm of your hand with all the buttons you need, speakers, a headphone jack etc. Amazing!

  • gamerofallplatforms

    Will then Epic games why don’t you give the Wii U a shot, the Xbox and PS4 weren’t meant for two screen play, as they are just add on features.

  • David Thany

    Deus Ex for the WIi U does so much right with the gamepad. Anyone who hasn’t played the game owe it to themselves to play the best version on the Wii U with it’s incredible gamepad implementation.

  • InterTreble

    He has never played with any Wii U games, especially Wind Waker HD, or Super Mario 3D World… otherwise it’s quite impossible to explain how he could say so a stupid thing.

  • Leo

    He obviously didn’t play Pikmin 3.