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?