Since getting outed just head of Microsoft's big reveal, Xbox 360's SmartGlass has been under wraps. When Xbox Live VP Marc Whitten officially introduced SmartGlass soon after at E3 2012, we learned a teensy bit more -- tablets and smartphones (Android, Windows Phone 8, and iOS, even) would get second-screen functionality via an upcoming free application -- and got some hands-on time with it. That application has yet to launch, but Dance Central 3's SmartGlass functionality is already here. Well, almost here -- the game becomes publicly available tomorrow, and the app won't launch for a few weeks still -- but we got our hands on Dance Central 3's SmartGlass companion app a bit early at a New York City review event last week.
Being the first SmartGlass application to launch has its advantages, such as setting the bar. By no means is Dance Central 3's SmartGlass application a thorough, necessary accompaniment (for a game that already requires Kinect, that's probably a good choice), but it does add some neat side fun for friends waiting in the wings to get their respective grooves on. "Party Time DJ" allows friends -- employing their iOS, Droid, or WP8 tablet/smartphone, via the Xbox SmartGlass app -- to queue up the next song in the game's neverending "Party Time" mode, or create a playlist. They can also queue downloadable tracks to the Xbox 360 (which thankfully requires approval on the 360 prior to purchase), or swap difficulty settings. Sadly, though the opportunity for real-time griefing presents itself rather clearly here, developer Harmonix chose not to allow song-swapping or difficulty changes mid-song. "Because it would kill them," Harmonix rep Nick Chester told us.
Dance Central 3 SmartGlass appSee all photos
Should you be dancing all by your lonesome, there's functionality for you as well. A calorie/fitness tracker shows how much fat you're burning off while getting your groove on over a set period of time, and a challenge tracker displays progress toward weekly in-game goals (set weekly by the developers at Harmonix). Facebook integration is also part of the package, but none of that was operable just yet -- we were shown the app in its development staging program, as the official app won't go live until a yet-to-be-determined time (we're guessing near/on October 26, when Windows 8 and its mobile variants launch).
When it does launch, it's not clear exactly how the DC3 app will work with the 360 -- presumably the "listening" connectivity we saw at E3 will detect you're playing the game while using SmartGlass. Chester said the "app" is little more than an HTML5 file -- yes, SmartGlass requires a data connection of some form to work -- so updates can be handled directly from the developer side, meaning updates are likely non-existent to the app (that said, one may be required on the Xbox 360 to add in new SmartGlass functionality). Dance Central 3 is the first Xbox 360 game with SmartGlass functionality built in, and it arrives at retail tomorrow. As previously noted, the smartphone/tablet application won't arrive until some time in the next few weeks -- it's identical across all mobile platforms, at least for Dance Central 3.