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Xbox One SmartGlass hands-on (video)

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SmartGlass is nothing new -- it's the second screen solution Microsoft introduced for its Xbox legions. But for the release of the Xbox One console, the company decided to update the experience and extend the functionality. Culling feedback from the many developers and gamers that have downloaded the app since its initial release, Microsoft came to some near unanimous conclusions: gamers use it as an Xbox Live controller and devs love its use of HTML and Javascript. So where to go from there? If you've been paying attention to any of the company's E3 announcements, you'll know that the newly updated SmartGlass app now includes support for in-game DLC purchases, gameplay assists and a DVR-like replay feature. We spent a little time sifting through the new app on the showfloor, so follow along for our initial thoughts.

Microsoft opted for its own Surface tablet to showcase the new SmartGlass, but unfortunately, we didn't have it connected to a running Xbox One unit. So the experience we demoed is pretty much what you can expect when you're out of the house. Upon launching the app -- the speed of which has been "dramatically improved" (the same goes for latency issues) -- the initial SmartGlass screen will display your most recently played game and featured content (like films, tv shows, etc.). From there, you can explore the various, new second screen features Microsoft's tacked on for games, all in that familiar Window 8 modern UI-style.

Xbox One SmartGlass handson

For now, Ryse: Son of Rome is the only Xbox One game we've seen taking advantage of the new SmartGlass. There are also secondary experiences built around NFL and Project Spark, but we spent the majority of our demo time with Ryse. Enter into the SmartGlass experience for that game and you'll be privy to about eight separate features: Overview, Achievement Progress, Extras (for DLC purchases), timed Challenges, Friends' Achievements (based on your friend list), Game Clips (for gameplay replay, or as MS calls it "Game DVR"), Related games and Gallery (for your in-game shots). SmartGlass will also help players along with a feature called Timeline that offers gameplay videos to those that encounter difficulties with specific quests or achievements. Again, we didn't have a chance to demo that feature, but we were assured gamers will have the option to toggle it on and off at will.

Of course, you'll have to wait until the Xbox One's retail launch this holiday season to actually test out the new SmartGlass. And, rest assured, when that black media box does hit store shelves, there'll be much more robust support for those day one titles. Whether or not you'll actually make use of it all depends on you, your ADHD and your tendency to multitask.

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