I'm beginning to lose interest in the second screen experienceEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Over the last year or so, companies figured out the best way to implement a tablet's presence in more homes all across the world. It wasn't just the manufacturers of the tablets, either, or companies that have built ecosystems to feature their unique capabilities. TV broadcasters even managed to take advantage of them, too. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I definitely jumped on the hype bandwagon for the second screen experience.
The idea, which we're seeing even more of these days (and we'll see a lot more of next year), is built around the idea that whatever you're watching or interacting with on your TV's or computer's screen isn't enough. Not enough information, or interaction in general. Whatever the specific case, your tablet (and even your computer, in some small situations) is meant to give you more of whatever it is you're doing.
I may have already fallen off the aforementioned wagon, though.
Like I said, I was excited to get my hands on all these experiences. From TV, to movies, to video games, I originally thought that the implementation of tablets to these specific types of media was a great idea. Having the ability to learn more about a TV episode, a movie, or be able to interact with a game outside of the normal controller are all pretty cool.
I've been using Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass ever since its debut, and I'll be the first to admit that the app was pretty bare bones back then. It's gotten better with time, and more games utilize the feature, but if you want the real experience you'll need to upgrade to the Xbox One and the new Xbox One SmartGlass app. With the upgrade you'll get a lot more games that include the second screen experience as a core element to the title, like in Dead Rising 3.
But, while the app is cool and honestly not gimmicky at all, I've found over time that I'd just rather keep my hand on the controller and use what's available to me on the screen I'm watching it on. For example, Ubisoft released a standalone application for their Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag title, which is meant to help you catalog what you collect in the game, as well as give you real-time map of where the game's protagonist is at all times. Unfortunately for the app, which I used quite heavily for a day or two, I ended up just going back to the map in the game for quick access. It meant I got to keep my eyes on the TV, on the action at hand, instead of having to look at another device entirely.
I play games on my tablet all the time, and that's why I thought the second screen experience would be pretty great. However, if I'm watching TV, a movie or playing a game on my regular TV, I've found that I'd much rather just keep my eyes there, and my attention on one device.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. EA and DICE released an application for their recently released Battlefield 4 that makes tablet usage pretty cool. It's called Battlefield 4 Commander, and it lets players actually play with console gamers from their tablet. It isn't technically a second screen experience, but I honestly think this is the best way for developers to include tablets into the gaming experience. Especially when it comes to consoles.
I'm not sure if I'm going to give up the second screen experience quite yet, but I do know that I've already started to use it quite a bit less than I used to. And it's on a constant decline, it seems. I'm holding out hope that something rekindles my interest in the idea soon.
What about you? Do you use the second screen experience often, or are you someone who just uses it from time to time? Have you stayed away from it? If so, why? Let me know!