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The Podcast and Script

13 Nov

So here it is, the “Evolution of Secondary Screen Gaming” podcast along with a script and bibliography

 

Podcast

 

Script

Hi there, I’m Joe Winfield and welcome to this weeks podcast about the Evolution of secondary screen gaming.

Today I’m going to take you briefly on a journey from the very beginning of secondary screen gaming all the way through the past few decades and then talk about the future of it with various concept ideas and predictions.

In the past, companies like Nintendo have integrated secondary displays to their consoles(1) such as the Game & Watch Series(2), Punch Out!(3) and the Versus System(4) (all which were very popular but were quickly outdated by future releases) and of course the Virtual Boy(5) (which was a complete commercial disaster as it was deemed as not realistic and caused eyestrain and discomfort amongst users).

Consoles such as the Wii U, the DS range and the ability to connect your Gameboy Advance to your Game Cube followed this movement in recent years(6).

However, there are many current approaches to secondary screen gaming that have taken off more effectively. The main examples being how the PS4 (with it’s Cross play concept)(7) and the Xbox One (with it’s Smart glass concept)(8) incorporate smartphones and tablets into their gameplay system. The user can use their iPhone/iPad as a controller or more simply, as a secondary display to provide extra space for onscreen action.

Also the likes of the Microsoft Illumiroom(9) which projects video around your television set which corresponds to the video game that you’re currently playing but unfortunately that project went on hiatus because it would be too expensive according to Microsoft, who later quoted that ‘it was just research’ to basically cover up the failure of it’s not existent production and launch(10).

After such concepts we can only imagine what’s about to come in this field. There are many predictions into the future that are very likely and possible, while others are pretty out of this world.

It’s predicted that Sociality will grow and grow within gaming according to Patrick Miller and Robert Zubek of GDC(11) – both saying that they envisage virtual versions of all our old family favourite games such as scrabble and monopoly being played on coffee tables amongst numerous people in different locations.

A gamer version of Netflix is a likely future feature of gaming where a system starts to pick up your interests and preferences and begins to recommend what to play next along with the option to play old favourites at ease. ‘Gamefly’ is a leading example of this who plans on expanding to every game of every gaming console rather than just currently PC along with a more intelligent search engine(12). Gamefly could ultimately take on the likes of Steam in this field.

The usage of smartphones in video games is definitely going to continue. We’ve seen recently in GTA5(13) that you’ve a smartphone called the iFruit in the game that interacts with your device in your pocket. Dead Rising 3 are lining up the ability of an in game character actually calling your personal phone for help via Xbox Ones Smartglass(14).

Cloud based gaming(15) is becoming more and more popular at present but the current information on it is pretty hidden. However, according to the Verge, Halo4 will have this in full effect with the Xbox One and Smartphone combined(16). Basically, it allows you to play your game anywhere anytime on any device, no memory card needed.

How about performing and synchronising acts within gameplay and in real life? You’re in luck, the CastAR glasses campaign is currently taking place by two former Valve engineers(17), where the end goal plans to be that you play games by moving around in real life wearing these simple sunglasses. Also the likes of Virtual Reality Simulators are becoming more and more of a thing such as the Ultimate Battlefield 3 Simulator(18) with it’s enclosed ‘Igloo Visual Dome’ space for physical movement and gameplay where you can actually get shot by virtual opponents.

It’s clear that we are going to start seeing more and more secondary screen gaming experiences over the next year and in the future. While there will be a lot of gimmicks out there, hopefully game designers will see past the obvious screen mirror, display maps and inventory views that are quite common with secondary screens at present.

It’s not hard to imagine playing a game on a desktop console and using a surface to create an engaging and deep second screen experience, is it? I think this new medium needs a few showcase games to highlight how to really take advantage of all the possibilities mainstream games will be too afraid to implement. I’d really like to see an affordable way of combining your video game with real life, such as more games like the Anki-Drive where you race virtual cars around your coffee table or on the floor(19).

Without doubt most big gaming manufacturers will take on all these ideas further. The idea of competing against each other with such predictions is a definite, Sony and Microsoft being the titans of course leaving Nintendo and Co in its dust.

Only time will tell…

So, There you have it, the future of secondary screen gaming. I’ve been Joe Winfield, now, un-pause and keep on gaming, take care.

 

Bibliography

1) Nintendo Consoles through the ages – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_video_game_consoles

2) Game and Watch –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_&_Watch#Series

3) Punch Out! – https://club.nintendo.com/rewards-details/a/31506.do

4) Versus System – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vs._System#Awards

5) Virtual Boy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Boy#Reception

6) What is Nintendo working on next? –http://www.nowgamer.com/features/1798387/what_is_nintendos_new_console_team_working_on_next/

7) PS4/Vita Cross play http://www.vg247.com/2013/05/29/ps4-ps-vita-cross-play-support-mandatory-for-all-games-report/

8) Xbox Smartglass – http://www.xbox.com/en-US/smartglass

9) Microsoft illumiroom – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IllumiRoom

10) Microsoft illumiroom Failure – http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/2/4685178/microsoft-illumiroom-xbox-projector-unlikely-to-be-released

11) Social Gaming – http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/201383/

12) Gamefly: Game version of Netflix – http://digital.gamefly.co.uk/#!/pc/download/all

13) GTA5 iFruit – http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/28/grand-theft-auto-five-ifruit-android/

14) Phone calls game to gamer –

http://www.vg247.com/2013/11/02/dead-rising-3-character-will-call-you-in-real-life-via-smartglass/

15) Cloud Based Gaming Future Rumors – http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/27/rumor-microsoft-plays-with-cloud-based-gaming-demos-halo-4-on/

16) Halo 4 / Cloud Gaming – http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/27/rumor-microsoft-plays-with-cloud-based-gaming-demos-halo-4-on/

17) CastAR – http://www.techhive.com/article/2061250/eyes-on-the-castar-augmented-reality-glasses-built-by-former-valve-engineers.html

18) Battlefield 3 Simulator – http://www.geek.com/games/the-ultimate-battlefield-3-simulator-has-been-created-1435731/

19) Example of Real-Life gaming – http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/10/anki-drive-ai-gaming/

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The Predicted Future of Second Screen Gaming

9 Nov

Here are some predictions of what the future of second screen gaming could be according to gaming companies and online sources I’ve researched. This proves a very interesting read into the future.


Social feeds will be a feature, not the experience.


At present we’re all sick of logging into Facebook and seeing our friends ‘unlock a new level on Farmville Saga’ or getting notifications because your friend ‘needs life in Candy Crush’. Yet the future beholds more promising and stronger features.


App developers will continue delivering strong social features with enough reach and consumer utility to complete the social experience online.  For the last 50+ years we have been gathering to experience entertainment together, then gather around the water cooler to discuss our thoughts about it, and finally asking each other to recommend content that is worthy of our future time investment.  As apps further develop functionality along these 3 social sharing axes, consumers will gravitate to the utility of the experience as long privacy and social connectivity is given the respect it deserves – consumers want to control when and how their preference for viewing are shared.


“Discovery” will become a household word.


Gaming console creators will make a big push into transforming the experience for  hundreds of millions of household gamers across the world by offering viewers better user interfaces to search for and discover new game content.  While the grid guide will exist for long into our future, better user experiences will emerge for the three most common use cases when sitting down on the couch:


  1.  I know what I want to play – just help me find it and play it.
  2.  I just want to kill some time – show the best options for me right now.
  3.  I really want to play something interesting – help me find something worthy of my invested time.


A Netflix for gaming maybe a feature of the future. Thousands of games in one place categorised by what you’re interested in. Similar to Netflix, it starts to learn about your likes and dislikes and intellectually suggests new games for you to play, of course, keeping your favourites easily accessible.<


Tablet and smartphone usage reports will become about activities related to the TV.


It seems last year that there’s been copious amounts of reports on what percentage of smartphone and tablet owners were using their devices while watching TV.  Now that there have been enough reports produced by diverse and reputable firms, you will start to see them focus on what really matters to everyone in this ecosystem – the amount of second screen activity related to the first screen.  We expect to see them focusing on a few primary activities related to future revenue streams:


  1. To Control.  This is the most important feature for device makers and those hoping to win the digital video ecosystem war. We’ve all seen the powers of second screen gaming in relation to using smartphones/tablets/screens controlling other screens therefore making the game accessible on dual screens.
  2. To Discover.  Trying to find games to play (as mentioned above), with many in the ecosystem seeking to influence that decision through some form of advertising.
  3. To Enhance.  This will come in the form of, one, searching for or receiving additional (perhaps synchronised) related information to the program and, two, second screen-based commerce.  Last year, Nielsen reported that of consumers using a tablet while watching TV, roughly 40% are using them to check information related to the program and 29% of 25-34 year olds are shopping while watching TV.
  4. To Share.  Already hyped in the press to the nth degree, expect to start to see attempts to measure how impression affect viewership across demographics and how they influence others decisions to view content.


‘Gamification’ will begin to lose favour with the press and consumers, only to begin to add value again towards the end of 2013.


Like Farmville and its creator Zynga, games as second screen experiences during a show have demonstrated both growth and reach, but the fickle consumer will quickly tire of this marketplace for second screen games.  However, as those companies react to consumer engagement, they will begin to deploy enhanced viewing experiences that offer multiple ways to engage with the show, movie or sporting event, allowing consumers to engage at intensity levels that fit their viewing style and interest.  As this evolution develops and consumer penetration of tablets and second screen march upwards, ‘gamification’ of second screen experiences will drag itself out of the rut of disillusionment and up the curve to providing both consumer and business value.


“Who’s that again?”


Commerce on smartphones and tablets in the living room is starting to gain momentum, and the prize for capturing additional engagement related to the viewing experience is huge.  Here’s an interesting (TV/Movie feature) fact, Amazon, with its Kindle Fire and Amazon Prime products, has been experimenting with a feature they call “X-ray vision”, allowing the consumer to see which actors are on the screen during the scene. This could so easy push onto gaming where you’ll be able to identify everyone and everything at your own leisure. Or for example, if you’re half way through a mission and forget the brief, you could easily bring up the brief again with some handy pointers through this “X-ray vision” concept.


Cloud-based gaming will be taken more seriously.


To inform people who are unsure of it – Cloud gaming, is a type of online gaming that allows direct and on-demand streaming of games onto computers, consoles and mobile devices (similar to video on demand) through the use of a thin client, in which the actual game is stored on the operator’s or game company’s server and is streamed directly to computers accessing the server through the client. This allows access to games without the need of a console and largely makes the capability of the user’s computer unimportant, as the server is the system that is running the processing needs. The controls and button presses from the user are transmitted directly to the server, where they are recorded, and the server then sends back the game’s response to the input controls. Companies that use this type of cloud gaming include Ubitus, Playcast Media Systems, Gaikai and OnLive. Most cloud gaming platforms are closed and proprietary; the first open source cloud gaming platform was not released until April, 2013.


In time, this will definitely be a future feature of gaming, being able to play your games on multiple screens, anywhere, anything, just log-in and play.


Device makers will jump into second screen rapidly.


Spurred on by Microsoft’s SmartGlass platform on Xbox, device makers from gaming consoles to smartphones and tablets will start publishing SDK’s to access their system to both content creators and app developers alike in an effort to secure themselves in the coming ecosystem war.  Major CE brands like Samsung and LG will work very hard to give consumers a better living room experience with their devices than in a mixed-device world, working to create improved cross-device brand loyalty.  Gaming consoles will work hard to capture your video viewing time to become the point of living room convergence for gaming.


Personal Predictions and Future


It’s clear to me that we are going to start seeing more and more second screen gaming experiences over the next year and in the future. While there will be a lot of gimmicks out there, I hope game designers will see past the obvious screen mirror, display maps and inventory views that are going to be common place on Wii U games and instead turn to Windows 8’s huge hardware ecosystem to truly push the second screen gaming experience in a new direction. It’s not hard to imagine playing a game on a desktop and using a surface or other Windows 8 powered tablet or phone to create an engaging and deep second screen experience. Even if this turns out to be more indie oriented then mainstream I think this new medium needs a few showcase games to highlight how to really take advantage of all the of possibilities main stream games will be too afraid to implement. I want a Journey caliber second screen game!


I would love to see second screen puzzles, new types of interactions to unlock parts of levels and intriguing gameplay mechanics that would really compliment a full game experience. Even better is the possibility to take your game or part of the game on the go so you can continue to progress or build up your character on the go, which has been done before in limited capacity. The key to all of this is the growing power of mobile devices, desktops and how to get them to work together. While I will always be a console gamer at heart, I think watching the last generation of consoles grow long in the tooth while computers have leapfrogged them clearly shows that PC hardware will always outpace closed console systems. It’s our job as game developers and designers to figure out how to really push the envelope and move the second screen experience forward on all fronts, and not just in the easy/obvious ways.


As a follow up to these predictions, it would be a good idea to email Rockstar and ask if GTA 6 could involve real life people. Imagine holograms of characters running around your city as part of an actually game being played by someone else on the opposite side of the world. But that’s just a wild thought. Or is it?

The Current Approach

5 Nov

The current approach to second hand screen gameplay is mind boggling. With the PS4 and xBoxOne coming out by the end of the year, along with many other releases, we can definitely see that this trend is not a fad, it will continue until there’s no end.

I will now describe some of the consoles and concepts which will contain second screen gaming which are just on and will be on the market soon.

 

PS4 & Cross-Play

One of the features coming with the launch of Sony’s new PS4 console next month is a second screen experience that will enable use of your iPhone or iPad with the console. Today, Sony has released a statement confirming that this, plus other features will require a launch day software update to enable:

We wanted to shed some light on system software update version 1.50 for PS4, which will launch simultaneously with the system’s official North American launch on November 15th, 2013. By updating to system software version 1.50, you’ll be able to experience a variety of new features in addition to the basic functions of PS4.

Users can use the PS4 Link application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation App for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on The Playroom, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.

Integration with our iPhone and iPad continues to intrigue, and it’s going to be exciting as time goes on to see how game developers involve our mobile devices in the overall experience. But before anyone can do anything, they’ll need to download the 300MB software update.

Additionally, Sony has also detailed when said application will be available to download from the App Store. Initially it will become available on November 13 in the U.S, two days before the launch of the console. Then, Europe will follow on November 22 ahead of the November 29 launch in countries such as the UK. Is second screen something you’re looking forward to from your PS4?

Sony has taken its first step to integrate their Playstation 3 console with their handheld device, PS Vita via the Cross-Play feature, allowing the gamer to stop playing on one device and resume on another device.

 

 

XboxOne & Smartglass (2013)

Microsoft is also working on exploiting the second screen in a more unique way with a “bring your own device” policy for Xbox Smartglass.

Game of Thrones on three screens

This unique approach allows you to augment existing hardware such as the Xbox 360 with a tablet, a phone or even another computer which has some advantages over Nintendo’s approach to the second screen. Currently Xbox Smartglass is focused more on media and content delivery instead of solely gaming like on Wii U but we’ll probably see more and more games start taking advantage of this experience. This is bound to be something to expect in the near future.

Xbox Smartglass is currently setup to run with a single second screen device just like the Wii U. That could change in the future and I think the real key to this approach is the fact that the second screen app runs independently of main screen’s hardware so less data needs to stay in sync. This is a more efficient way to handle the hardware demand of a second screen experience. On the Wii U, the system is pushing the video to the Wii U GamePad making it a one way only experience since the controller is just a display/input shell with no real CPU or GPU of its own. This makes any second screen experience capped by the performance of the main system which now has to push both screens verses the Smartglass approach were both devices work in tandem and have their own independent hardware.

http://nxeassets.xbox.com/shaxam/0201/ee/15/ee152a85-aaa5-416a-a0ad-642bd7628f1e.JPG?v=1

With this approach you can have a much richer experiences on the second screen devices and even have “offline modes” where the second screen can run independently of the main screen such as on the go or even when the system is just turned off. I am a big fan of how the Wii U handles playing Mario on the second screen without the need to turn on a TV but the Wii U still has to be on, the controller is basically useless without the Wii U being turned on. The Wii U and Xbox Smartglass aren’t the only mainstream second screen experiences out there.

 

Microsoft Illumiroom

IllumiRoom is a Microsoft Research project that augments a television screen with images projected onto the wall and surrounding objects. The current proof-of-concept uses a Kinect sensor and video projector. The Kinect sensor captures the geometry and colors of the area of the room that surrounds the television, and the projector displays video around the television that corresponds to a video source on the television, such as a video game or movie.

Just watch, this looks amazing:

Secondary Screen Gaming of the last few years

5 Nov

We are starting to see second screen gaming become more main stream now. It seems that every few weeks, companies are outdoing each other with great expectations and promises towards upcoming console concepts and releases.

With the launch of the Wii U,  Xbox Smartglasses and PC manufactures creating unique gaming hardware, we are seeing the beginning of something truly innovative. What the future will behold? Who knows. I have been fascinated with the second screen experiences for some time, ever since I bought that DS.

At present, tablets and phone are common place. Pairing these devices up with game consoles opens up an immersive experience to players as well as offering up additional contextual information while they play the game. This is whats going on in the current landscape and where I think game developers can start contributing.

 

Nintendo Wii U (2011)

I’ve been currently researching into the Nintendo Wii U and a handful of games it has. Luckily, my housemate has a console so I got my hands on it and tried it out. Nintendo has been offering up a second screen experience for years now with their DS and 3DS portable systems (etc, talked about earlier) with games using the innovative split screen hardware to varying degrees of success. For the most part, I really liked how the two screens worked in tandem to enhance and augment the gameplay experience. However, trying to recreate the same feeling when the second screen is across the room, such as your TV for the Wii U, is a whole different feeling.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/media/30495/4/1.jpg

At first, I found that it was a bit of a let down. Games like Super Mario Bros U just mirror the display so you see the same thing on the TV and the Wii U. Then, I switched games and I was back in awe of the console! Games like ZombiU have you switching between screens a lot in the middle of the gameplay. The actions may slow down enough to switch between the main display on the TV to direct you to look at the tablet screen and vice versa. Looting bodies and having to use the touch screen to drag items one by one over to your backpack is interesting but really breaks the flow of the game. Especially since you are never safe from attacks and you are no longer looking at the main screen to see if a zombie is close to you. While this is more realistic, it still breaks the suspension of disbelief you have when playing a game. But all of these games are still testing out the hardware. It took a very long time for the DS to come into its own and eventually companies started exploiting the hardware to its full potential.

http://sickr.files.wordp ress.com/2012/08/nintendo_land_zelda.jpg

Perhaps the biggest limitation right now with the second screen experience on the Wii U is the fact that you can only connect a single Wii U GamePad to the system. If you play with more than one person, the other players are left in the dark from the second screen and have a totally different experience. There are some interesting examples of how to take advantage of this limitation such as the ability for one player to add platforms to Mario U while the other player tries to run through the world with a standard Wii controller.

http://financialpostbusiness.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/new-super-mario-bros-u-body-1.jpg?w=620&h=465

This allows you have a very collaborative experience which is unique to the console. I am sure this type of play experience will continue to make its way into more Wii U games. One could easily see how other players could work against the main player with the Wii U GamePad. D&D style games come to mind where you have a “dungeon master” and the other players simply try to survive the dungeon while the main player sets up monsters, traps and even changes the level on the fly. Since the Wii U just launched it will take more time for game designers and developers to exploit the hardware. The Wii U isn’t the only console out there offering a compelling second screen experience.

Razer Blade and Deathstalker Keyboards (2012)

PC manufacturers such as Razer, which are known for their gaming peripherals, have been incorporating touch screens into their computers and keyboards. They call it the Switchblade UI.

The effect is amazing, especially when you think about the implications of having a fully configurable touch screen as a second controller/display for your game built right into the hardware. I’ve currently been researching two devices, the Razer Blade laptop and Razer Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard. Both are opening my eyes to the possibility of second screen devices embed in hardware. In addition to the touch screen are 10 digital display buttons with also show contextual information based on the mode of the touch screen. For number mode you are presented with a simple number pad and in games, you can customise the entire look and feel for all the buttons and the touch screen. Razer has an SDK which allows you to develop your own experiences.  I hope to research good examples of this very soon.

As you can see from the examples above, a lot has happened from the first appearances of secondary screen gaming and the likes of the Nintendo DS family.

I will further tell you about what’s being manufactured at the moment along with plans and predictions into the future of secondary screen gaming.

A History of Second Screen Gaming Consoles

2 Nov

For the basis of this project I’ll be concentrating on the Nintendo DS but also covering what was around before 2004’s release of the console with what happened after and more importantly, where second screen gaming is going in the future.

Back in 2004, Nintendo announced the concept of the Nintendo DS without revealing too much information. The company made mention that the new portable console would feature two screens (hence the letters DS for “dual screen”) but beyond that the public could only guess what the final product could be.

The Nintendo DS system launched in November 2004, and was later upgraded to the DS Lite  in June 2006. The system again and again evolved into newer and better versions of it’s predecessor, the original Nintendo DS console. These updates included the Nintendo DSi (2008), Nintendo DSiXL (2009), Nintendo 3DS (2011), Nintendo 3DSXL (2012) and the latest Nintendo 2DS only being released a few weeks ago.

What you might find surprising is the fact that the DS wasn’t the first time the company came up with the concept of two displays in a system. There’s been a lot of well known devices supporting such a concept which I’ll talk about now.

So, behold, the evolution of second screen gaming consoles.

Game & Watch (1982)

Back before Nintendo hit the consumer scene with the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), the company was making profit not just in arcade titles, but also in individual portable games called the Game & Watch series. The games were limited in design due to the fact that developers had to use stencils for the character positions and animation, and the set screen could only hold so much action. So, the logical move being that the character(s) move from one screen to the other to give a bit more variety than limiting the action to the same old stencils.

There were several Game & Watch games that featured two screen action. The first dual-screen Game & Watch title was Oil Panic (which later was remade as a GameBoy Pocket game), a game where you controlled a character on the top screen catching drops of oil, then dumping the oil onto the bottom screen to score points. The Zelda game pictured here was released around the time the Game Boy original hit the scene in 1989.

Today, Nintendo honours the classic dual-screen series with a Club Nintendo premium: set up an account and register your Nintendo games to qualify for the Club Nintendo-exclusive Game & Watch Collection for Nintendo DS. This cartridge features conversions of the first three dual-screen Game & Watch handhelds: Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, and Greenhouse.

Punch-out!! (1984)

After the success of Donkey Kong, Nintendo couldn’t just stop right there. They continued to produce successful arcade games in the early 1980s prior to Americas release of the NES.

Punch-out!! was the first arcade system Nintendo released that utilised two monitors in its cabinet design. As the player boxed on the lower screen, the upper screen kept track of all the statistics, character data, as well as the time and score, as well as a constant update of the player’s health. The use of two screens admittedly was more for presentation than it was functional for gameplay purposes, and ultimately what was done on the secondary screen could have been done with a HUD overlay on the main screen. At the very least, gave the arcade machine a unique look in an arcade full of single monitor uprights.

Nintendo reused this cabinet for the later releases such as Arm Wrestling as well as Punch-out!’s sequel, Super Punch-Out!

Vs. System (1984)

The next few arcade games from Nintendo were in what’s known as the “Vs.” series, and were included in unique two monitor, multiple control cabinet that arcade owners could connect two monitors together to form one game – having them “networked” for multiplayer action.

Games like Baseball and Tennis had the ability to give players their own view of the action. Nintendo also made sit-down versions of the Vs. cabinets, offering two monitor, back-to-back configuration where players would face each other while playing.

PlayChoice-10 (1986)

By the time the NES hit the market in 1985, the company started weaning itself out of the arcade industry. But because of the inexpensive hardware, its familiar game brands and its expertise in the coin-op industry, it put Nintendo in a good position to do arcade gaming on the cheap.

The company simply took the Punch-Out!! cabinet design, and literally installed modified NES systems inside it. For a mere quarter, players could play a few minutes of whatever NES game arcade owners built into the unit. As many as ten could be selected from an on-screen menu, hence the “10” in the system’s “PlayChoice-10” name. The upper screen offered the list of games available in the cabinet, as well as kept track of how much time a player had left for his credit. The lower monitor, of course, had all of the action from whatever game was selected.

Nintendo revived the PlayChoice-10 idea in a Super Nintendo-theme coin-op. But the engineers used only one display for this cabinet, providing text overlays instead of shoving the data onto a second monitor.

Game Boy (1989)

 When Nintendo brought out its Game Boy system back in 1989, it included the classic game Tetris in everybox. Not only was Tetris a perfect game to sell the new handheld, Nintendo made sure that it also capitalized on one of the Game Boy’s features: system link. With two systems, players could compete against each other, sending lines removed from one system and putting them in the opposing player’s bin.

The two screens offered exactly what Nintendo’s Vs. Arcade units had previously done: Game Boy versions of titles such as Baseball and Tennis featured link-up connectivity and gave each player their own unique view of the action. Racing games benefited as well, letting players see the action from their own perspective.

Nintendo upped the number of connected systems to four players in some games, a feature that required an add-on and games that were programmed specifically for it.

This was also evident in future gameboy consoles such as the Gameboy Light, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance (Will bring back into discussion in a minute), Gameboy SP and the Gameboy Micro.

Virtual Boy (1995)

It’s a system that Nintendo probably wants to forget, but it, too was one of the company’s examples of dual screen gaming. The whole idea behind the release of the Virtual Boy was its ability to offer unique, 3D graphics…something that the normal “glasses” technology couldn’t quite offer.

The technology used in this system worked like a Viewmaster, but instead of two photos skewed slightly for each eye, the Virtual Boy gave each eye a different image of the game via two unique LCD screens, one for each eye.

There’s no denying that the 3D effect worked, but due to technology restrictions and the insistence of bringing the cost down, the visuals were very unattractive because of the cheaper red-colored LCD screens. It also didn’t help that the system was also very awkward to play, since gamers had to shove their face into a visor to get into the action.

GameCube/GBA Connectivity (2001)

The Gameboy makes a return in the evolution of secondary screen gamings timeline here with the ability of connecting a GBA console to a GameCube console.

“Connectivity” was Nintendo’s attempt to meld its two strong platforms by offering gameplay elements that wouldn’t be possible without the console and handheld systems working hand-in-hand. Some ideas were just designs that supplemented the gaming experience, while others were designed specifically to take advantage of both a huge, public monitor and a personal screen private to the gamer.

One of the earliest concepts of “connectivity” between the GameCube and Game Boy Advance was Pac-Man Vs., a unique design where as many as four players could compete in a multiplayer version of the arcade game: three players controlled the ghost on the monitor, with Pac-Man controlled on the Game Boy Advance in an old-school top-down view.

The Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords Adventure is a perfect example of connectivity done right, with players moving from GameCube to Game Boy Advance as they cooperate with and compete against each other.

Nintendo DS (2004)

And then we come to the evolution of the Nintendo DS which I’ve covered above.

Just to recap the different evolutions of the DS family:

  • Nintendo DS 2004
  • Nintendo Lite 2006
  • Nintendo DSi 2008
  • Nintendo DSiXL 2009
  • Nintendo 3DS 2011
  • Nintendo 3DSXL 2012
  • Nintendo 2DS 2013

Next, I’ll be covering from the evolution of the Nintendo DS to current day consoles which feature the secondary Screen gaming experience.

My First Experience with Second Screen Gaming – Nintendo DS

29 Oct

NINTENDO NINTENDO DS(TM) SYSTEMS

The Nintendo DS was my first encounter with two screens, one being the gaming screen while the other being a secondary screen displaying information about what you’re currently undertaking. You may think a console that was released in 2004 shouldn’t be your first experience with anything but as a kid who grew up with a Playstation 1&2, this was my first encounter.

You could date back further where you could connect you and your friends gameboys together with a multi-tap but the Nintendo DS was the first big stepping stone in the evolution of secondary screen gaming.

 

Here is an example from the Nintendo DS where it features a gaming screen and information screen (Mario Kart DS)

 

After many initial DS games such as Mario Kart, games evolved from that to actually using both screens for gaming and not one for gaming one for info. This revolutionised the gaming experience – making gamers aware of events happening on two different screens which was a very new feature for them.

 

Here is an example of having to use two screen to play a game (Pokemon Black/White)

 

The Nintendo DS in my opinion was definitely the first step in the evolution of secondary screen gaming. From 2004 onwards, companys such as Microsoft and Sony picked up on this idea and continued to develop their ideas into the unimaginable. Later in this blog I will show you various examples of Secondary Screen Gaming through the ages and an insight into what the future holds for it.

 

The Evolution of Secondary Screen Gaming

25 Oct

Introduction

After thinking about topics for this assignment in relation to gaming – I’m choosing to talk about the current evolution of ‘Secondary Screen Gaming’.

What is Secondary Screen Gaming?

A second screen is a second electronic device used by television viewers to connect to a program they’re watching. A second screen is often a smartphone or tablet, where a special complementary app may allow the viewer to interact with a television program in a different way – the tablet or smartphone becomes a TV companion device. The second screen phenomenon represents an attempt to make TV more interactive for viewers, and help promote social buzz around specific programs.

A second screen is also known as a companion device.

The use of second screens or companion devices or applications is something that many are talking about in today’s broadcasting industry, where new display options, such as tablets and smartphones, are revolutionising the way businesses think about digital media.

A second screen allows for viewer interaction.

For example, some of these secondary displays could enable real-time chat about visual broadcasts, such as news or current event broadcasts. Second screens also can help shape how businesses reach customers, and how consumers use state-of-the-art technologies in an increasingly digital world.The use of second-screen broadcasts also coexists with the emergence of portable data delivery through cloud-based software systems, along with other ways of getting content over wireless platforms directly to a customer’s device.