While Nintendo's new Wii U is dedicated to two-screen games with touch-based controls, both Apple's iPad and Sony's PS Vita are exploring similar concepts.
Earlier this week, Apple announced iOS5, a major update to its mobile operating system, one element of which introduces AirPlay Mirroring. This pairs an iPad with an AppleTV - the latter outputting a game to an HDTV, and the former controlling it while optionally showing additional information on its own screen.
Mobile studio Firemint will be the first to release a game using AirPlay Mirroring, in the form of Real Racing 2 HD. The iPad's screen will show track maps and times while the Apple TV shows the race itself. "We see AirPlay as a real game-changer," stated Firemint.
"It allows us to bring a fresh, never-before-seen level of freedom to Real Racing 2 HD. Combined with the precision steering and brilliant 3D visuals made possible by iPad 2′s phenomenal hardware, Real Racing 2 HD over AirPlay promises an experience you'll have to play to believe."
Meanwhile, Sony has floated the possibility of achieving something similar via a PS3 and PSVita combo. Said SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuehi Yoshida to Develop, "Already people are starting to ask about linking Vita and PS3 to do something similar, in terms of using two screens, and having controls on the screen.
"Lots of the things that developers of Vita games are doing, as you may have seen, is experimenting with connectivities between Vita and PS3... The Wipeout team came up with their cross play ideas, and the other Vita teams have come up with ways of playing with two systems. It's just a matter of time, as we provide the SDKs to developers so they can make use of both PS3 and Vita, and they might come up with something interesting."
In any case, the concept is hardly a new one - Nintendo itself has previously experimented with two-system play in the GameCube/GameBoy Advance era.