Xbox SmartGlass downloaded 17 million times

Microsoft details the future of SmartGlass on Xbox One

In a presentation at Build 2013, Microsoft principal program manager Rosa Thomas revealed that the Xbox SmartGlass companion app has been downloaded 17 million times since its launch in October 2012. She also said that 89 percent of users returned within the same week, with users spending 16 minutes on average with SmartGlass per application. Thomas said that partners can use SmartGlass hooks to deepen engagement, expand their audience, improve discoverability, and promote more social connections.

She also detailed the upcoming Xbox One SmartGlass experience. One major change is that the SmartGlass does not auto-launch the companion content for what's on your main Xbox One screen.

"[The users] like the control. We have so many things we want them to see and do. We didn't want to presume what the user wants to do," she said.


The new SmartGlass is multi-functional, looking more like a Windows 8 tablet when launched. Users can even pin apps and games to Xbox One SmartGlass, like the Windows 8 Start Screen. SmartGlass has a new Help feature, with Thomas stating that all Xbox One developers are required to have some content for the Help function built-in to their games. SmartGlass experiences range from filterable maps in Forza Horizon, song lists for Karaoke, or clips and chapter selection on movies.

Thomas explained that the Xbox One would support up to 16 SmartGlass connections on a single console, with access to local hardware options, including accelerometers and touch. Streaming game content to the SmartGlass device is allowed, but only for exclusive SmartGlass apps, with Thomas stressing that it's not intended for remote play. Finally, she also played up the connection between Xbox One and Windows 8, allowing users to load up content on the Xbox One via the Devices charm in Windows 8.1.

The presentation outlined a SmartGlass that's a far bigger part of the Xbox One, but it remains to be seen if developers will support it the way Microsoft hopes they will.

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Latest comments (6)

Petter Solberg Freelance Writer & Artist, 3 years ago
"We didn't want to presume what the user wants to do"
Of course you wouldn't.
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Tristan King Marketing, Plyfe3 years ago
I still find it hard to see Microsoft creating an appeal in Smartglass similar to Nintendo's Wii U Gamepad, outside of gimmicky stats information mid game or (dare I say) TV/Sports controls.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
Well, I use it for a LoveFilm remote and typing is far easier than using the analogue sticks, so it is a must if you use the web browser without a usb keyboard. But not sure if much of the other functionality is being used?
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Show all comments (6)
Ben Gonshaw Game Design Consultant, AKQA3 years ago
I'd be interested to see some more meaningful metrics.

So far we have 11% of people only use it once.
How many of the remaining 89% go on to use it again? What is the true long-term retention rate?

I've seen that people "use it" for 16mins on average.
That's because you can fire it up on your phone and then put it down and play a game or just carry on watching the movie and not use it again. I'd be more interested if it was 16 minutes of sustained use....

If we knew more about actual usage, then maybe we'd be more enticed to build things for it...
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago

This is bigger than Wii-U!
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises3 years ago
I installed this on my Windows Phone 7, and used it once. But that phone was a turd that has been replaced by my Nexus 4.
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