It wasn’t long ago that Microsoft announced its SmartGlass second-screen app, which gives users better control of their viewing experience by connecting the Xbox game console with mobile and tablet devices. Now the company is trying to use the experience to court sports fans, with updates for its ESPN and NBA Game Time apps, as well as the launch of a new Sports Picks experience.
With its SmartGlass apps for Windows, Android, and iOS devices, Microsoft enables users to navigate and control the content that they want to watch from their smartphones and tablets instead of using the game controller to do so. Since these touch-screen interfaces are generally more intuitive to use, the interface provides a better user experience than other control mechanisms.
As it applies to ESPN and NBA Game Time, the new SmartGlass experience will allow users to browse through various videos of live events and highlight reels, select the ones they want to watch, and then send those videos to the Xbox for viewing.
The SmartGlass second-screen experience also allows for more interactivity with the content that people are watching. And that’s where the new Sports Picks app comes in. The Sports Picks experience will let viewers compete against their friends and others to show off how savvy they are about the games they’re watching. That will put them up against their Xbox Live friends, as well as others on a global leaderboard.
Microsoft is no longer positioning the Xbox as a game console, but as a hub for all the media center that goes through the home. Since sports is a big part of what keeps people watching TV live, adding these enhancements will hopefully get its users even more engaged.