Still a bit early to tell, was our first-hand experience
With the release of the iOS version of SmartGlass, we were finally able to experiment in using the SmartGlass technology for the Xbox 360 with one of the first titles to offer support for it, which just happened to be the recently-released Forza Horizon.
Forza Horizon’s use of the SmartGlass technology is relegated to the use of the SmartGlass device (in our case, a 3rd generation iPad) for using the map within the game. The idea to support the SmartGlass technology using the Forza Horizon map was actually a pretty good idea, as you can use standard tablet controls such as pinch and zoom to navigate the map and set your route. Since the map is such a big part of this racer game, the use of the SmartGlass technology is very applicable here.
The problem, however, was that every time after I finished a race, I had to put down the controller and pick up the iPad, then proceed to unlock it and then navigate the map, set the route, put down the iPad, pick up the controller and get on my way to the next event. It actually seemed to detract from the continuity of the Forza Horizon experience. It was good if you had a friend holding the iPad and navigating the map for you, otherwise it just seemed to make the gaming experience lose continuity, and it simply made it take longer.
While this is the first time we have had a chance to use SmartGlass with a real gaming title and this is one of the first to take advantage of it, we don’t know what the future will hold. We suspect that it will yield better and different experiences that are more applicable in the future. In this case, the SmartGlass support for Forza Horizon (while very well executed) seemed to only really work well if you had a partner that was watching you play the game and was handling the map navigation.
In our regular playing of the game, it is doubtful that we would use it regularly, which leads it to be a novelty at this time for the most part. Still, it gives us a glimpse of what the future will hold; but we think the best uses for SmartGlass within games that make the most sense are yet to come. For right now at least, the Forza Horizon SmartGlass experience didn’t really prove to be something that enhanced the game in such a way that we could not live without it.