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Dual-screen duels: Wii U vs SmartGlass vs Cross-Play

We keep tabs on the future of gaming tablets....

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Cross-Controller

Like Microsoft, Sony's tablet/console link-up strategy has been in the mixer for years, to the extent that it's driven every inch of hardware design for their latest handheld console, the PS Vita.

All this convergence gumpf, you see, is nothing new to Sony. The PS3 has been capable of beaming images into our laps as far back as 2008, via the Remote Play link-up feature with the original PSP.

This allowed us to play select PS3 titles such as Lair on the go (there's no escape!), but ultimately the service was stymied by the PSP's lack of a second analogue stick and was quickly forgotten about.

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The marriage between PS3 and PS Vita is likely to be far more enduring. Dubbed Cross-Play, it enables PS3 owners to use the Vita as an enhanced PS3 controller.

Crucially, this includes the Vita's roomy touch screen. An upcoming patch for Little Big Planet 2 for example will allow Vita owners to craft levels on the Vita's screen and save them onto their PS3.

In terms of pure functionality for video games, it's the best of the three tablet solutions by far. The Vita has more control options than any other handheld device in history and if utilised properly, the PS3/Vita Cross-Controller love-in could benefit our games in myriad ways.

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But will it ever be properly explored outside of a few first-party Sony releases? If developers are going to be hesitant to reduce their audience by betting on SmartGlass-enabled tablets, they'll be pooing Vita-sized bricks about the prospect of risking their livelihoods on a handheld machine that's considered by some analysts to be DOA.

Still, in its own small way the Cross-Controller functionality will be of huge value to Sony fans.

It may not have the ambition of SmartGlass nor the commercial reach of Wii U, but it exists for just one reason: to make games better. In the current multimedia-obsessed climate, that's something we gamers can surely all applaud.

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