With the ever-increasing integration of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices with our gaming consoles, the whole second screen phenomenon is opening the door to improved experiences and innovative experiments. But just like with any technology, you get duds that are developed merely for the sake of being developed.
Here are 5 companion apps actually worth taking up some storage space on your mobile device.
1. SmartGlass (Xbox)
Microsoft did a good thing when they launched SmartGlass. The app works seamlessly with your Xbox, allowing you do everything from controlling playback of video and navigating the menus to getting second screen content from what you’re playing. If you’re controller’s battery is dead, or you just want the convenience of controlling your Xbox from your smartphone, then SmartGlass is a must-have. If only it could turn the console on as well…
Until the PS4 app is made available with the soon-to-be released next-generation console, Playstation owners are without a SmartGlass equivalent of their own.
2. YouTube App (PS3)
Navigating the YouTube app on your PS3 is clunky, to say the least. Make it easier on yourself by downloading the YouTube app on your tablet or smartphone and connecting it to the corresponding PS3 app. From your paired device, typing and surfing videos becomes much more manageable, and whatever you’re watching on your device you can transfer straight to your TV.
3. Battlelog (Xbox, PS3)
Any longtime Battlefield fans know the series is all about immersion. And there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the Battlefield universe on-the-go than with the Battlelog app. From the game’s companion app you can see which of your friends are online playing and on what maps, check your stats, review assignments and medals, and more.
Expanding on the fully immersive experience even further, the next iteration of Battlelog for BF4 will allow players to do things like change loadouts and interact with live games in a commander role—dropping supplies and providing support right from their mobile device—potentially changing the tide of battle. Hooah!
4. Call of Duty Elite (Xbox, PS3)
You can’t talk about a Battlefield app without also talking about a Call of Duty app. The Call of Duty Elite app for mobile devices is a necessity for true Black Ops II and MW3 fans. A rich experience packed with features, the app lets you do everything from chatting with fellow clan members to editing your weapon loadouts on the fly.
The new app set to accompany the latest Call of Duty game; COD: Ghosts, will give players more engaging second screen functionality and even deeper players stats.
5. Netflix (PS3)
Though already built into the SmartGlass app for Xbox, PS3 owners also have the opportunity to control their Netflix account on their console. In a similar vein as the aforementioned YouTube app, all that’s required is a simple login to the service on both devices and you have control over the console app from your mobile device.
It’s a nifty tool that keeps playback control at the ready, particularly when your controller auto-shuts off.
Honorable Mentions – Once Great Apps
Mass Effect 3 Datapad (Xbox, PS3)
As if there wasn’t enough to digest from the game itself, the Mass Effect 3 Datapad app provided quick and easy access to a vast library of Mass Effect lore. Characters, planets, technology, weapons, you name it—it was all available until BioWare pulled the plug earlier this year. You can still get all the info from N7HQ webpage, but it’s not bundled up nicely in the cool app, and you’ll need to create an account to get access.
NFL Sunday Ticket app (PS3)
Unfortunately no longer available on the PS3, DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket app was nice while it lasted. The console app let you subscribe to the football service without having a full DirecTV subscription. And the accompanying mobile app let you watch games live (which you still can with the right sports apps) from your device.
With the latest Microsoft/NFL deal, rumor has it the app could be making its way to the Xbox One, giving console Sunday Ticket subscribers the ability to use the mobile app again.