E3 2012 sees Microsoft in a unique position among the console companies. While Sony may make game consoles, televisions, and laptops, only Microsoft owns both a console ecosystem and major PC operating system. And with Windows 8 only months away, now may be the perfect time to finally draw a solid line connecting the two. But based on what we've seen at the Microsoft E3 press conference, this may not be the year for that.
SmartGlass, the new multi-screen/multi-platform app from Microsoft, is a good start. While SmartGlass will be available on many types of tablets and phones, Microsoft was sure to emphasize that Windows 8 as a SmartGlass platform, presumably both on the traditional PC desktop/laptop version of Windows, as well as Windows RT tablets.
It can fling video content from PC to console to tablet, and then turn your device into a "second screen." In games, such as Halo 4, it feels a bit like the second screen on a Nintendo DS or 3DS. Going the other direction, SmartGlass can throw a browser window up on your TV screen via Xbox.
Additional specific Windows-based tie-ins, especially on the gaming front, have not been spelled out yet, beyond the sharing of achievements, using the SmartGlass interface to join multiplay games on your Xbox, and using your tablet or other SmartGlass device to control an Internet Explorer browser on your big-screen TV, via the Xbox.
We'll have more details on Xbox/Windows 8 tie-ins as they develop.