At Gamezebo, we generally leave console gaming coverage to the other guys and gals. Throw a tablet into the mix, though, and now you’re talking our language.

Both Microsoft and EA showed off ways the so-called second screen could be a bigger part of the console gaming experience at their E3 press briefings yesterday. From the looks of it, we’ll soon be moving away from apps that give you stats or let you tinker around the edges of a console game and getting into full-fledged connected territory.

The Xbox team has talked up the potential of SmartGlass in the past, but the fall arrival of the Xbox One means there might finally be something interesting to do with it when it comes to gaming. For the upcoming Roman hack and slash actionfest Ryse, players will be able to launch single player campaigns, set up multiplayer matches and use a timeline feature to get real time updates on how their friends are progressing through the game from their smartphone or tablet – and maybe get some gameplay hints by watching footage those friends have saved and made public.

If anything, EA went even one better. During its demonstration of Need For Speed Rivals, we got a look at a racer trying to avoid capture while a second player pursued in a police vehicle. A third player used a tablet app to help the police side, getting a helicopter into position to highlight the runner and possibly distract him as well.

 

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That dude on the iPad is busting out a bad ass helicopter in your next gen console game. No, really.

 

Battlefield 4 unveiled the return of Commander Mode, where one player can receive detailed locations of all of his or her team members, issue commands and distribute supplies. Considering the 32v32 matches the new game can support, that level of coordination could be vital, and it’s going to be available through tablets as well.

The near future of gaming will continue to pit consoles versus mobile devices when it comes to vying for people’s free time, but they’re going to be able to play nice together too. And really, if you’re going to shell out the dough for a next gen machine plus a tablet, that’s a comforting thought.