At the GameBeat 2012 conference, Don Mattrick, the President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, made an offhand comment about how “Halo 4 will work with Surface,” Microsoft’s upcoming tablet. Many sites quickly picked up on this story, acting as if this was new information and attempting to speculate on just how the two Microsoft-owned properties would be integrated.
The thing is, what’s special about the Surface is its hardware, not its software. The device will run the same version of Windows 8 (or Windows RT, if you choose the ARM-based version) as any other PC this fall. Mattrick was actually referring to the upcoming Xbox SmartGlass app, which will be made available on Windows 8, as well as Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. SmartGlass, of course, allows game developers, movie studios, and any other form of content provider to serve up additional information or features on a companion device in real time. Furthermore, at E3 2012 earlier this summer, Microsoft Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer told Joystiq that starting this fall, all of the company’s first-party games will support SmartGlass.
So yes, Halo 4 will work with Surface. But not because of some special feature exclusive to Microsoft’s own tablet. Surface runs Windows 8, Windows 8 supports SmartGlass, SmartGlass features will be included in all games published by Microsoft Studios, and one of Microsoft Studios’ titles is Halo 4. We’ve known this for a while now; it’s not news, people. Heck, Microsoft even showed off a concept of what this multiplatform integration could look like at E3. If Mattrick was somewhat coy on the subject at GameBeat, it’s only because he didn’t want to reveal exactly how Halo 4 will work with SmartGlass.