Buying Battlefield 4 for Xbox 360? No second screen awesome-sauce for you, my lad. DICE assistant producer Jesper Nielsen has confirmed to Engadget that the game's vaunted Battlescreen companion app for tablets and smartphones will be exclusive to next generation consoles and PC.
The companion app can serve as a mini-map, a character customisation screen or a means of implementing orders in Commander Mode. It's joined at the hip to the next generation version of EA's Battlelog service. Here's a trailer:
"When we set out to build this, our biggest goal from the start was really to bring a better Battlelog to the console players," Nielsen told the site. It's next gen-only because it's entirely web-based, apparently, though he didn't go into great detail on this front, noting only that "Battlelog is powered by the web, and that has a lot of implications. There are a lot of different things you can do, things you can do faster, rather than building stuff in native code."
"It's going to be a lot easier for us to actually update things from the in-game Battlelog than would otherwise be the case," Nielsen added. "You'd have to do patches normally; here we can actually do things almost by the flick of a finger."
The app comes with a QR scanning feature which allows you to sign into Battlelog if you've forgotten your password. This is important, Nielsen suggested, because the existing EA Origin service can be rather clunky. "It might sound trivial, but it's actually making something that might be problematic for people super simple."
DICE apparently considered making use of Xbox One's Snap feature - which allows instant switching between programs running in the gaming partition and apps running in the Windows partition - but decided against it. "It's definitely something we looked at, and we are interested in that type of functionality.
"For us, it's still too early to really gauge the kind of opportunities there. It's something we've been keeping a close eye on and have been since we learned about it."
Nielsen explained himself further in a follow-up statement by email. "Creating a second-screen experience during gameplay is something completely new for us, so we're definitely treating it as a learning experience. We're super intrigued by these possibilities and early tests have showed that we're going in the right direction, but to be frank, it will stand its real test once we get it out to the players and see how they use it, both when they play and don't play.
"That will teach us a lot and help us innovate even more in this field. We don't have the answers to all the questions in this space yet, so it's definitely a bit of an experiment, but we're very confident with some of the steps we've taken to provide a truly meaningful and valuable second-screen experience."
Read up on the campaign here. I'll be checking out the multiplayer soon - anything you'd like to know?