In a rare piece of non-Nintendo news this morning we have Microsoft officially making the software development kit for its upcoming SmartGlass feature available to the Microsoft Game Developer Network (via Joystiq). All members can grab a copy of the SDK and start tinkering right now with the tools it offers, as described during Microsoft's E3 2012 press conference.
For those who missed it, SmartGlass is a new feature coming to Xbox 360 that allows developers to create supplemental software for their games that runs on a second screen, such as a tablet or smartphone. Examples shown during the presser include checking out maps in Halo 4 and using a tablet's touch screen to hand-draw play patterns in Madden NFL 13.
This is almost certainly a response to Nintendo's Wii U GamePad and the potential for Sony's PlayStation Vita to be used as a touch screen-bearing PlayStation 3 controller. It also just makes good sense. Kinect is cool for family time and parties, but today's multitasking adult gamer is typically surrounded with a variety of screens. Why not put one of those to work as a secondary device that enhances your playing experience?
Microsoft hasn't set a final release plan for SmartGlass yet, but the company traditionally releases its big console updates in November, right around the anniversary of the Xbox 360 console's launch. It's probably a safe bet that we'll see a similar situation unfold in 2012. Releasing the SDK now hopefully means that developers will have some content waiting right when the new feature launches.