Battlefield 4 will use your tablet as a ‘second screen’

There’s been a lot of talk about tablets and other handhelds drawing gamers away from traditional platforms. Well, with Battlefield 4, it looks like EA DICE wants tablets to contribute to the traditional experience. As Polygon reports, Battlefield 4 will let you use a tablet as a "second screen" to fiddle with the game map, change your equipment loadout, or find a new server.

Here’s a demonstration of the functionality by Jesper Nielsen and Oskar Gabrielson, the EA DICE folks in charge of the Battlelog interface:

I kind of like the concept. A lot of us have a tablet sitting idle during our gaming sessions, so making use of the extra screen to speed up in-game actions make plenty of sense.

The demo video shows the console version of the game, so I’m not sure if the "second screen" feature will work with the PC version. I hope it will. Of course, with a PC, you hardly need a tablet to provide extra screen real estate—there’s always the option of plugging in an extra monitor… or five. It would be nice if more games let you use auxiliary displays as more than mere extensions of the main viewport.

Update: The video has been pulled from YouTube, apparently because of a "copyright claim by EA." I guess the company wasn’t quite ready to show the second-screen feature in action.

Update 2: EA has posted an official version of the video.

Comments closed
    • BenBasson
    • 9 years ago

    No reason why it shouldn’t update quickly. Battlelog uses a plugin to interconnect with the BF3 game engine, in theory it should update instantaneously.

    • BenBasson
    • 9 years ago

    No, please don’t. Battelog is infinitely better than the BF2 server browser. I’d much rather see more products like Battlelog to accompany games, and far fewer clunky half-baked in-game shit.

    • Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
    • 9 years ago

    During the day of Falcon 3.0, I had fantasy about the ability of using small touch screens as the aircraft’s MFDs. When such devices are actually made (tablets, it is), the flight simulation genre has almost died and people using small screen to play first-person shooter instead.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    Except this will require you to log on with your tablet to their special app, accept the ToS on that device which undoubtedly required every possible permission it has to be “allowed”, and be greeted with EVEN MORE advertisements than when on battlelog alone.

    • Erebos
    • 9 years ago

    It will be browser-based, so it’s OS-agnostic.

    • Erebos
    • 9 years ago

    More like adding another tickbox for 2013.
    Watch_Dogs and The Division are already confirmed to have tablet support. I expect a lot more to come.

    • Mad_Dane
    • 9 years ago

    GL on getting the brain dead sports zombies to keep buying the same game over and over and over and over….

    • Alexko
    • 9 years ago

    It’s because consoles are all about consistency. If you enable triple-screen support, you need three times the graphics power, or rather you need to lower the details to maintain a good framerate.

    But then, the 95%+ of users who play on a single display will get lower details for no reason. You could work around that by making details configurable in the options, but that defeats the purpose of consoles, which is precisely to keep everything constant an uniform, allowing for easier development and better optimization.

    Thankfully, PCs exist, and offer further advantages.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    Well, this should help tablet sales and make PC sales look worse.

    • Dashak
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not sure why it would be preferable to use a mobile device to do what the controller already in your hands should be able to do better and faster with superior hardware and wired ethernet. It might be neat to select the server away from the game, but that’s just extra. Valve has had its server browser available in the background with its games for years, why can’t EA figure it out too?

    Just one of the many reasons I’ve been boycotting EA for the past three years, though I would have really liked to continue with the Battlefield series.

    • squeeb
    • 9 years ago

    lol

    • Airmantharp
    • 9 years ago

    Which disappeared when?

    • Airmantharp
    • 9 years ago

    Hey now, this is actually pretty cool. May not be fully developed or exploited, but it’s the kind of innovative stuff we need.

    • Airmantharp
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll have both :).

    Wonder if they’ll release it for the original Kindle Fire…

    • travbrad
    • 9 years ago

    DICE has confirmed you can use a 2nd monitor or laptop as a “mini”-map since it’s going to be browser based, which is a lot more useful than a tablet (if only because it’s a lot easier to get them to stand up on your desk)

    I still wonder whether it will update quickly enough though. If the map is behind by even 1 second it’s pretty much useless.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    Aww shucks. If only it can also use my smartphone as a third screen.

    There’s no such thing as having too many screens.

    /sarcasm

    • Choz
    • 9 years ago

    What they should do is let you use your iphone or android phone screen to act as the rear vision mirror on a car game and you could mount it above your middle monitor.

    Or use the gyro in it to make it an in-game mirror, you could hold up and use to look around a corner.

    • Stickmansam
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm wouldn’t it be better to be able to avoid the kill screen entirely if you want and just cycle to change load out or server like that? Maybe implement a change server overlay or change load out overlay to be be activated over the killscreen and being able to change server without leaving the current game. This gets the same things done without relying on a separate screen/device.

    I do find the extra larger minimap a useful tool but can they implement it on a second screen on the same device e.g. the second screen or the fourth screen.

    This way everyone and not just those with a second device can benefit.

    If purchases are made using the apps for the tablet/phone, will it count as revenue from the device that actually plays the game (PC/Console) or will it count as mobile?

    • DrCR
    • 9 years ago

    Bu bu but that’s copyright infringement! o_o

    • Laykun
    • 9 years ago

    So what parts of this couldn’t have been done in the game itself? Don’t you have to look away from the game to focus on your tablet/phone? In what way does this uniquely leverage the touchscreen as opposed to mouse keyboard input?

    Oh that’s right, it’s full of crap.

    • Choz
    • 9 years ago

    With the left hand EA shall give.

    With the right hand EA shall DRM to death.

    • wizpig64
    • 9 years ago

    And now I at least have a semi-legitimate reason for buying a nexus 7 😀

    • James Carlsom
    • 9 years ago

    This looked pretty good when the video was actually up. They only used apple touch screens though, does anybody know if you can use a Windows tablet?

    • DarkUltra
    • 9 years ago

    And I want 7.1 audio back.

    • DarkUltra
    • 9 years ago

    check out #19 someone re-uploaded the video 😀

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    Meh, well I would’ve liked to see this video. It could be good or it could be outright attrocious. Supcom had multi-screen support, but they didn’t really utilize it all that well (it was essentially just a clone, nothing special about it). Hopefully they take that space to actually utilize some special assets. I know that extra screen space doesn’t always yield tangible results though, like with my G15… That extra little screen did nothing useful for me, except in WoW, when it would show me when I got a PM when I was tabbed out. >:(

    • glacius555
    • 9 years ago

    So they want you to live in the game?

    • Prion
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]A lot of us have a tablet sitting idle during our gaming sessions[/quote<] Really, when did that happen? I didn't have one for the longest time, I finally broke down and got a cheapie while I was living in Shanghai, and now my fiance is almost using it while I'm gaming... and come to think of it quite often even when I'm not. Maybe time to lay out another 500RMB?

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    Ah yes, innovation by embracing p̶r̶o̶g̶r̶e̶s̶s̶ gimmicks.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    And people say dice doesn’t innovate.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    Yup, because it’s largely the SupCom team working on PA, and Supcom was really flexible about multi-monitors being able to display whatever the hell you wanted on each one.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    or a DS.

    • brucethemoose
    • 9 years ago

    Isn’t planetary annihilation supposed to support multiple displays? I don’t know about tablets, but from what I’ve heard, you can display the battlefield and control units on one screen, and rewind/review a battle or watch your seperate asteroid base on another.

    • kravo
    • 9 years ago

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YfJ0tXjFiI[/url<] God bless the internetz! I want back my in-game browser.

    • deathBOB
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t understand this complaint. DICE’s server browsers tend to suck…

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]This has a lot of potential (if done well). You could modify your loadout without making it obscure your screen. Same goes for score screens. In an RTS, I could see this as a minimap replacement, opening up more screen real estate for action.[/quote<] You can't even modify your loadout between your death and spawn in BF3. You have to spectate the asshat who killed you and twiddle your thumbs. Their screenflow is atrocious and irritating and makes you waste time changing these things while you're alive and could be playing instead of your downtime between spawns. One of my biggest pet peeves about BF3. The way they're using this to enhance the commander feature in BF4 is great, hopefully they will un-derp the rest of the game while they're at it.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Too hot out to bake.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Reminds me a bit of Falcon AT where you could have your main gameplay on the EGA monitor and then slap in a Hercules MDA and have a second monitor as your radar display.

    • tanker27
    • 9 years ago

    For the love of god…….Just put in an in game server browser!!!! Stop this craziness.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 9 years ago

    Punkbuster is a mild PITA for what it can do: stop a majority of hacks. 99% of the time, I don’t even bother launching a game after it’s been installed and updated — I’ll make sure to get Punkbuster updated.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve found this issue with numerous games over time. I’m sorry for you but a good weekend of tinkering will probably allow you to resolve it.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    So you want a Wii U…

    • jossie
    • 9 years ago

    The tablet might be my only screen. I built a new computer in part to play BF4. Fired up BFBC2 and it hard locks within an hour or so. Evidently there’s a bug in punkbuster that causes BFBC2 and BF3 to hard lock on many systems, and it hasn’t been fixed for the past few years.

    • Waco
    • 9 years ago

    Or perhaps everyone should actually boycott EA till they stop pulling this kind of crap.

    * by “this kind of crap” I mean continuing to exist as a company that somehow gets people to give it money.

    • Firestarter
    • 9 years ago

    yeah maybe TR should indulge EA and stop reporting on BF4 completely

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    Why did shortbreads stop coming daily? Is there a problem?

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    At least they’re going the right way with this. IMO, one of the failings of alternative controls (Kinect is a bad offender) is that they’re forced on as a primary control instead of using it as a controller + functionality device.

    This has a lot of potential (if done well). You could modify your loadout without making it obscure your screen. Same goes for score screens. In an RTS, I could see this as a minimap replacement, opening up more screen real estate for action.

    • Dposcorp
    • 9 years ago

    This is my main gripe with new consoles…..they still only support one screen. How stupid is that?
    I have seen PCs and iMacs, laptop and Macbooks supporting multiple displays for years.
    Recently, I have seen laptops with dual BUILT IN displays, as well as phone & tablets with multiple displays.

    But brand new Gen consoles can only output to 1 display? Weak as hell which is a main reason I wont buy one.

    • slowriot
    • 9 years ago

    I find those benefits to be minimal at best, even if well executed. Which is doubtful considering Battlelog still has its share of problem for BF3. This also isn’t just a “free” addition. It requires development time to create, and development time going forward to maintain. I just see this as a waste of those resources for features that look better in marketing material than in use.

    • orik
    • 9 years ago

    “Video no longer available due to a copyright claim by EA”

    Jesus. Sorry for the free advertising EA. Next time we’ll make sure to not talk about your product.

    • Chaseme
    • 9 years ago

    I ONLY saw apple tablets and phones in that video.

    Considering the total disaster that was Battlelog when BF3 came out (and still is pretty terrible) I’ll be totally surprised if they can pull this off.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    That’s actually a good idea. But does the tablet have to be a Windows-based one..?

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