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Qualcomm’s new mobile gaming hardware could end the console wars

qualcomm mobile end console wars

When most people think of gaming, they either think of playing on a console or gaming PC, but not on Qualcomm. Instead, the company says, the future of gaming is mobile, with the mobile gaming industry growing much faster than any other – even during the pandemic.

And Qualcomm would know: the company not only produces the Snapdragon chipsets that power a significant percentage of smartphones around the world, but its chips are also used in Windows laptops and standalone VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2.

Aside from chipsets, it also develops gaming-focused software features for smartphones, communication technologies, IoT technology, automotive systems and more. You could say he has his fingers in a lot of pies, so he has a good idea of ​​how the tech industry is developing.

“New generations of consoles [are] come out and yet mobile gaming is actually growing at a faster rate,” says Qualcomm’s head of marketing for games, Patrick Perkins, during a roundtable in February 2022, and the company has numbers to back up that claim. .

According to Qualcomm, mobile games accounted for 52% of the games industry in 2021, with console taking a 28% share and PC games 20%. This is a 15% increase over the previous year, continuing an upward trend in the sector.

“The easy answer is to say it’s Candy Crush, […] slot games, things like that, but it’s not.” Instead, it’s the convenience of mobile gaming that makes it so appealing. “People want to play where they are.” You don’t need to turn on your TV or boot up your PC to play games – in fact, if your phone is nearby, you don’t need to move at all.

There have also been huge advancements in the quality of mobile games over the past few years.

While mobile games were once simplistic and light on graphics, improvements in technology – both in smartphones and in the technology for developing games – mean that you can now get AAA-level gaming experiences on a smartphone. in titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Mobile without the need for a console or PC.

Crucially, the experiences on offer are more in line with those on PC and console, with similar control schemes and visuals, and even synced data.

“What you see is, in effect, an erosion of the walled gardens and platforms that we have [traditionally] had”.

Rather than single-platform hardcore gamers (think PC vs console), Qualcomm’s research suggests that modern gamers care more about big games and are happy to switch between console, PC and mobile depending on what which is available. “If you’re on the subway or on your way to work, you don’t take your PC with you […] but you can play another game, or even the same game [on your mobile]”.

It’s also important to consider the rise of cloud gaming, especially as super-fast 5G networks become active around the world.


Streaming services like Nvidia GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Google Stadia and PlayStation Now allow instant access to console and PC games traditionally unavailable on a smartphone, and the rise of mobile controllers means the experience is nearly identical – well than on a smaller screen.

“Netflix is ​​just Netflix no matter where you access it,” and gaming could go in a similar direction, depending on the developers and available technology of course. That’s where Qualcomm comes in, helping to build the technology to fit such a future.

On the mobile front, this not only comes in the form of Snapdragon processors, but also software that manufacturers and developers can use to optimize the gaming experience on offer.

Qualcomm’s fourth iteration of Snapdragon Elite Gaming – a set of gaming features from Qualcomm – enables high frame rate gaming, 10-bit HDR quality, and desktop-level capabilities like updatable GPU drivers, with notable new additions including volumetric rendering, improved appearance of smoke and fog in games.

New hardware is also in the works to improve the mobile gaming experience. At its Snapdragon Summit in December 2021, Qualcomm unveiled a prototype handheld console made in collaboration with Razer.


At its heart is Qualcomm’s new G3x Gen 1 chipset, with the ability to run games at 144fps in 10-bit HDR through a 6.65-inch OLED panel. It’s a great way to envision Qualcomm’s platform-independent future, with the handheld capable of running native Android games alongside console and PC games from the various streaming services available. on Android. “It’s kind of an aggregator,” Perkins remarked.

Although not currently scheduled for release, the company has begun shipping dev kits to interested parties who want to develop on the upcoming platform. We got hands-on with the G3X Gen 1 device at the Snapdragon Summit if you want to know a bit more about what’s on offer from the prototype.

So, is it really time to ditch PC or console and jump into mobile gaming? After all, there are plenty of quality gaming phones on the market.

Not enough. There will always be a place for both PC and console gaming, as these platforms will always have the hardware to deliver an improved local experience over mobile.

“I’m not saying dedicated hardware is going to go away… let’s say, in a world where you’re streaming 8K through the cloud, with dedicated hardware you’ll get 16K. There’s always going to be a place for that, but it’s going to happen at some point where, if you want that experience, it’s going to be on a screen somewhere.”

Instead, it’s about less tribalism between game platforms, with more games available on more platforms, so you don’t have to “worry about how [you] play, or what specs [you] need, it’s just the experience in your hands”.

Let’s just hope the future comes sooner rather than later, huh?

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