Mobile Gaming and Hardware Advancements — What’s Next?

by in General | Oct, 19th 2021

The mobile gaming industry is quite an interesting beast, and we mean that in both good ways and bad. Gaming on the go is the future, so it should come as no surprise that everyone’s trying to get in “on the action.” Hardware, of course, is an integral component and is intrinsically tied to mobile gaming and its growth. 

Better, more powerful hardware almost always results in better video games. It is an oversimplification, no doubt, but it’s still true. These two things go hand-in-hand, and whenever developers have ample performance headroom and are given a chipset that is powerful enough for their needs, they tend to create experiences and video games that can blow our minds in the best of ways. 

Just look at Genshin Impact, for instance. It is, by all means, a console-like title with a staggering amount of depth and a beautiful virtual world to match. The sheer fact that it is available for our phones and tablets boggles the mind. That alone tells you all you need to know when it comes to mobile gaming and the power level of today’s portable hardware. Diablo Immortal can also serve as a great example. It might be despised by millions of gamers across the globe, but its beauty and overall graphical fidelity cannot be brought into question.

It is, in many ways, the quintessential Diablo experience, and it’ll soon become available for the kind of device we all carry around on the daily — if that isn’t mind-blowing, we don’t know what is. 

Still, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Whenever there’s a burgeoning field or industry — along with ample demand — things tend to get out of hand pretty darn quickly. 

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

There’s a brand new reveal almost every month, it feels like, a brand new device that has seemingly rendered its predecessor and many forerunners obsolete. And, well, the performance numbers are rarely highlighted, and even if they are, they’re laid out in such a way to make things seem a lot more favorable for the manufacturer and its latest and “greatest” offering. Good logic and reason, therefore, take a back seat.

Most folks fall prey to these disgusting tactics. We all want the next big thing; we want to feel included and up-to-date. And, well, some of us are willing to spend more for that luxury than others. In any case, we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns quite a while ago. The upcoming Snapdragon 898 SoC from Qualcomm is way more powerful than we need it to be, and the same goes for Apple’s obscenely potent A15 Bionic and the Exynos 2200 that Samsung’s currently working on.

That last chipset is slated to bring ray tracing to the table, a feature that most PC gamers haven’t even experienced. Do we need ray tracing on our mobile phones? Of course not, but that won’t stop Samsung and AMD (who have developed its GPU) from marketing it as the next best thing since sliced bread.

We don’t need stronger chipsets or faster displays, or an additional set of touch-sensitive triggers on the back of our phones. These things are redundant at best. However, what we do need is more efficient hardware, a broader range of diverse options, and, if possible, lower prices. A surefire way to make mobile gaming even more popular and omnipresent would be to lower its barrier for entry. Give everyone a sufficiently powerful SoC regardless of the depth of their pockets and you’ll reap the rewards almost overnight.

We Are at an Impasse

For some odd reason (perhaps an obvious lack of creativity and forward-thinking), most hardware manufacturers (an umbrella term, in this particular case) believe that creating more powerful SoCs is what the world of mobile gaming needs. They also think that cramming in more cores and attaining higher clock speeds is equivalent to innovation — a pitiful philosophy, no doubt, one driven by their unyielding quest for profit rather than any real urge to push the envelope. 

The limitations of mobile gaming have always been tied to physical controls — or lack thereof. Most phones come equipped with humongous screens, but they lose a lot of their immensity whenever our thumbs cover up a good chunk of the surface. You can design around this, but sooner or later, it does become a hindrance. 

Fortunately, certain companies got the memo and are trying to develop a solution of sorts. Steam Deck’s immense pre-order success also indicates one thing very clearly: there’s a market for this kind of thing, and it’s quite sizable, too. What’s lacking, however, is a varied list of options to choose from. Some of us want a bespoke portable gaming console like the one from Lenovo that was just leaked mere days ago. Others, however, prefer the full-fledged nature of Valve’s Steam Deck. Some want a bigger canvas that would display their favorite Android/iOS titles. In contrast, others want a full-blown operating system that would turn said device into a personal computer when connected to a monitor/set of peripherals. 

And, by the looks of it, these “niche” devices are going to flood the market sooner rather than later. That, in short, is what we’ve been waiting for — an actual evolution of sorts that came into existence organically.

As for the “latest and greatest” devices, the ones with the fastest displays and more RAM than you can shake a stick at, with internal storage that’s faster than the one most of us have in our desktop PCs and laptops. We can only say the following: don’t believe the hype.


Leave a Reply