Today, mobile gamers have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a new title to play. In addition to the casual games that became popular in the 2010s, they can also pick from a wide range of AAA franchises like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and even Forza. On top of that, online casinos have made their huge catalogs of table games and slots available for mobile users, and even allow new players to use their range of different bonus offers through smartphone apps.
But as mobile games have grown in size and quality, so too have those released on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms. Despite this, some in the industry have posited the idea that there could be a time when all video games run on smartphones. Is this just wishful thinking or is there some merit to the claim?
Rapid Progress in Mobile SOCs
The CPUs found in consoles and computers are different to those used in smartphones. The x64 AMD and Intel processors are incredibly complex pieces of technology while the ARM64 chips found in smartphones and tablets are comparatively simpler.
The performance of ARM chips was always considered to be inferior to that of x64 because they use a technology known as “reduced instruction set” (RISC). But with the release of Apple’s ARM-based M1 and M2 CPUs, the processor landscape has been flipped on its head since these are faster than their Intel predecessors.
We could, therefore, possibly see a time in the near future when mobile devices reach parity, at least in terms of CPUs.
Streaming Could Plug the Gap
In the meantime, Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and several other major players in the gaming industry are working on video game streaming technology.
This allows players to load up a game on just about any device and run it from the cloud rather than locally on their device. This means that even low-powered computers, smartphones, and tablets can run AAA titles with ease.
The technology is by no means perfect, there are still kinks to be ironed out, but this could make an iPhone capable of running PS5 games in the future.
The Graphics Gulf
One area where it is possibly unreasonable to expect mobile devices to match bigger devices is in graphics. The GPUs found in gaming computers are the size of bricks and require multiple fans and/or liquid cooling systems to help them run at an optimal level.
There is no reasonable way to achieve parity with this on a mobile device. Not only that but a smartphone is not going to be able to offer the same visual experience as a console connected to a TV simply because it is much smaller.
So, while smartphones are likely to get closer to other platforms for gaming, they’re unlikely to ever be completely equal to computers and consoles.