When one talks gaming, the Xbox and the PlayStation has been around for years, and are undoubtedly the moguls of the gaming industry. While the PC has always been on par, the eternal rivalry between Microsoft and Sony, from the Xbox and the Playstation 2, to that Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, to now the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, has yet to be outdone.
However, reports are coming in that the smartphones, especially the most powerful and latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, are about to join the competition.
Dedicated gaming enthusiasts will always favor the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (or even the Windows PC or laptop) when it comes to real and hardcore gaming. The feel of the controller, the size of the screen—the console experience is still hard to beat. But while Xbox One and PS4 players sit around their man caves, playing the latest from Ubisoft or CD Projekt Red, some are going about their everyday normal life outside their homes, investing time for games in between work day tasks using their iPhone or Android phone.
This is the power of the smartphone: the ultimate device that encompasses the need for a laptop, a gaming device, or even a friend. Smartphones are the future of portables. In fact, at the Casual Connect conference in Amsterdam this week, someone suggested that smartphones like the iPhone could offset the need for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 since the iPhone will have become even more powerful than the gaming consoles as soon as next year. ARM ecosystem director Nizar Romdan claims as such.
“Mobile hardware is already powerful…If you take today’s high-end smartphone or tablet, the performance is already better than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s catching up quickly with Xbox One and PlayStation 4.”
ARM is the tech design company behind chip architecture for smartphones and it is already anticipating another huge leap in terms of computation power for the iPhone and the Android smartphones. Venture Beat reports that ARM will be producing chips with their partners like Nvidia, Samsung, and Texas Instruments to generate visuals on par with and even surpass what gamers get from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles by the end of 2017.
While smartphones are starting to eat a huge chunk of the gaming economy, case and point Clash of Clans, the industry believes that the real difference is in the kind of interaction that the smartphone provides for the gamer. It certainly feels different to play with a full-on controller than a touchscreen device. But ARM believes that with the introduction of Virtual Reality in the gaming arena, the smartphones will be getting a bump up. Roman explains the coming shift.
“Our view is that mobile VR is the use case that could unlock the potential of mobile for hardcore gamers. For once, mobile devices are on par with PC and consoles in terms of experience [when it comes to the form factor of VR]. We won’t have the same processing. And battery life is a problem. But it is the same user experience. That could be a game changer for mobile gaming.”
What Romdan and the ARM believe is that virtual reality will become the key to eliminate the difference in experience between using an iPhone and playing on the PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4. Wearing the virtual reality headset and playing with it feels the same, whether you’re plugged into the PC or onto a smartphone. Additionally, ARM states that as smartphone chips become more advanced in the future, more gamers will be able to enjoy graphically-intensive titles without worrying about battery life for a longer period of time. As virtual reality takes a step further, the future of mobile gaming takes a leap, as well.
In fact, huge gaming companies like Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Square Enix, among others, are already investing so much on mobile gaming, coming out with mobile versions of their console titles such as Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles in 2008 and its upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Identity, Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter, and the long list of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts titles by Square Enix.
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It is important to note that alongside Sony’s PlayStation VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens, smartphones are already also gearing up to bring virtual reality through the Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive. It is also rumored that Apple is also already secretly working on their own VR gear. If these smartphone VR gears become successful, maybe Xbox One and PlayStation 4 should indeed be on the lookout.
Do you think mobile gaming is a real threat to console gaming? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured images by Microsoft and by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]