Can Gamers Finally Ditch Their Consoles and Go Mobile?
Smartphone users really do have the entire world at their fingertips. You can use your phone to summon food straight to your door, book flights, communicate with just about anyone else on the planet, learn about even the most obscure subjects, watch movies, listen to almost any song ever written, and manage your finances. They’re also great for playing games, with mobile users having access to one of the most diverse libraries of titles possible, ranging from multiplayer battle royales to more sedate casual games and puzzles. Online casino games are also incredibly popular among mobile users, especially since most operators offer different bonuses for new customers that allow them to play for free.
It is beyond doubt that the quality and quantity of mobile games has only increased over the last decade or so, with around a million gaming apps available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
However, are we at a point where mobile games are so good that players would consider ditching their powerful consoles and expensive gaming PCs in favour of playing exclusively on their smartphones?
Not Just for Casual Games Anymore
Some of the earliest mobile games released on the iPhone were Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and Temple Run. They’re all great titles and you can have hours of fun playing them, but they’re also not comparable to the games that were released on consoles and PCs at the same time.
In late 2009, when the first Angry Birds hit the Apple App Store, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 had just been released. The two titles are not even remotely comparable in their graphics, size, or features. The former has a series of physics-based challenges that involve firing coloured birds at green pigs and their precarious fortifications, while the latter is a detailed first-person shooter with an extensive single-player campaign mode, high-definition graphics, and incredibly popular multiplayer features.
Today, however, Call of Duty is available on smartphones and developers are currently working on bringing its Warzone title to mobile devices to give players on all platforms a similar experience.
Graphics Gap Is Closing
Mobile technology has improved at an impressive rate over the last decade. In that time, smartphones have gone from having single-core 32-bit chipsets that run at clock speeds measured in hundreds of megahertz, to packing in octa-core CPUs that have 64-bit architecture and run at speeds similar to high-end PCs.
Of course, mobile ARM chips aren’t directly comparable to the AMD x64 architecture found in computers, but the performance has improved so much that Apple is now including a modified version of ARM CPUs in its Macbooks.
Similar leaps forward have been made in the field of mobile graphics. Smartphones now have the power to produce above HD-quality images at impressive framerates, creating crisp and detailed images that make games look stunning.
For many gamers, the quality of mobile graphics is now so high that they are more than sufficient. However, for those that want to remain at the bleeding edge of technology, the graphics gap may never be totally closed.
For example, the ray-tracing functionality found in modern PC graphics cards and both of Microsoft and Sony’s latest consoles is a long way from being included in smartphones because it is too resource hungry.
Smartphone gaming has several advantages over larger form factors, most notably the fact that it’s possible to go just about anywhere and play games with a mobile device. However, if you want to play on a larger screen, you can plug it in or stream your screen to a TV.
Similarly, you have the freedom to play with touchscreen controls or connect a keyboard, mouse, and/or controller.
Mobile gamers also have far more choice than console owners when it comes to choosing which titles to play, so the variety is roughly comparable to what’s available on PC.
On top of that, many AAA games that would not run natively on a smartphone can still be played on the go thanks to streaming services like Google Stadia. They do this by offloading the heavy calculations to the cloud and beaming the game.
Altogether, this means that the mobile gaming experience is pretty solid. While it is unlikely to satisfy the most hardcore of gamers, it may be sufficient for many others.