Since the days of Pong and Space Invaders, gaming has progressed from rudimentary pixelated visuals and limited gameplay to rich cinematic experiences that match blockbuster movies.
While gaming on traditional PCs and consoles has been the standard for decades, the gaming industry is undergoing a seismic transformation. Mobile devices are swiftly gaining popularity and becoming the preferred platform for gamers all around the world.
Although the ultimate mobile gaming device has not yet been invented, we have a reasonable notion of its likely components. The basic technology appears to be provided by either AMD or Qualcomm.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon G series tries to embrace game-focused handhelds at all pricing points.
The business will provide CPUs that it expects will power gaming handhelds ranging from low-cost cloud-only devices to portable powerhouses. Qualcomm can satisfy the various categories and consumer demands in the mobile gaming device industry thanks to this clever, Goldilocks-like strategy.
Qualcomm’s Mobile Gaming Advancements
The processors for the top-of-the-line G3x Gen 2 chipsets have reached the reference design stage and are designed to deliver the most advanced features and performance. A reference design is a hybrid of a proof-of-concept and a tool supplied to manufacturers to aid in the creation of their goods. Razer, for example, used a first-generation G3 model for their Razer Edge.
Qualcomm’s latest chipsets are designed for high-end mobile gaming and other demanding, heat-generating titles that you don’t want to put your phone through. They specifically provide:
- Active cooling is used to control heat generation.
- Ray tracing hardware for realistic images
- Haptics for a tactile, immersive experience
- Upscaling games to boost graphics quality
- Tethering XR glasses for extended reality experiences
- The most recent Bluetooth version for low-latency audio connections.
- High-speed Wi-Fi 7 and 5G networking for uninterrupted online gaming
Furthermore, advanced graphics suggest that the CPU supports two 3,000mAh batteries for prolonged play time and extensible storage to accommodate larger game files.
During previous conference calls, Qualcomm indicated that it is only in discussions with OEMs whose names most people are unlikely to recognise. It currently has no high-profile partners lined up, though Samsung is always around in the background.
Qualcomm’s breakthroughs in chipset technology are impressive, but what does this mean for the market and prospective partnerships?
It’s All About Market Segmentation
Qualcomm is expanding its processor lineup for specialised gaming handhelds into three chips to accommodate a wider range of devices and pricing points. The Snapdragon G1 and G2 CPUs will be released for less priced devices largely focused on streaming games from the cloud and other devices, while the flagship, the Snapdragon G3x, will be upgraded to a second generation. All of these chips are aimed towards Android-powered mobile handsets.
The announcement is limited to chip specs and takes place during the Gamescom trade show in Cologne, Germany. Qualcomm claims that its partners will soon unveil the items that would use the processors as well as their costs. Qualcomm explicitly stated cooperating with Aya Neo, Taiwan-based Inventec, Chinese device maker Huaqin, and Thundercomm, which is often recognised as an IoT provider and is half-owned by Qualcomm, in a press statement.
Qualcomm’s G3x Gen 2 reference design, albeit a little boxy, is comparable to what the firm initially debuted with the G3. When plugged in and wearing a pair of XR glasses, you get a view into the future, which gives you more immersion and comfort since you can see forward, which is significantly more pleasant for long periods of time than gazing down.
Qualcomm’s Legacy Leadership in Mobile Device Gaming
Qualcomm and AMD have nearly complete control over the mobile industry. AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are used in the expensive Xbox Series X|S and PS5 game consoles, as well as handhelds such as the Valve Steam Deck and the brand-new Asus ROG Ally.
If it runs Android, there’s a good chance the inside chip is a Qualcomm Snapdragon. The majority are smartphones, of course, but other examples include the Logitech G Cloud and the Razer Edge.
Nintendo employs a lightweight, proprietary operating system, and games are limited to working within performance constraints. Consider the Nintendo Switch: It’s a pretty old portable still powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1 – a 2015 processor. It remains to be seen if this condition will persist when Nintendo actually introduces the Switch 2.
Back to Qualcomm’s Goldilocks approach: Qualcomm is providing the Snapdragon G1 for devices at the lower end of the market (presumably under $200) that are primarily designed to stream games locally, similar to how PlayStation’s Portal (formerly Project Q) is simply a convenient remote way to play games running on your PS5 or to play games.
When streaming games, the Snapdragon G1 device handles input and output while decoding video to avoid overheating. As a result, they are designed for fanless designs, have little input latency, and are battery-life optimised. It’s only Wi-Fi, which helps keep costs down, but it’s frustrating that it’s only Wi-Fi 5, since Wi-Fi 6 and above, or 5G, would be preferable for this use case. The Snapdragon G2, which sits in the centre, adds native mobile games to cloud gaming as well as improved networking, such as Wi-Fi 6/6E and 5G.
The current flagship is the Snapdragon G3x Gen 2. It will be powered by a Qualcomm Adreno A32 GPU and an 8-core Kryo CPU. Each chip’s CPU cores are comparable. It does, however, have strong connectivity choices, including Wi-Fi 7, mmWave, 300 MHz sub-6 5G, and Bluetooth 5.3. It is also the sole chip in the stack that supports cameras and does ray tracing.
Qualcomm claims that the G3x Gen 2 has a GPU that is more than twice as fast as the previous iteration, thanks to a CPU that is “over 30%” faster. The findings are fairly jumbled, although performance on Genshin Impact, Geekbench, and numerous graphics benchmarks is better this generation than previous, according to Qualcomm’s charts. against assess long-term performance, it was compared against the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a flagship found in mobile phones rather than gaming consoles.
While Qualcomm strengthens its position, it is critical to understand how its products fit into the greater landscape of gaming devices, particularly when compared to other significant manufacturers such as AMD.
When Qualcomm previously attempted to develop CPUs for this type of gadget, there was only one chip available, which was enthusiast-level. The Razer Edge was the only popular system to get the G3x Gen 1. Razer does not appear to be planning a sequel at this time, however the firm may make an announcement later.
The Logitech G Cloud cloud gaming portable, which is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G, has received mixed reviews. It will be fascinating to watch what sorts of handhelds these new CPUs finally arrive in, at what price points, and with what features.
Systems like the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally take a different approach, focusing on desktop operating systems and the brute power of AMD APUs to play games locally and broadcast via web browsers.
The original G3x may have been a little ahead of its time. The total demand for Android-based, streaming-focused devices is yet unknown. But, at the absolute least, Qualcomm’s expanded portfolio will provide device makers with more options, which is a good thing.
While PCs and consoles receive a lot of media attention, mobile devices, due to their accessibility, affordability, mobility, various game libraries, and the dynamic nature of the gaming sector, are well-positioned to acquire popularity for gaming.
This transformation is being driven by the industry’s ongoing innovation and the specific benefits that mobile devices provide. While traditional gaming consoles and PCs will always have a loyal following, it is apparent that mobile gaming is here to stay and will continue to impact the gaming industry’s future.
Whether you’re a casual player or a die-hard fan, mobile gaming has plenty to offer, and its influence is certain to rise in the coming years. From that standpoint, Qualcomm is well-positioned to preserve its dominant position in the mobile device gaming industry.