Mobile devices are quickly becoming the “other” gaming console. A total of 48 million people play games on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, according to Big Fish Games. There are certainly impressive advances in mobile technology, but are mobile devices really on par with the technology available from console gaming systems? Here’s a look at some of the ways mobile devices are competing with consoles, as well as where they are lacking.
Mobile VS Console Tech
More and more people in the gaming industry believe smartphones are approaching consoles in terms of power. In fact, executive Vice President of EA Mobile Frank Gibeau told Game Industry that the iPhone 6 was “on par” with next-generation consoles such as the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This statement is somewhat difficult to understand when you break down the actual hardware power of the iPhone 6 versus a console such as the Playstation 4.
First, let’s look at the physical hardware of the iPhone 6. While Apple hasn’t actually released the specs of the new A8 SoC, ExtremeTech reports it does possess a Series6XT GPU and dual-core Cyclone CPU. The A7 was capable of 115 gflops, and according to AppAdvice, Apple claims the A8 is 50 percent more powerful, which would place it at just over 170 gflops. This doesn’t even begin to approach the graphical processing power of the Playstation 4’s GPU, which VGLeaks reports is capable of 1.843 tflops.
Decoding “On Par”
What does all this talk of terraflops and GPUs really mean? In the end, the idea that the iPhone6 has a processing power even remotely comparable to a console such as the Playstation 4 is laughable. However, there are ways in which the iPhone 6 does compare and even excel when compared to next-gen consoles. While it is true that the new iPhone is capable of rendering in 1080p, without the processing power of a strong GPU there’s no way to to render a 1080p game with a lush rich world of textures. However, Apple hopes its new Metal platform, which is replacing the outdated OGL, will offer iPhone game developers better access to shaders and graphics by reducing the processing needs and speeding up processing.
Mobile phones shouldn’t expect to compete with gaming consoles in terms of processing power, especially when they have their own powerful edge in the gaming industry. No gaming console can compare with the mobility and accessibility of a smartphone or tablet.
For example, consider the difference between Playstation 4 console games and mobile game apps. Both the console game “Watch_Dogs” and mobile game “Ingress” take place in a world where players must hack points for control. “Ingress” better realizes this world by requiring players to actually travel to real-life locations to compete in a complicated game of king-of-the-hill in real time with thousands of other players. Mobile devices and mobile gaming can take us to a new level of experiential gaming whether or not they rely on “console level” graphics and processing power. Furthermore, mobile technology can take advantage of integrated technologies such as GPS, which enables real-world interaction that consoles simply can’t compare with. This is where mobile technology is exceeding anything console developers can hope to achieve.
Of course, if you’re into a bit more risk, while not doing much extreme gaming, head to this website to try games of a different kind!