Over the past few years, mobile gaming has gone from a niche pastime to a dominant market force. In 2015, the PC was the dominant gaming platform in terms of revenue, SuperData research reports. By 2018, mobile gaming commanded 51 percent of global revenue and will rise to 59 percent in 2021, Newzoo projects.
To sustain this growing demand, mobile device manufacturers are delivering innovations that improve gaming performance, as well as the performance of other mobile device features. Here’s a look at three important innovations to mobile processing platforms that are helping improve and transform the gaming experience.
5G Wireless Ready Processors
One of the most significant innovations on the horizon for mobile gaming is 5G wireless networks. Expected to begin rolling out later this year, 5G technology will revolutionize communication by enabling blazing-fast download speeds of up to 20 Gbps, estimates mobile processor developer Qualcomm. To put this in perspective, current 4G LTE speeds are around 100 Mbps, making 5G thousands of times faster. With 5G, you can download an entire HD film in less than a second.
For gaming, this means you will have instant real-time connectivity to online games, improving multi-player gaming. Additionally, 5G networks will be fast enough to deliver games with advanced graphics features such as 4K Ultra HD and virtual reality, for an enriched visual experience. Services such as Sony’s PlayStation Now are already positioning themselves to be the Netflix equivalent for 5G gaming.
On-Device Artificial Intelligence
Another mobile innovation that will improve gaming is on-device artificial intelligence. Video games depend on artificial intelligence to make non-player characters behave realistically and to make gameplay more challenging. Whereas traditional programming relies on set patterns that are predictable and can become too easy for gamers once mastered, AI machine learning can study patterns of player behavior and develop flexible responses that can challenge even the best players. AI can even generate new levels of games automatically, as demonstrated recently by programmers who used machine learning to generate new levels of Doom that matched those created by humans.
Traditional AI uses a lot of memory, making it dependent on PCs or remote cloud servers. This would be prohibitive for most mobile devices, but fortunately, mobile devices designed to be ready for 5G are also fast enough to handle on-device AI, bringing the power of on-device AI to mobile gaming apps.
Immersive Virtual Reality
Fifth-generation technology and on-device AI are also helping enhance virtual reality for mobile devices. Typically, the highest quality VR experience depends on tethered support from a computer. But advances in processor speed have already made it possible to provide a quality on-device VR experience. AI takes this a step further by optimizing VR images to adapt to players, explains GameIndustry.biz. For instance, instead of having a scripted VR scene, you can have an interactive VR conversation with a non-player character through AI-powered natural language processing.
Meanwhile, 5G is making it possible to deliver streaming VR from the cloud as well. With 5G, you can have a VR experience comparable in quality to being tethered to a computer, while still using your mobile VR headset. Between 5G and on-device AI, you can enjoy quality VR gaming anywhere, anytime.
Fifth-generation mobile processors are making it possible to deliver online gaming experience in real time faster than ever before. On-device AI is making games more realistic and challenging. Together, on-device AI and 5G are making gaming more immersive whether you’re playing on your device or online. In combination, these tech innovations are making gaming faster, more life-like and more fun.