Gaming was limited to consoles and the PC for a long time, but in the last few years, a new segment has been challenging this status quo.
Even though mobile games have been around for decades, they were never comparable to consoles because the functionality was limited. However, the hardware has improved leaps and bounds and a mobile processor is now able to play huge games like GTA San Andreas. This feat was possible only on a powerful PC a handful of years back.
With powerful hardware, operating systems were also getting smarter and better. On the sidelines, developers were making even more efficient graphic engines like Unity, Unreal, and Godot. Apple unveiled Metal API’s for faster hardware-accelerated graphics and completely changed the landscape in five years.
All these factors contributed to the rise of mobile gaming. Developers have been scrambling with new ideas that range from limited-world infinite gameplay like Temple Run to competitive open-world matches of PUBG.
In 2018, the rise of battle royale games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite completely changed the future. Every phone buyer wanted a powerful processor that could run these games on high graphics. With rising demand, even phone makers started getting innovative with their offering and marketed a few phones as “gaming phones”.
Huawei was among the first to launch an offering on these lines, dubbed the Honor Play, it cost just INR 19,999 but housed a flagship-grade Kirin 970 processor. For Android makers, their only option was to ship phones with the best available processor, add more RAM, and make a few software tweaks to optimize gameplay.
,The final nail in the coffin was Xiaomi’s POCO F1, it cost just INR 20,999, but came with a Snapdragon 845 processor. After this, the demand for an affordable flagship was unstoppable. Players like ASUS tried to fill this gap with a ZenFone offering, but failed to make a dent.
On the other side of the world, Razer Phone was hailed as the ultimate gaming phone because of its high-end 120Hz display that delivered butter smooth performance. Smelling an opportunity, ASUS was quick to launch the ROG Phone in various markets. It came with cool-to-sound features like liquid cooling, external cooling fans, RGB LED lighting, and triggers.
Android makers tried their best to deliver an extraordinary experience. OnePlus has made the 90Hz display their bare minimum offering now and every maker is trying to optimize the UI by partnering directly with the game developer.
And yet, I’m going to say the best gaming phones are the iPhone’s. Not just the newly launched iPhone 11 series, but the last two generations as well.
Apple has the initial edge simply because of its closed ecosystem. The hardware is custom built and the software is designed to perfectly work together. All the required stages of the process are built under the same roof, by the same party.
With Android, the software code is shipped by Google and its designed keeping scale in mind. This means this set of code needs to work on a million possible combinations of hardware. Secondly, the phone maker acquires the hardware from a third party like Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and more. Hence, to deliver a finished product, more than three parties are involved in the development phase itself. Apple completely eliminates this problem. iOS is tightly controlled by the company and has a longer life cycle.
Even when we consider Apple’s custom-built components, they are a notch above the competition. The recently launched A13 processor is a beast that’s better than all other offerings out there. Apple claims it has a 20 percent faster CPU and GPU while saving more power.
To give you an example, I played high-graphics PUBG on the iPhone 7 without a single lag or stutter. The now-basic display is still smooth and has extremely accurate touch-sensitivity. It has an A10 processor that’s three years old and just 2GB RAM. These specs sound outrageously old in the Android world, yet deliver an experience comparable to many modern flagships.
With a product cycle this long, even the premium that comes attached with an iPhone is justifiable. Even though the days of iOS getting an app or game early are long gone, the experience remains unconquered.
This brings us to Apple’s recent launch that completely solidifies its position as a leader. Apple Arcade is a subscription-based service that’ll let you play a plethora of paid games. So, instead of buying each and every game, you can just pay a monthly fee of US$ 4.99 and enjoy 150+ games on-demand.
We need to consider Arcade as a modern-day Steam. While it’s limited to just games right now, Apple is on track to making a huge community. Many would argue Google Play has this for ages, and yes, you’re right.
But, Apple has the developers on its side. Imagine the output when the two of them work on a game that’ll run on an already closed hardware system. And, we cannot forget that iPhones are the best all-rounders.
Not only do they perform well in gaming, but they have a set of kick-ass reliable cameras, near-perfect displays, and leverage over robust iOS for work. Android makers are yet to reach this level of amalgamation of features and in the near future, there’s no competition in sight.