Games have come a long way on mobile devices, and this year they seem to be getting ever closer to console quality. Even if you don’t think they are quite there yet, next year they should be, with everyone changing their mobile GPU architecture: Samsung/ARM with Mali T-series (T604 and T658), Qualcomm with Adreno 3xx series, Imagination with SGX600 series, and Nvidia will most likely change their GPU architecture to incorporate some Kepler DNA as well.
Of course, next year or the year after that we’ll also start seeing the next-generation consoles appear, but the fact that our mobile devices have the processing power even of the 6 year old consoles, while using only around 1W of power compared to the real consoles, where you don’t care how much energy it’s using, is still very impressive, and the visuals will be good enough to make for a very good experience playing games on smartphones or tablets.
Tegra may have not been not be a benchmark monster so far, and it remains to be seen if Tegra 4 will change all that, because I think they will need to improve the graphics performance at 4-5x times over Tegra 3 to be competitive in mid-2013, but one thing Nvidia did right was to get as many developers as possible to optimize their games for Tegra 3.
This means that developers aren’t using the lowest common denominator for visuals between different GPU architectures, but instead are taking full advantage of Nvidia’s GPU features, like dynamic lighting and so on. This is why if you compare a game on the HTC One X international with the same game on the AT&T’s One X, the one on the international model should look better. If you look at the following games being domoed at E3 this year, they also look visually impressive: