Who said Android can not become a gaming platform? With hundreds of millions of devices out there, and looking to be billions in a few years, and with Android-based consoles like OUYA rising up, there’s a lot of potential for gaming on Android in the future. EA seems to have realized this, too, and it’s going to bring a mobile version of its impressive Frostbite game engine (that you see in Battlefield 3 and the latest Need for Speed games), to Android (and iOS, too).
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“One of our most exciting current projects is called Frostbite Go, a mobile division empowering EA game developers with Frostbite’s proven excellent workflows and features to bring true Frostbite experiences to all major mobile platforms.
Runtime in Frostbite supports a highly scalable model in order to appeal to the diverse array of platforms available on today’s market. Efficiency in both our runtime memory and runtime performance are both key factors to enabling code and data systems to deploy content to diverse targets from XBOX360 and PlayStation 4 to iOS and Android.”
This could be a game changer for Android, if EA starts bringing much higher graphics quality games to the platform through this Frostbite Go engine. Although the biggest impact might be seen when 3rd party game engine competitors, such as Epic Games, bring a mobile version of the Unreal 4 engine, which could be used by many other game companies, not just EA.
I didn’t like that Epic Games brought the mobile version of the Unreal 3 engine 2 years after it appeared on iOS, because at this point it’s not that impressive anymore. So this news might convince them to not repeat the same mistake again, and if they do plan to launch Unreal 4 (mobile) for iOS, then they should launch it at the same time on Android, too.
Both of these next-gen gaming engines should forget about supporting OpenGL ES 2.0 (also something I recommended for the 3dmark benchmark) and instead should focus on working only on OpenGL ES 3.0 devices. Why? Because they won’t be able to run the games utilizing these engines on most of the OpenGL ES 2.0 devices anyway, since they are too slow and obsolete in terms of performance. But all the new chips from Exynos 5 dual to Qualcomm S800, should also have enough performance to run these next-gen games well, besides already having support for OpenGL ES 3.0.
I imagine it’s no coincidence that Nvidia demoed Battlefield 3 on Tegra 5. Nvidia is probably already working with EA to port the Frostbite Go engine to their even more advanced OpenGL 4.3 Kepler GPU inside the Tegra 5 chip. So if this engine will be able to take advantage of even some of the features in OpenGL 4.3, then there’s no reason to go back to the 5 year old OpenGL ES 2.0. The minimum should be OpenGL ES 3.0, which is why if you care about gaming on mobile, you should be getting a device with a chip that does support it (everything from Nexus 4 and beyond should).