The mobile games market continues to grow with each passing year. In late 2015 it was reported that the segment grew from $24.5 Billion in 2014 to over $30 Billion, with China becoming the largest mobile games market in the world. With these figures in mind, one might wonder what the future holds for mobile gamers, and how the market will evolve and change over the next several years. To answer some of these questions, ARM ecosystem director Nizar Romdan shared his view on the future of mobile gaming during the Casual Connect Europe conference in Amsterdam, where he claimed that mobile devices will be capable of generating visuals able to compete with the current generation of consoles by 2018.
There's no denying that the premium mobile market brings a lot of processing power in our daily lives, and as far as gaming goes, Nizar Romdan points out that the current generation of high-end tablets and smartphones are already able to surpass the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 performance-wise. However, Romdan also thinks that mobile devices are quickly catching up, adding that future ARM mobile chips created in partnership with Samsung, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments will have the ability to generate the same visuals as the modern Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles by the end of 2017.
Now, as exciting as this vision might be for mobile gaming enthusiasts, one thing to keep in mind is that visuals aren't everything. Smartphones and tablets have a very different form factor compared to gaming consoles and computers, and battery life is still an issue for anyone looking for regular, extended gaming sessions. In other words, while the mobile market might be able to catch up with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in terms of visual fidelity, one should not expect Triple-A developers to bring their future, huge open-world titles (or otherwise) to the mobile market by 2018. There are various other limitations to consider including storage, since modern Triple-A games can "weigh" tens of gigabytes and require a lot more RAM, just to name a few.
On the other hand, Nizar Romdan adds that the mobile VR headsets might close the gap between mobile gaming and current-gen consoles even further. With mobile VR gaining more ground, the output and input method will be similar on both segments and mobile devices will overcome their touchscreen-related shortcomings in the gaming field – albeit third party controllers already achieve this to a certain extent. According to Romdan, mobile VR could bring a lot more hardcore gamers on board with mobile gaming.