Over the past few years gaming on mobile has changed significantly due to the increase in power and performance that comes packaged with newer and premium smartphones. Which does mean that whether you are looking for the best platform games, the best first-person games, the best sports games, or the best gambling apps for mobile devices, there are now a ton of smartphones that have been properly optimized to make the gaming experience a more fluid and enjoyable one. However, over the more recent past, specs have started to stagnate a little with most premium devices now coming with what is almost an identical spec list. Which has meant that companies have had to look elsewhere as a means to differentiate themselves. This did initially start as a change in design focus with manufacturers looking to tweak the ‘premium’ aspects of a smartphone's build. During 2017 however, the focus has very much changed to the design of the display in particular. As a result, and irrespective of the resolution (as this is another one of those specs that has reached saturation across the board), manufacturers are now looking to give consumers as much screen real estate as possible, without compromising on the size of the phone.
Before, a bigger display automatically meant a bigger smartphone. However, with the change in aspect ratio that has been seen on the latest smartphones from Samsung, LG, Google, Apple, and pretty much all the other major players, the display size is growing steadily without impeding on the size of the smartphone. Which also now means if you opt to buy the Google Pixel 2 XL (shown above), then you are essentially getting a smartphone which is almost the same size as the original model, and yet one which comes with a 6-inch display compared to the 5.5-inch display provided by the original. A nice half-inch increase in the size of the display with a barely noticeable increase in the size of the phone overall.
So what does this mean for gaming? Well, it goes without saying that the more screen on offer, the better the visual experience will be. However, with smartphones now largely understood to be touch-based devices, the greater display size will also add to the player’s ability to interact with the game and the screen. Which if anything, and from the player’s point of view, is probably more important than actually the visual experience on offer with a larger display. As having more room to negotiate controls and interact with the game is likely to be what determines whether a game is an enjoyable pastime or not. The knock-on effect of this change will be that less-traditional aspect ratio displays will act as a gateway for developers to further improve the quality of the gaming experience both at the visual and functional level. At least, that is likely to be what happens in the long term as before the quality of mobile gaming improves, there is likely to be an adjustment period in effect while apps and games are fine-tuned to be more compatible with what clearly seems to the new aspect ratio for smartphones. So although you may buy a new bezel-less 18:9 aspect ratio phone soon, and find some apps and games don’t look or play quite as good at the moment, as with every other innovation in the smartphone and gaming world, this is likely to only be a temporary problem.