Gaming has gone a long way in the last four decades. Due to technological restrictions, early commercial video games like Pong and Space Invaders had minimal graphics and physics.
These games were played on enormous arcade machines like the Taito 8080, which required a coin to play. Only a few years later, when technology became tiny enough to put on a desk or next to a TV, did these games begin to enter homes.
Portable gaming gadgets' rapid evolution
Early attempts at handheld gaming included the Nintendo Game & Watch and the Coleco Electronic Quarterback, although both had LEDs and monochrome LCD screens, with just one game available.
The portable gaming holy grail would be a machine that could be carried around and play fresh titles. Nintendo achieved this in 1989 with the Game Boy, which had a dot-matrix screen and could only execute games of a few kilobytes.
Market expansion for mobile gaming
In barely a decade, mobile gaming has evolved from simple turn-based games to games that rival console and PC games in complexity and quality. The demand for mobile games continues to rise rapidly, with downloads up 18% year-on-year in 2020.
While mobile gaming has gone a long way from the portable gaming devices of old, there are many developments to come.
Many gamers have long desired cross-platform gaming. It allows PC players to play against opponents on consoles, tablets, and cellphones, allowing friends to game together regardless of technology. In recent years, games like Fortnite's free-to-play battle royale mode have implemented the notion.
Mobile graphics are increasingly standard.
Smartphone graphics have come a long way since the early 2000s. Along with the CPUs, the GPUs have been improved, allowing smartphones to produce more detailed images. Simultaneously, smartphone screens have been updated to fully appreciate the new graphics.
Samsung is working on a more powerful System on a Chip (SoC) for the Scandinavian and European versions of the next Galaxy S22 range, which will use an AMD GPU.
It remains to be seen if new technology can bridge the gap between mobile game visuals and console graphics. Both the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 5 boast strong graphics processors with roughly 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM, 2304 cores, and over 600 GFLOPS.
The M1 SoC from Apple suggests we may be moving in that route.
Another option to bridge the gap between mobile and PC/console gaming is to outsource the heavy lifting to a strong cloud server.
This is how streaming services like Google Stadia function. This program, introduced in 2020, allows you to play AAA titles like FIFA 21, F1 2020, Doom, Hitman, and Red Dead Redemption 2.
While not all Android handsets presently support Stadia, most newer models do.
Gamers aren't limited to their phones. Stadia is a hybrid system that allows gamers to play on TV or computer, pause, and resume on smartphone.
In summary, mobile gaming has always strived to bridge the gap between console and computer gaming. In the future, we may expect greater graphics from more powerful hardware, and streaming services to provide our favorite games whenever we want them.