Are Gaming Smartphones Really Worth Buying?
Gaming smartphones are one of the new trends with the last couple of generation in the mobile industry. The devices, as the name suggests, are made with modifications or tweaks with gaming in mind. Previously, the genre had failed miserably with many unsuccessful attempts of bringing a new breed of cellular yet portable gaming consoles to the mainstream markets. Since then, consumer’s perspective has changed and the unique handsets are now widely sought after. But, do we really need a gaming smartphone?
To answer the question lets take a look at the brief history of gaming smartphones alongside other portable gaming devices.
The first video game ever created was Pong back in 1958. Since its inception, a new multi-billion dollar industry has been borne with gaming as its business model. Soon after, in the early 1960s, consumers were looking at video games as the next big thing in the entertainment industry. Hence, companies took notice and game studios were founded. By 1970s, there were already multiple studios with various games for PCs alongside the first form of gaming consoles. Interestingly, the first consoles also birthed the race for portable consoles that have a wider reach and easier accessibilities.
Nintendo is widely credited for being the company to popularize the handheld console market with its release of Game Boy in 1989. The portable gaming console was explosive in success and dominated the market for years into the future. Note, this was also the time where the mobile industry had devices become more compact meaning more portability. The gaming industry and mobile industry went parallel for the better part of each respective infant stages. However, the advancement in technology meant a cross over was soon to be expected.
Gaming Smartphones of Old
Gaming smartphones are not a new breed. Although they are now certainly a lot more viable than before. The reason why many established OEMs kept their distance from them is due to their infamous history. Devices such as the Nokia N-Gage, Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and more are a few that pop into mind. The gaming phones of old were surprisingly more powerful and capable than their handheld gaming consoles at the time in some scenarios.
For example, the N-Gage was a direct competitor to Game Boy Advance while featuring a much better processor. But, speed isn’t enough as the implementation of controls whilst having games actually made for your platform is rather difficult. The devices launched then suffered either of the two problems or both. At the time, the game studios had no inclination or incentive to collaborate with the mobile OEMs either, since the portable consoles were extremely popular at the time. However, that has since changed.
Known Gaming Phones and Handheld Consoles
- Nokia N-Gage
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
- PlayStation Portable (PSP)
- PlayStation Portable Vita
- Game Boy & Game Boy Advance
- Samsung SPH-B5200
Gaming Smartphones Now
Surprisingly, even after the harsh history of the breed, gaming smartphones have stood the test of time. It indirectly implies the unending growth of gaming culture and entertainment. Currently, the smartphone gaming market accounts for more revenue than both PC gaming and console gaming market combined. In other words, studios earn more from games like Candy Crush over games like Call of Duty.
Furthermore, we all know the PUBG Mobile fever that has infected globally, especially India. After the game’s launch, we have seen more smartphone like the Asus ROG Gaming Phones being launched. These smartphones unlike regular feature aesthetical changes which make them look a lot more appealing and gaming-centric. They also carry tweaks and modifications, especially to the UI, to provide an enhanced gaming experience. Unlike the past, there is a booming mobile gaming market to cater to the increasing capabilities of smartphones.
Are They Really Worth It?
Finally, the reason why you are here. Gaming smartphones are worth buying now more than ever before. Tech giants have recognised the true potential of the gaming genre and its immense value and are heavily invested in many mobile gaming studios. However, it would still be advised to wait just a bit longer. Yes, gaming smartphones are the best they have ever been, but they can be better. What we see now is the gaming industry finally penetrating the main stream market of smartphones or as they say, “just the tip of the iceberg.”
Hence, it is expected that specialised hardware, such as MediaTek Helio G90T SoC that is made for gaming, will improve with time and exclusive more mobile gaming studios like Tencent Games will emerge. Regardless of its popularity, the gaming smartphone market is still a niche with its sales not being close to mainstream devices.
Additionally, there really isn’t a lot that difference, in most cases, between a gaming smartphone and a regular flagship. For the most part, gaming handsets offer a better display with a higher refresh rate panel, overclocked SoC or even better cooling solutions. Conclusively, it is a great time for mobile gamers and huge potential in the industry. With a bit more time, it is expected to mature into a gaming world of its own within amazing portability that beats any handheld consoles.