ARM ecosystem director Nizar Romdan told theCasual Connect conference in Amsterdam that the chips that his company creates with Nvidia, Samsung, and Texas Instruments will generate visuals on par with and then surpass what you get from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles by the end of 2017.
He said that we are about a year away from having smartphone and tablets that are capable of running the same games that we previously bought dedicated gaming hardware for.
This could bring more hardcore players into the $30 billion mobile gaming market, but it could also power the software for mobile virtual reality.
Romdan said mobile hardware was already powerful. ”If you take today’s high-end smartphone or tablet, the performance is already better than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s catching up quickly with Xbox One and PlayStation 4.”
He had a PowerPoint which showed the relative power of consoles like Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in terms of their capability to calculate floating point operations per second (or FLOPS). PS4 can compute around 1.84 TFLOPS (tera FLOPS), and the chart shows smartphone chips approaching 2 TFLOPS by the last quarter of 2017.
To make matters more interesting, virtual reality eliminates that form factor difference. Wearing a headset on your face is the same if you’re tethered to a PC or using a Galaxy S6.
“Our view is that mobile VR is the use case that could unlock the potential of mobile for hardcore gamers,” he said. “For once, mobile devices are on par with PC and consoles in terms of experience [when it comes to the form factor of VR]. We won’t have the same processing. And battery life is a problem. But it is the same user experience. That could be a game changer for mobile gaming.”