Mobile gaming is undergoing a sustained period of rapid growth. Recent studies have valued the global mobile gaming market at nearly $91B, with a compounded annual growth rate over the 2018 – 2021 timeframe of approximately 13.1%. To provide some additional context, the same study puts console gaming at $49.2B and PC gaming at $35.9B. Further, smartphones account for roughly 87% (or $79B) of that $91B mobile gaming TAM. The point is, mobile gaming is big business and it continues to grow at a steady clip.
If you look at the current crop of high-end gaming smartphones, Qualcomm emerges as a clear leader in the space; its Snapdragon-branded mobile platforms power virtually all of the top devices from Xiaomi, ASUS, Samsung, ZTE, and Razer (among others). In recent discussions with representatives from the company about its ongoing Snapdragon Elite Gaming efforts, it became obvious why.
Exponential Increases In Graphics Performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile SoCs (system on a chip) feature integrated Adreno GPUs. Over the course of the last decade or so, Qualcomm has increased the performance of its mobiles GPUs by approximately 700X. Although there are many other aspects of system performance that are also important to ensure a positive mobile gaming experience, graphics performance is paramount to ensure high-quality visuals and smooth framerates. CPU, memory bandwidth, connectivity and power efficiency – which typically translates to increased battery life – are also critical areas where strong performance is necessary to provide a positive gaming experience and Qualcomm has delivered in all of these areas as well, with consistent gen-over-gen improvements in its Snapdragon line-up.
It is worth noting that smartphones are not the only gaming devices powered by Qualcomm technology. The company's chips are in an array of Chromebooks, Windows 10 on Snapdragon PCs , and VR / AR devices, in addition to gaming phones. The difficulty in addressing the diversity of needs in all of these different product categories cannot be understated, and appears to have infused the company with a deep understanding of what it takes to push mobile gaming forward.
Improving The Mobile Gaming Experience With New Features
In addition to pushing the performance and efficiency envelope, Qualcomm has also consistently incorporated new features, capabilities and technologies into its mobile platforms. The latest Snapdragon SoCs, for example, offer support for a variety of displays with a wide range of refresh rates, including high-refresh 144Hz panels. 10-bit HDR displays are also supported, along with an array of rendering technologies, like Variable Rate Shading, to either boost performance or increase visual fidelity.
Qualcomm has also introduced the ability to the update GPU drivers on mobile platforms, much in the same way that AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel regularly offer new GPU drivers on PCs to quash bugs, improve performance or provide optimal support for upcoming gaming titles. This is a key differentiator that allows Qualcomm to provide critical software updates to its platform, and ensure proper support for leading-edge features.
As mobile gaming continues to grow and evolve, it appears Qualcomm is well positioned to capitalize long-term, thanks in no small part to the company's Snapdragon Elite Gaming platforms and initiatives. Although mobile gaming and other gaming-related technologies are a major focus for many in the tech sector, Qualcomm's innovations seem most in-tune to what developers and device manufactures crave, as evidenced by Qualcomm's current dominance in the gaming handset market.
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