ARM says mobile chips will compete with PS4 and Xbox One by 2017

2 min read


In the future (as I’ve asserted before despite having no real knowledge or insight), consoles will be displaced by more powerful, graphically superior tablets and smartphones that’ll wirelessly beam images and sound to your TV, replacing the need for a console. They may even dock in to your entertainment set up.

While I do love dedicated gaming systems, I genuinely believe that in the future, they’ll be made somewhat redundant by advances in portable technology. It may happen sooner than later. According to ARM ecosystem director Nizar Romdan, mobile chipsets will be able to compete with the new(ish) consoles by the end of next year.

Speaking at Casual Connect in Amsterdam, Romdan said that mobile processors were already exceeding the graphical output of last generation’s consoles, and should match the current ones by the end of 2017.

He’s also quite bullish about the prospect of mobile VR.

“Our view is that mobile VR is the use case that could unlock the potential of mobile for hardcore gamers,” said Romdan. “For once, mobile devices are on par with PC and consoles in terms of experience. 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.”

I’ve never really considered mobile to be the frontrunner when it comes to VR, but it’s probably likely, given the cost of entry. Last year, Superdata reckoned that VR’s mainstream push would be built on the success of VR on mobile platforms.

“Initially, affordable smartphone devices will drive the bulk of sales as consumers first explore virtual reality before committing to the more expensive platforms,” SuperData Director of Research Stephanie Llamas said.

“After this first wave, however, it will be especially console gamers that will spur growth of high-end VR devices.”

Last Updated: February 17, 2016

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Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Pariah

    So basically, according to him – it’ll first be the casual scrubs and then the peasants who bring VR into popularity? Not the PC users who actually have the potential hardware to get any real value out of VR? Provided they can afford it, of course. Because lets be honest, the specs required to run proper VR aren’t exactly mobile-friendly.

    • Darren Peach

      Elitist master race evil er… Master race”er.

      • Pariah


        Objectively though – the hardware isn’t up to the standards that VR needs to be viable and enjoyable. Only PC has that – and even then its out of most people’s price brackets.

        • Darren Peach

          PC smeeshee. But you are probably correct. I will say this, In my humble opinion, there is value in having a dedicated user base with conformed hardware standards. In other words, the fact that PS4 exhists and has a substantial market share gives VR a better chance at making it. I suppose you could make the same statement about mobile but the pc can be very unfriendly to your average joe as a mainstream platform for gaming and VR in general.

          • Pariah

            See now THIS I agree with whole-heartedly. But it has nothing to do with the tech, and everything to do with user base and accessibility. That reasoning is solid. But to say that mobile is going to be the fore-runner of adoption for VR I think is presumptuous to the nth degree. Console will likely see the most mainstream adoption early on, user base exists and VR makes sense on that platform.

            Mobile I think will likely get more interest in the AR field – which is appropriate to the technology and usage.

          • HvR

            Except historically console gamers haven’t been en-mass adopters of expensive system upgrades.

          • Pariah

            A console isn’t exactly cheap. 😉

    • HvR

      Yes, look Samsung VR kit may not be close to Occulus Rift in terms of performance but is available to the user for less than 2 BP pies and 2l Coke.

      Also do not under estimate the development and improvement cycle of mobile processors, a new generation is turned out almost every 6 month compared to almost 3 years in PC and 7 years in consoles.

      • Darren Peach

        What happens when it has caught up ? I think it will all come down to preference.

        • HvR

          Then it settles on fabrication limitations; which is where PC cycle is at. If demand is high enough mobile might start dictating the advancement in fabrication and ot PC.

          • Pariah

            Its already happening. Just look at how both Nvidia and Intel have put a lot more focus on their mobile markets than their enthusiast markets over the last few years.

          • Darren Peach

            That is all about maximum profit. But there will always be a gamer user base.

          • HvR

            Yes but these markets isn’t what is pushing the fabrication tech, that is still with premium PC and server markets.

          • Darren Peach

            As a person who relies on high end pc’s for work, It’s hard to see this happening.

          • HvR

            Currently the server market is by far the bigger of the 2.

      • Pariah

        See I don’t underestimate that cycle – its just how many people are going to whip out their phones, pull out this VR headset that they kept in their ass or something (seriously, does mobile mean anything to these people?) and partake in some VR phone calls? None.

        • HvR

          My first replay should have read “Yes he says it could”

          He says by 2019 cellphone manufactures WILL BE ABLE technologically to provide a similar experience than other gaming platform and the it COULD be a game changer.

          Remember he works for ARM that design the microprocessors, his comment is based on the tech capability. Marketing, usability etc is outside his scope.

          • Pariah

            He is then making comments that are outside his scope. That’s my point, based on tech alone PC processors are still being very under utilised. But the potential is THERE for games. You know. If and when the engines can finally utilise it. That day is coming within the next year or so, but multi-core processors are what? A decade old now?

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    LOL, no surprise. Consoles are really not that advanced atm

    • Pariah

      Ssssssh! People haven’t caught on yet!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    • Pariah

      Point of order!!

      • CodeDisQus

        I will not recognize you!

  • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    But can it run Crysis?

  • Darren Peach

    This guy, who I haver never heard of is delusional because……..gamers !

  • Hammersteyn

    Well Foot says it’s up Arms ass

  • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    It’s not hard to imagine really, if you firmly believe in Moores law, the issue with Moores law is that on both ends you have absolutes, the absolute of not hitting clock frequency barriers bound by the material used in the processors used for the tech development and also having no limits with regards to heat dissipation, because we all know how lovely it’d be to have core i7 phone, just to switch it on, have it boot up and 10 seconds later heat up to the point where it melts through your hand….and the floor…only stopping somewhere close to the planets core… Even if mobile reaches that point, we’re not at the point where we could power such devices with mobility, at least not at an affordable rate, carrying a fission reactor around would definitely be the coolest brag right ever though…

  • CodeDisQus

    What kind of developer will want to devlop for a platform that evolves every 8-12 months. I mean AAA games can take like 2 – 5 years to make, how would they even beginning to plan their development. I would love to plug my tablet into my tv and play some sweet Assassin’s Creed: The game they took their time with and made it super sweet, but I just don’t see how. Then again. those guys are smarter than me……also…..ADS!!

  • Charles – The Great and Powerf

    Ya, that would be called dumb. Dumbest statement EVER made it technology.

  • Dane

    Show me a mobile device that runs GTA V better than a PS3.

  • HairyEwok

    And to have this technology you’ll have to sacrifice and ARM and a LEG.

  • CypherGate

    Arm is great and all but its still quite a long way away honestly. Im playing like one or two graphically nice games on my smartphone, but my phone heats up so crazy that it literally passes 60 degrees within ±20mins. Even the most graphical game on Android isnt anywhere near what consoles outputs right now. I think 2017 is too near. Lets say 2020 onwards then its more realistic. I will agree battery is a killer.

  • Gardos


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