From Mobile Phones to Cars, Qualcomm Drives Mobile Gaming into Uncharted Territory

Qualcomm drives mobile gaming into uncharted territory with smartphones and cars

On the eve of the opening of ChinaJoy 2023, Qualcomm held the Snapdragon Game Technology Awards in Shanghai with the theme “Choose Snapdragon, Win with Pleasure”. At the event, Qualcomm not only teamed up with heavyweight partners in the game industry chain such as NetEase Games, Perfect World, Tencent Games, etc., to showcase its advantages in mobile gaming, but also demonstrated a new digital entertainment experience created for users with terminal manufacturers such as OnePlus and Gaohe Motors.

Nowadays, with the emergence of mobile games like “Genshin Impact” and “Honkai Impact 3rd: Stellar Rail”, users have higher requirements for rendering, read-write speed, and other aspects of smartphones. Chip manufacturers have also started to continuously iterate and upgrade game optimization.

In fact, as early as 2018, Qualcomm released the Snapdragon Elite Gaming solution specifically for gaming experience, providing a comprehensive gaming experience and supporting a series of technologies such as PBR physical rendering. Not only Qualcomm, but other chip and terminal manufacturers have also released optimization technologies for mobile games. However, it needs to be pointed out that although there are indeed many companies claiming to have leading technologies in the market, only a few can truly achieve commercial implementation and promote the upgrading of the entire industry. The ability to achieve commercial implementation is the watershed between Qualcomm and other companies.

At the Snapdragon Game Technology Awards in Shanghai this time, Qualcomm introduced the new generation Snapdragon Elite Gaming solution, which has been applied to the new flagship chip, the second-generation Snapdragon 8 processor. Moreover, there are already over 95 smartphones equipped with this processor.

Currently, the latest generation of Snapdragon Elite Gaming can be considered a “breakthrough” in terms of support for mobile gaming experience. Building upon over 50 existing features, the new features can further “allow mobile gamers to truly enjoy a gaming experience comparable to that of PC games.” This also confirms Qualcomm’s leadership in this field. The reasons for such strong improvements are as follows:

As the current flagship solution, the second-generation Snapdragon 8 Mobile Platform adopts a 4nm manufacturing process and innovative CPU architecture design. The CPU supports up to 3.36GHz clock frequency, resulting in a 45% increase in GPU energy efficiency compared to the previous generation.

This makes it the epitome of performance. According to official information, in the 760P resolution scene of miHoYo’s “Honkai Impact 3rd: The Railgun”, the average frame rate of the second-generation Snapdragon 8 reached 60.15fps within 30 minutes. With continuous optimization of chip capabilities, Qualcomm provides hardcore performance support for hardware products, making it the preferred choice for many flagship brands and guaranteeing the ultimate gaming experience for players.

Strong performance is just one aspect of Qualcomm’s empowerment of gaming. In terms of gaming experience, Qualcomm is also actively promoting it, which is evident in Snapdragon Elite Gaming. This is Qualcomm’s solution for optimizing the mobile gaming experience, providing systematic empowerment to smartphone manufacturers and game developers at the chip-level, optimizing and enhancing gaming features and functionality.

Nowadays, it can already achieve hardware-based real-time ray tracing, improve soft shadows, reflections, and ambient lighting effects; Snapdragon Game Super Resolution enhances game resolution, achieving a 2x performance improvement and maximizing gaming performance and battery life; supports Vulkan 1.3 and multi-threading, thereby efficiently utilizing the CPU and reducing the load.

It is with this advantage that Qualcomm and Tencent mobile games have achieved global illumination in terms of lighting, which was previously only possible on PC or console platforms. It is reported that compared to traditional local lighting techniques that only consider the areas directly illuminated by the light source, global illumination can take into account the multiple bounces of light on the surface of objects.

An excellent gaming experience is not complete without high-quality visual effects, and combining it with low latency and high sound quality in audio is what makes it a top-tier gaming experience. In this regard, Qualcomm has made early efforts and launched Snapdragon Sound in 2021. Now, Snapdragon Sound technology can support ultra-high-definition Bluetooth audio with 24-bit 96kHz, and it has also introduced Dolby Atmos technology, ensuring that users can experience real and high-quality sound effects.

For gaming, in addition to high-quality sound effects, low latency is even more important as it allows users to have a seamless connection between their actions and the corresponding sound in the game. In this aspect, Qualcomm has achieved a transmission delay of 20 milliseconds, which is almost imperceptible to the human ear, by providing adapters for end products.

For many real-time games, low latency is equally important compared to graphics and sound effects. In this regard, the second-generation Snapdragon 8 utilizes the FastConnect 7800 mobile connectivity system, making it the first Snapdragon mobile platform to support Wi-Fi 7. Based on high-frequency concurrent multi-connection technology, it can achieve peak performance and ultra-low latency of Wi-Fi 7 worldwide. In places without Wi-Fi coverage, the 5G connection capability is also Qualcomm’s “trump card”. The second-generation Snapdragon 8 adopts the Snapdragon X70 modem and RF system, which integrates the Qualcomm 5G AI processor, enabling outstanding performance in terms of transmission speed and low latency. In addition, it supports dual SIM card dual standby for 5G+5G and 5G+4G, which allows two SIM cards to be connected for data without worrying about phone calls interrupting the game’s data connection.

With its strong technological advantages, Qualcomm continuously optimizes the performance of games in terms of running speed, image quality, and connection stability, gradually becoming a key force in the mobile gaming industry. However, deepening technology research and development and iterating the chip industry system are just one aspect of Qualcomm’s leadership in the mobile gaming field. On the other side, Qualcomm is opening up a whole new realm of imagination for mobile gaming.

To be honest, it would be a pity if in 2023, game experiences could only be achieved through traditional hardware such as smartphones and PCs. In this ChinaJoy event, Qualcomm showcased the future of mobile gaming.

In the giant exhibition hall of the Snapdragon booth, besides the dazzling smartphone experience area, the most attractive feature was undoubtedly the immersive XR experience on the upper and lower rows, called the “Snapdragon XR Fantasy Journey”. The queue for the on-site experience area was uninterrupted, which shows the players’ high expectations for new game scenes.

Qualcomm used GVR to create digital entertainment content, combined with Snapdragon motion chairs, PICO 4 Pro VR glasses, and Xiaomi tablets to create the “Snapdragon XR Fantasy Journey”. Through Wi-Fi 6, wireless multi-device interaction was achieved, resulting in ultra-low latency XR gaming effects. In terms of experience, both visual feedback and sound transmission are very realistic.

In fact, it has been nearly ten years since the rise of VR, but it still has not become a mature “hardware”. However, it cannot be denied that in the future, with the improvement of computing power and transmission speed, it still has the opportunity to become the next generation computing platform. Although the XR technology experience created by Qualcomm has brought me great surprises, what impressed me the most is that Qualcomm has brought game scenes to cars.

Also at the ChinaJoy Snapdragon Theme Pavilion, Qualcomm, Gaohe Automobile, and NetEase Games’ Thunderfire Studio have collaborated to create an immersive entertainment experience across multiple smart devices. Multiple users can simultaneously use flagship smartphones with the second-generation Snapdragon 8, Razer handheld gaming devices with the Snapdragon G3x gaming platform, and Gaohe HiPhi Y with the Snapdragon platform to play “Street Basketball Party”.

In the car’s infotainment system, gaming interaction with other users can be done through a large screen and game controllers, which is more enjoyable compared to the 6-inch screens of smartphones. This new application scenario provides a new direction for the development of the mobile gaming industry. With continuous improvement in game content and the ecosystem, as well as Qualcomm’s active promotion, in-car entertainment will gradually become a new force in the mobile gaming field.

According to data provided by industry research institutions, global spending on mobile games is expected to reach approximately $92 billion by 2022, accounting for 50% of the global gaming industry revenue, nearly double that of console games and PC games. In the Chinese market, this proportion is even more astounding. In 2022, the sales revenue of mobile games in China accounted for nearly 73% of the total revenue of the Chinese gaming industry, expanding the market size by 6 times.

From the above data, it is not difficult to see that mobile games have vast market prospects. However, in the current mobile gaming field, mobile games are still the largest form of gaming in terms of scale.

Therefore, Qualcomm not only aims to lead the industry in mobile chips but also, thanks to technological advancements, needs to expand its growth space from smartphones to XR, automobiles, and other fields, thus raising the growth ceiling once again. From this ChinaJoy event, it is evident that Qualcomm, which has continuously driven the advancement of the mobile era, is expanding into new mobile gaming scenes and solidifying its technological foundation, thus continuing to lead the development of the mobile gaming industry.

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