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Are people ready for smartphone gaming to ditch consoles, PCs?

Smartphone gaming has become a huge trend among millennials with games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, Garena’s Free Fire and more.

Devesh Arora Written by: Devesh Arora @aroradevesh
New Delhi Updated on: May 04, 2020 13:54 IST
PUBG Mobile has become one of the most popular games. 
Image Source : PEXELS.COM

PUBG Mobile has become one of the most popular games. 

Smartphones have become an essential part of our lives. When mobile phones were first introduced decades ago, they were made for making phone calls and staying connected with friends and family. Fast forward to 2020, our phones can do a lot more than making just phone calls. Rather, people are using it less for calls and more for social media and gaming. 

Smartphone gaming has become a huge trend among millennials with games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, Garena’s Free Fire and more. These graphics-intensive games not only act as a tool to have fun but also have a competitive side. Tencent Games, the publisher behind PUBG Mobile, has hosted a couple of competitive matches of the game. It is not only the professional gamers who have shown interest but also the audience. 

In our recent interview with Naman ‘Mortal’ Mathur, professional PUBG Mobile player, he told that he has noticed a lot of people are interested in watching live e-sports matches as per his YouTube statistics. 

As more people have started to invest their time in smartphone gaming, manufacturers are also putting the effort to make the experience seamless for the end consumer. Earlier the OEMs used to focus on the cameras and the display while launching a new smartphone. But now they are putting in more effort to bring more powerful processors and even work on their software to optimise it for gaming. 

In order to get a clear view of what smartphone manufacturers are doing to embrace the smartphone gaming community, we reached out to a couple of brands for a comment. Here's what they had to say:

OnePlus, a common choice among gamers

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OnePlus 8 series will be available in India soon with a starting price tag of Rs. 42,999.

OnePlus has become a premium smartphone brand with the launch of its Pro series. While the company does not focus on launching gaming-centric smartphones, OnePlus phones are still a favourite of many mobile games. This is because of the optimised OxygenOS and the flagship-level hardware. Moreover, the company has also partnered up with Fnatic, a globally recognised e-sports team.

Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India, said,  “At OnePlus, we believe that one single feature cannot drive the overall functionality of a smartphone. We strive to bring the latest and most relevant technology back to our community by constantly innovating to provide the best possible user experience. Every smartphone built by OnePlus is made to perform with the promise of a fast and smooth experience, inherently making it a gaming phone. To address the rapidly evolving landscape of mobile gaming in India, the brand partnered with Fnatic to curate a dedicated gaming experience was a natural progression for the brand.”

He further added, “Focusing on the hardware, display and RAM are the two common features that users focus on while looking at a smartphone’s gaming capabilities. With the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 7T series, users prefer bigger screens with minimal bezels to provide a fully immersive gaming experience and sufficient RAM for smooth and lag-free gameplay. The devices also include Dual Speakers and Dolby Atmos which deliver crystal-clear sound for captivating and immersive gameplay. Further, software optimizations that enhance gameplay such as network enhancement, DND, enhanced CPU and GPU function and RAM optimizations are welcomed by the gaming community.”

Honor smartphones with GPU Turbo

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Honor 9X comes with features like GPU Turbo to offer seamless gaming experience. 

Honor has captured the market with their huge smartphone portfolio including Honor 9X, Honor 20i and more. The company has also launched a gaming smartphone in the country, the Honor Play. Not only that, but even their newer models ship with features like GPU Turbo. 

When asked for a comment, Charles Peng, President, Honor India Consumer Business Group, said, “Smartphone gaming has become a new trend in this era of digital innovation. With technology evolving from desktop to smartphones, consumers gaming pattern has also shifted from PC console gaming to mobile gaming, owing to various factors such as portability, long-lasting battery, powerful processors and enhanced viewing experiences on the smartphones. Whether it is a low graphic game or a high intensive game such as PubG, Call of Duty, and Asphalt 9, smartphones have become a new gaming partner for youths. We at HONOR, follow the consumer-centric approach and have an interesting yet innovative line up of smartphones designed to meet their gaming needs. Committed towards providing the best in class innovation, HONOR smartphones come featured with GPU Turbo, HONOR’s in-house graphic booster technology, that helps in accelerating the graphics processing efficiency by 60% while reducing the SoC (System on Chip) energy consumption by 30%, and introduced Liquid Cooling Technology which allows CPU to run at higher frequencies for long duration and triple Wi-Fi Antenna for better connectivity in our flagship phones. We started the trend of launching a dedicated gaming phone with our successful HONOR Play, and now we ensure to give better gaming experience with every new device. Our most celebrated smartphones HONOR 20 and HONOR 20i from the popular 20 series and the recently launched HONOR 9X features the latest GPU Turbo and powerful chipsets, striking a smooth balance between smartphone performance and energy consumption. Furthermore, the advent of 5G technology will further enhance the way we consume data on a smartphone, boosting the smartphone gaming experience to the next level. We believe to innovate as we invent, and with this faith, we will continue to bring performance-centric gaming smartphones for our user base.”

Also Read: Honor 9X Review: The most affordable pop-up selfie camera phone

iQOO’s first smartphone in India is gaming-centric

Smartphone gaming has also opened up opportunities for new brands. iQOO has recently entered India with their iQOO 3 smartphone. It was one of the first phones to come with 5G support in the country. Apart from that, the major selling point of the device included the gaming-centric features like 4D Game Vibration and smooth 180Hz touch sampling rate. 

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iQOO 3 is a premium smartphone with gaming-centric features.

Commenting on this topic, Mr. Gagan Arora, Director-Marketing – iQOO India, said, “iQOO continues to be at the forefront of driving customer-centric innovation that aims at meeting the evolving needs of consumers, whilst providing them with the best technology.” 

“Consumer interest is ever-evolving and the new trend is the rising popularity of gaming over smartphones. To match the trend and ensure that IQOO consumers have the most advanced technology in their palms, we have designed the product in a way that takes the gaming experience to a whole new level. Right from Monster Touch Buttons, 4D Game Vibration and smooth 180Hz touch sampling rate response, all have been duly incorporated in the iQOO 3. Since mobile games are more processor-heavy and graphics-intensive, the best gaming experiences require top specs. Thus, to give an uninterrupted experience, our smartphone is equipped with the best available processor and dedicated Ultra Game mode which enhances the gaming experience,” he added.

Also Read: iQOO 3 5G Review: Redefining affordable flagships

Asus ROG is looking beyond selling smartphones

Asus was one of the first companies to introduce high refresh rate displays on smartphones with the launch of the ROG Phone. While the phone was aesthetically impressive for gamers and packed a punch, the price tag was set too high. The company realised it and soon came up with the ROG Phone 2 offering better price tag at a much more aggressive price point. 

As the company already has an idea about e-sports from its PC business, they have now started to capture the mobile gaming e-sports community. The Taiwanese giant has recently introduced a weekly PUBG Mobile Gaming Tournament exclusively for ROG Phone customer. 

Upon seeking for a comment, Dinesh Sharma, Business Head, Smartphone Division, System Business Group, ASUS India said, “We have been conducting various community engagement activities in the offline space for our communities, however, these times allowed us to shift these activities online. A few weeks back, we scheduled a free for all master class on photography with Rahul Dutta on our Instagram handle, where participants can learn tips and hacks on photography and videography. 

Currently, we are organizing #ROGBattleOfGods, a weekly PUBG Mobile Gaming Tournament exclusively for ROG Phone customers for the ultimate prize pool of ₹6,60,000*. Started on April 24, 2020, the tournament is scheduled every Friday. ROG phone users will go head-to-head in multiple Battle Royale rooms with the quest to rise to the top. The top players will qualify for the final match that will be shown live by the famed eSports casters in India. And the winners of the final clash shall be announced every week. The first season is expected to last for 12 weeks. In this way, we are playing our part amidst this COVID-19 crisis by supporting our local communities which is more important than ever in the current crisis.”

Is smartphone gaming the future?

Until now, people have been investing money on buying consoles like PlayStation and Xbox and even building PCs worth Rs. 1 lakh just for playing some graphic-intensive games. Now, people are just buying a good smartphone and casually playing games like PUBG Mobile. This builds up interest and some of them end-up playing it for live streaming or practising for e-sports matches. Smartphone gaming is not only more accessible but it is more portable as well. So, we will keep seeing more casual gamers becoming a part of the community. However, hard-core gamers would still prefer going in with consoles and PCs.

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