Phone Graphics Will Catch Up to PS4 and Xbox One in 2017, Says Leading Hardware Manufacturer

Beefier hardware and VR could bring hardcore gamers to mobile devices, says ARM exec.

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Smartphones and tablets are about a year away from being capable of outputting graphics on the same level as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, according to leading mobile graphics processors developer ARM.

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Speaking at the Casual Connect conference in Amsterdam, as reported on by VentureBeat, company director Nizar Romdan explained it has been working with Nvidia, Samsung, and Texas Instruments on technology capable of rendering visuals on par with Microsoft and Sony's home consoles. This is a milestone ARM believes it will reach by the end of 2017.

"Mobile hardware is already powerful," Romdan said. "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."

Romdan noted that this power increase could be beneficial for virtual reality, which is available on mobile devices at a considerably lower price point than specialist hardware such as the Oculus Rift, which starts at $600 without a PC. This, he said, could be what brings console and PC gamers to gaming on mobile devices.

"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. 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."

According to a report from SuperData, the VR industry will generate $5.1 billion in 2016. The Oculus Rift is set to begin shipping to preorder customers on March 28. The base preorder package costs $600 and includes an Xbox One controller, Oculus Remote, a sensor, and free copies of Eve: Valkyrie and Lucky's Tale.

Sony's PlayStation VR is also set to launch in 2016. Although an exact date for when it will be available hasn't been announced, GameStop chief executive Paul Raines stated it is not going to make it out in the first half of 2016 as previously announced. Instead it will launch towards the end of the year, he said.

Asked for a comment, Sony told GameSpot it is excited to see PlayStation VR come to market, but didn't have anything to say regarding a release date.

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