News: E3 Just Proved That Gaming Phones Aren't Gimmicks

E3 Just Proved That Gaming Phones Aren't Gimmicks

During E3, many major game developers announced plans to bring console and PC franchises to mobile. These titles are designed for more serious gamers with competition in mind. All of this points to a shift in mobile hardware priorities — soon, gamers will need gaming phones just like PC players need a gaming rig.

To be competitive in games, you need the proper hardware. The main reason mobile gaming hasn't been taken seriously by gamers on other platforms is the inefficiency of the touch screen. But with new games such as Bethesda's Elder Scrolls: Blades coming to smaller screens, a wave of PC gamers are flocking to the mobile space. In Asia alone, there are 1.2 billion monthly active users gaming from their phones.

Gaming phones operate similarly to gaming PCs. While many PC games can be played on any hardware, serious gamers need gaming-centric equipment to be competitive. Gaming phones offer the same advantage. With higher refresh rates and faster, more precise controllers, gaming phones allows users to dominate the competition.

The Razer Phone was the first phone to start the gaming phone trend. Image by Marques Brownlee/YouTube

New Games Pushing the Envelope

E3 (or Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the largest annual North American gaming event. During the conference, major players in the industry such as Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo announce new games in the pipeline. While usually limited to console games, this year's event had a surprisingly consistent mobile theme.

Starting with EA Games, major publishers announced AAA games coming to the mobile space in an alternate version. Command & Conquers: Rivals, Gears Pop, and Elder Scrolls: Blades are just some of the massive franchises coming to iOS and Android.

Each game is a part of a series known for competitive gameplay, with the mobile version being no exception. However, for games such as Elder Scrolls: Blades, competition will much harder thanks to one key feature: cross-play.

  • Pre-register for Elder Scrolls: Blades: iOS | Android

Cross-play is the ability to play online against users on another platform. While other big games such as Fortnite and PUBG have limited cross-play between Android and iOS users, Bethesda announced that Blades will allow cross-play between all platforms — so an Android player can battle a PC player. While this level of cross-play isn't standard, it is one of the reasons why gaming smartphones are needed.

The Gaming Phone Advantage

With gaming phones, OEMs are making intelligent decisions to improve the quality of the mobile gaming experience. For example, the Razer Phone uses a block design with front-facing speakers that provide a natural resting place for your hands. The ASUS ROG phone uses pressure-sensitive technology (similar to HTC's Edge Sense) to create trigger buttons that assist in gaming. Both phones include high refresh rate displays, with the ASUS ROG phone offering 90 Hz and the Razer Phone offering 120 Hz.

While in landscape, the ASUS ROG lets you press the top corner activate a new button, similar to trigger buttons on console controllers. Image by The Tech Chap/YouTube

But what about when battling PC gamers in games such as Elder Scrolls: Blades? Well, the ASUS ROG offers a dock that allows for keyboard and mouse supports for fast, precise controls. The same dock also lets you connect to a computer monitor for a desktop-like experience.

Not to be outdone, Razer teased a concept at CES 2018 known as Project Linda. In short, it's the chassis of a laptop that uses the Razer Phone to run. In the same position as the trackpad on most laptops is a cutout for the Razer Phone. When the Razer Phone is inserted, apps can be run using the large display and keyboard, with the phone acting as a second screen and trackpad.

Image by RAZER/YouTube

With the rise of mobile gaming in Asia and the incoming surge in North America, the gaming smartphone trend only makes sense. While casual gamers will scoff at their design and (potentially) higher cost, for those looking to be competitive, these devices are the only option.

What are your thoughts on gaming phones? Would you get one for any of the new games announced? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Cover image via Austin Evans/YouTube

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