Gaming Smartphones: An Emerging Niche

It has been quite some time since the global gaming industry has been booming. To give you a better idea regarding the scale, the gaming industry is estimated to cross a revenue of $200 billion by 2023.

Even in India, the scope of gaming is no joke. The majority of the Indian public are mobile gamers and the rest are into PC gaming or console gaming.

The spotlight shone upon gaming in India with the popularity of PUBG Mobile. The recent ban on PUBG Mobile has also garnered more attention from the Indian gaming community.

It has been reported that the Indian gaming industry will be worth $1 billion in the year 2021 and would have an active player base of 310 million. This is why India is in the limelight when it comes to gaming. 

The current pandemic has also further boosted the mobile gaming industry in India since people are looking for ways to spend their free time.

Popular games in India also include card games such as rummy and poker which are played by people by putting real money at stake. These games usually have paid services and also let the users win cash prizes up to Rs.50 lakhs. 

One of the biggest influencing factors of mobile gaming is that everyone now owns a smartphone and mobile games can be played on these smartphones themselves without having to purchase anything additional. 

This widespread availability of mobile phones makes every user a potential customer for the gaming industry.

So let us get more into detail regarding the wondrous world of mobile gaming. 

The Evolution of Mobile Gaming 

Mobile phones have progressed from large and heavy devices that enabled us to communicate with one another from anywhere to our personal and portable entertainment companions.

Mobile gaming has now reached a point where they look graphically impressive, have smooth animations, and many other improvements. 

This however was not always the case. Video games were introduced in mobile phones for the first time in 1998 and this changed the way people looked at mobile phones and let them know of their vast capabilities.

The first game ever on a mobile phone was Snake. This game was a sensation among people, it was immensely popular and had over 350 million people playing it all over the world. 

Graphically the game was not impressive compared to today’s standards. It was a black and white 2D game where players control a snake as it grows. 

It was one of the most challenging games of its time but was still loved by all. 

This game was made by Nokia for the mobile phone and paved the way for more mobile games.

Image Source: Indiatimes

After a few years in 2000 thanks to the success of Snake, the already well-known game Tetris also made its debut on mobile phones. Tetris was one of the first coloured games to make its way to mobile phones. 

And as years passed mobile phones became more popular and gaming on mobile phones was also a loved activity to pass time. 

We have seen Nokia launch mobile phones that are dedicated to gaming in their Ngage lineup.

Over the years mobile phones moved away from the keypad to the now commonly used touch screen smartphones. 

The iPhone was the first smartphone to be commercially available with a capacitive touchscreen. It garnered great success which is seen even now. 

With the introduction of a full capacitive touchscreen, developers could create games that utilize this functionality. 

Developers made use of gyroscopic functionality and touchscreen on smartphones to introduce innovative games.

One of the most popular games on the iPhone was Angry Birds which took the smartphone gaming world by storm. This game was loved by everyone thanks to its simple to use mechanics 

Angry Birds had received critical acclaim and was one of the most popular games at the time of its launch and has attracted millions of users.

With the popularity of games in mobile phones two differentiated groups of gamers had been created, casual gamers and serious mobile gamers. 

Casual gamers are those who play games now and then just to pass time and they are usually older people. One of the popular casual games is the Candy Crush Saga.

Serious mobile gamers on the other hand are skilled gamers who would play to win and would spend countless hours gaming. These gamers play games that involve practice and precision. 

PUBG Mobile was a game that took the nation by storm in 2018. This game was one of the most popular mobile games in the history of mobile gaming in India and used to have a large active player base. 

This game introduced a wide range of people in the country to competitive online gaming and made India one of the biggest mobile gaming industries in the world. 

However due to a dispute between India and China the game was later banned even though it was extremely popular. 

This then paved the way for more mobile games in India and games like Rummy, Poker, and Teen Patti were also introduced where people could play games and win real money. 

Gaming Smartphones and Flagship Smartphones – are they any different?

It might be confusing to figure out what is a flagship smartphone and what is a gaming smartphone which is why we are gonna go into detail about each of these smartphones to give you a better understanding.

What exactly are gaming smartphones? 

Gaming smartphones are smartphones or mobile phones that are dedicated to gaming needs. These smartphones are manufactured and developed from the ground up to flawlessly run mobile games and have features that boost your overall gaming experience. 

Some examples of gaming smartphones are the Asus ROG Phone, IQOO 3, Nubia Red Magic, etc.

A gaming smartphone’s main priority is to ensure that your gaming experience remains excellent. It does not provide too much attention to other features like the camera and UI experience. 

The camera quality on gaming smartphones is known for being subpar since they are not paid too much attention to.

Gaming smartphones have features like cooling fans and vapour chambers which ensure that the device does not overheat.

Flagship smartphones, although capable of running games at good graphics generally have a reduction in performance after some time due to cooling-related issues since they are not well equipped with innovative cooling features like gaming smartphones. But this can cause gaming smartphones to look bulky.

Gaming is just one of the many things a flagship smartphone can do but it is not the priority. Unlike gaming smartphones. 

Software optimization features like game mode is another excellent feature in gaming smartphones. The game mode in gaming smartphones ensures that all the power of the CPU and GPU are focused on gaming and all other activities are temporarily on hold while gaming. 

This provides a boost in performance compared to a flagship smartphone. 

The battery life also plays an important role in a gaming smartphone. Gaming smartphones are known for their huge batteries, these smartphones can last for over a day on a single charge. The reason gaming smartphones have such huge batteries is because gaming dramatically reduces battery life. 

Certain gaming smartphones also have additional features like air triggers, these are sensors on the side of the smartphones that can be pressed to perform actions in-game. They also support accessories such as gamepads and external coolers manufactured by its company.

These gaming features are generally absent in a flagship smartphone. 

The display on gaming smartphones generally has a high refresh rate. The Razer Phone was one of the first smartphones to implement a high refresh rate on a smartphone.

One of the key aspects of a gaming smartphone is also its design. These smartphones tend to have a more edgy style. They do not look like your typical smartphone and have bold designs which might appeal to some but not to others. 

Recently RGB lighting on gaming smartphones has also become quite popular. 

Gaming smartphones are also generally cheaper compared to a flagship smartphone despite the similar spec sheet in some cases. This is why sometimes they are also considered to be flagship killers. 

Gaming smartphones are available for consumers with different budgets but this is not the case with flagship smartphones which usually have a premium price tag. 

Advantages of gaming smartphones

  • Dedicated for gaming 
  • Available for various budget groups 
  • Efficient cooling 
  • Optimized for gaming 
  • Air triggers and other gaming features 
  • RGB lighting 
  • High refresh rate displays 
  • Excellent battery life

Disadvantages of gaming smartphones

  • Poor camera quality
  • Bulky
  • Clunky UI

What’s a flagship smartphone? 

The term flagship was used to differentiate the vessel/ship used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships. It is the most important ship in the fleet.

Similarly, companies such as Samsung, Apple, LG, etc manufacture many smartphones however there is only one smartphone that they consider to be the most important since it features the highest-end specifications. This smartphone is known as the flagship smartphone. 

Examples include the Samsung S21 Ultra, Apple iPhone 12 Pro, Oneplus 9 Pro, etc. 

A flagship smartphone is designed with the ideology of being good at everything. It has the best camera in its lineup, the best processor, excellent UI experience, and many more. 

Flagship smartphones are known for their sophisticated design to make sure that they appeal to a mass group of people. This means that it is necessary to find the perfect balance between everything. 

This is not a problem with gaming smartphones since their target group of people are gamers and they do not need to focus on other aspects of the smartphones like its cameras. 

Flagship smartphones are equipped with the latest chipsets which ensure that they are really powerful but they are not necessarily optimized for gaming as is the case of gaming smartphones.

Certain gaming smartphones can run games as good as flagship smartphones or even better in some cases. 

One of the issues with flagship smartphones is the cooling. Most flagship smartphones despite having high-end specs do not have a cooling solution that is as good as a gaming smartphone. 

This is because flagship smartphones are generally quite slim and not as bulky as some gaming smartphones.

Flagship smartphones are usually more expensive than budget smartphones because they use premium quality material for their build and since they are also loaded with top-notch specifications. Unlike gaming smartphones which are available for various budget groups.

However, some flagship smartphones are also gaming smartphones. For example the Asus ROG Phone 5. It is Asus’s flagship smartphone which is intended for gaming. 

Advantages of flagship smartphones

  • High-end specs 
  • Sophisticated design 
  • Appeals to a larger audience
  • Great UI experience 
  • Excellent cameras 
  • Can be a gaming smartphone 
  • Latest hardware 

Disadvantages of flagship smartphones

  • Expensive 
  • Some devices have poor cooling solutions
  • Not all flagship phones are optimized for gaming 

Should you buy a gaming smartphone?

Now arises the important question, whether you should buy a gaming smartphone or opt for either a flagship or any other budget smartphone?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. 

If you are a professional gamer or an avid gamer when it comes to mobile gaming then you should consider opting for a gaming smartphone since it is the best way to experience your games.

Games like Free Fire and COD Mobile are best played on a gaming smartphone. If you have a high budget then you opt for a premium gaming smartphone or if you are on a lower budget then you can opt for an affordable gaming smartphone.

On the other hand, if you are a casual gamer then it is best to go for a smartphone that is either a flagship or a budget smartphone. A flagship smartphone can run the latest games without a problem but it is not meant for long gaming sessions while a budget smartphone should be able to run less demanding casual games without a problem. 

To answer the question. If you are someone who is an avid gamer and will be spending countless hours on mobile gaming then it is highly recommended that you opt for a gaming smartphone rather than an ordinary smartphone.

Gaming smartphone accessories 

As we had mentioned before, gaming accessories are also available on gaming smartphones. Some of the common gaming accessories include a gamepad or game controller, an external cooler, and many more accessories. 

Although gamepads can also be used with non-gaming smartphones, the gamepads manufactured by the gaming smartphone company itself seamlessly integrates with the phone to offer a much better experience.

Asus ROG gaming smartphone components. Image Source: 91mobiles

We have seen this with the Asus Kunai Gamepad, Asus Twin view dock, and also Blackshark’s gamepads.

The addition of these accessories provides a new way to play games on your smartphone and gain an edge over other players.

The external coolers in smartphones also do an excellent job of preventing the smartphone from overheating during long gaming sessions. 

All in all these gaming accessories are one of the reasons why you can go for a gaming smartphone. 

What does the future hold for mobile gaming?

The future of mobile gaming is bright. Currently, mobile game developers have only skimmed the surface when it comes to mobile gaming and the growth potential is quite a lot. 

Mobile phones are getting more and more powerful as the year’s pass by. A few years ago no one would have imagined a game like Call of Duty to run on a mobile phone but now this is also possible. This showcases the possibilities of mobile gaming. 

With more advancements over the years, smartphones will be more powerful and you can expect console-quality games on your smartphone. 

No matter what your stance is when it comes to mobile gaming, whether you love it or hate it, what is certain is that it has the potential to be the primary gaming system in the future because many people own smartphones and it is one of the easiest ways to access a wide audience.  

Currently, gaming companies like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony are launching their gaming services on smartphones. Thanks to the development of Cloud streaming services you can expect to play graphically impressive games shortly.

Microsoft Project xCloud. Image Soruce: wccftech

Project Xcloud is Microsoft’s very own video game streaming service. 

Augmented reality and Virtual reality is another way that smartphones can be used to provide a unique experience. VR headsets for mobile phones are becoming popular as time passes by.

In some years you can expect high-end VR headsets for your mobile phones which let you enjoy games on your smartphones like never before.

With this, we conclude that mobile gaming is one of the most popular gaming mediums in the world and has the potential for exponential growth. It has a mass appeal and includes people who play games casually as well as serious gamers. 

Gaming smartphones are not a gimmick and it is one of the best ways to experience mobile gaming. If you are interested in purchasing a gaming smartphone then we hope that we have helped you understand all of its features and what you can expect. 

As always thank you for your time and have a great day ahead.

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