Mobile devices are about to leave consoles in the dirt. ARM (the company behind the ARM processor architecture that powers every iOS device and most Android devices) ecosystem director Nizar Romadan says that ARM-powered chips could be as powerful as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 very soon. Possibly even by the end of next year, Nvidia, Samsung, and Texas Instruments could be making those incredibly powerful chips. Romadan made the remarks at Casual Connect Europe, saying:

Mobile hardware is already powerful. 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.


Now, the idea that your iPad is going to suddenly be playing modern console and PC games on the go is perhaps still a bit far-fetched. But if more people get gaming-capable TV boxes, then they could be viable platforms for major, console-quality productions. But where the real killer use for these enhanced visuals could be is in the VR field. Romadan says:

Our view is that mobile VR is the use case that could unlock the potential of mobile for hardcore gamers. 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.

Samsung Gear VR

Think about it. Why would someone buy an expensive console or desktop machine for an Oculus or Vive if their phone with a headset was powerful enough to deliver the same quality of VR experience? And between Samsung getting in early on mobile VR, Google pushing Cardboard even further, and optimistic estimates on mobile VR's future, well, it might be your phone that's the hotspot for VR gaming, not your PS4 or computer.


  • LordShad0wz

    Absolutely. I actually just ordered my first Google cardboard. I hadn't even heard of it until there was a game posted on this site recently designed for it. I had no idea. But it's awesome and I can't wait to try it out. $20 for cardboard and $1 for the game. How can you beat that value? -Billy

    • dave69uk .

      Its quite good if a little limited (still in it's early years).
      Tried a short horror game which was predicable but fun.
      There is a lot of potential in this area.

  • Sonic Sloth

    Mobile chip makers have been making similar claims for years about performance catching up to consoles. They have greatly narrowed the gap when it comes to raw computation speed, but they are a long way from catching up on memory bandwidth, which is where the limiting factor is. In real practical terms, mobile still has a long way to go before catching up even with the 10 year old Xbox360.

    • Tallgeese

      Advertisers wouldn't lie to me! Mobile processors will surpass all other forms of life as the dominant species probably by the end of the month. Also ARM sounds like an evil company. Like AIM. I recommend SWORD and SHIELD defeat them quickly before they hail HYDRA.

  • ZeeMonkeyMan

    "But if more people get gaming-capable TV boxes, then they could be viable platforms for major, console quality productions"

    Hmm gaming capable TV boxes? consoles then!!

    • yomachaser

      This is the problem with mobile trying to shift into the console area, the consoles (and living room pcs) are a better offer by far than the mobile offerings.

      Mobile had a real shot a few years ago with the shield tv and they half assed it by not putting money into games that would draw people in.

      Sadly for mobile the game dev trajectory is going more and more away from proper games into freemium hell so it doesn't matter any more what hype chips they can make at ARM (and dammit some of them are beast) when most of the top games are shitty freemium and the cream on top of good gaming ends up on steam and PSN alongside all the great games pc and console already have.

      I used to love mobile gaming but outside of a few great creators (like Rayark) they lost the plot a while back.

      • Jezwinni

        Shield ATV hasn't even been out one year yet, what are you talking about?

      • yomachaser

        Sorry the shield effort in general is what I should have said as they all were meant to hdmi to a tv and be a console.

  • anada

    Mobile will never be taken seriously by the majority for anything more than casual games.


      Using "never" in sentences that refer to growing markets is always a bit risky.

      • Eli Hodapp

        Mobile is terrible, I read it in an Internet comment somewhere so it must be true.

      • Tallgeese

        Haha, so you're saying "anime was a mistake."

      • Tallgeese

        "Mobile is garbage." - Eli Hodapp WHY CAN'T I ADD MEME PICTURES!!!!

      • Tallgeese

        errr.. "terrible"

      • Eli Hodapp

        If you believe in yourself anything is possible.

      • Tallgeese

        I believe in Sherlock Holmes! "Also, Harvey Dent, can we trust him?"

      • Eli Hodapp

        My cat's breath smells like cat food.

      • Tallgeese

        Ya, good like trying to figure out which tv/movie quote activates my killswitch. "Me fail English! That's unpossible!"

      • Eli Hodapp

        That is literally on my tombstone.

      • Tallgeese


      • Eli Hodapp

        I'm not dead yet I just had my tombstone made so my next of kin doesn't screw stuff up and leave out my love for all the magical animes.

      • Tallgeese

        That sounds exactly like what a vampire would say to keep from getting staked by his non-vampire constituents! Also a good idea! I'm going to demand my servants and warriors drink poison so they serve me in the afterlife and help me to conquer Hades Command and Conquer style, but mostly so I can secure some sort of wireless connection so I can continue to watch the latest TV and movies and play the latest games. It's the same reason they made the pyramids, so I can't claim the idea is mine. Have you seen Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei!?

      • Eli Hodapp

        No really the only animes I watch is Rick and Morty these days.

      • Tallgeese

        Well it's pretty good! Out of all animated entertainment nothing beats Rick and Morty tho!

      • spader623

        The problem with mobile though is that while it makes a lot of money, so much of it is just freemium or F2P. Premium games sell like crap. As an example, in the future the witcher 3 will be able to be played on your phone sure... But who will pay the 60 bucks for it? 'Oh noes it's not free or a dollar, TOO EXPENSIVE'

      • TouchMint

        I definitely agree freedom is holding back premium. while there are some good titles that use the hardware to its fullest its not the focus of mobile gaming so its not getting pushed as hard as it could be. Its not like you need a lot of power to run match 3 clones.

      • Modjular

        Agreed, comrade, too much freedom.

        Anyway, there's definitely a good handful of freemium games that take advantage of the hardware. The real triple-A efforts like contest of champions and injustice. The fact that they're quite successful means the standard, at least for graphics, is being pushed higher, which is something I can't disagree with.

      • YARRRRR

        I think he actually does have a point, except for using the word "never" or lack of the word "probably". Mobile does have a lot of problems that "real computers" mostly overcame like years ago, and the advantages mobile has over the PC generally benefit casual games more.

        Don't get me wrong, mobile is my main gaming platform for a couple years at least, and the most casual game in my library is probably "Sword of Xolan", and I had amazing times playing stuff like KOTOR, Last Express and Secret of Mana for the first time in my life on a mobile, but I don't think anyone would prefer KOTOR on mobile to KOTOR on PC, unless they have a lifestyle that seriously restricts stationary in-home gaming (for example full-time job, 2 hours of daily commuting and a living breathing girlfriend). This is not a universal rule, just an example since there are games that miss nada, for example I percieve YS on mobile with controller to be a more solid experience than playing that one on PC.

        Besides obvious hardware differences (mostly meaning default use of keyboard and mouse, not the chip speed, chip speed is fine imo), the market is not as healthy yet. I mean, come on, out of two major mobile platforms one censored Isaac, and the other has such a piracy ratio that release will hardly be financially justified. Just one example of stuff that is wrong.

        I must note, however, that this saddish condition does not have to be permanent and I believe the community can possibly steer the leviathans in the healthier direction, but for that we will probably have to actually acknowledge the problems, instead of mocking people who mention them.

        Oh, and I love lasagna.

      • Tallgeese

        You had me at, "oh, and I love lasagna!" YAR5 2016!

      • Leszek Jurczak

        KOTOR is like 12-13 years old...

      • YARRRRR

        Indeed it is, but I fail to see how does that contradict any of the points that I am making or how is it even relevant to any of them. Care to explain please?

      • Tallgeese

        JBeebs said "Never say Never!"

    • dancj

      If you'd said "Mobile will never be taken seriously by a shrinking number of elitist snobs for anything more than casual games" I'd agree with you.

      For the most part though, I think it already is taken seriously. Unless your definition of "casual" games is so broad that it includes everything on mobile by default.

  • gmattergames

    The mobile VR stuff is neat, very innovative. The problem with VR, mobile or otherwise is that it physically encumbered the user, limiting when and where it can be used. VR, by its very nature, is immersive, with both sight and sound of the real world completely removed. Saw a guy with his Gear on a flight recently, he looked ridiculous The great thing about mobile gaming is that it can be enjoyed nearly anywhere, any time; easily integrated into daily life.

    • cassus

      Looking ridiculous is fine. Caring about how others see you is a waste of everyone's time. Pure joy-limiter.

  • TouchMint

    I can see it. I am amazed already with what mobile can do. mobiles getting better and better every year ps4 and xbox have been around for a while their hardware is getting older and older

    • Based Xatu

      Mobile hasn't even caught up to last gen consoles lol. Even if it ever does the battery life would be shot in minutes.

      • YuiKaosu

        Umm yes they have lol

      • bilboad

        Nah. If you cherry pick specific stats like screen resolution or CPU clock speed, sure you can claim mobile devices have caught up. But if you use a more practical test, like comparing how actual last gen console games that have been ported to iOS run on iOS, there's no good evidence that iOS devices have caught up. Look at Bioshock, or Dust Elysian Tale. Both run on iOS, but both had to dumb down the graphics, significantly in the case of Bioshock, in order to run on iOS devices. The only console ports I've seen which run as well on iOS as on console are games from two console generations ago, i.e. Xbox 1 or PS1 games.

      • Eli Hodapp

        The reason you see such heavily degraded ports is because Bioshock was ported to run on the iPhone 5. The significant downside of mobile technology progressing so quickly is as a developer you still need to target the lowest common denominator of hardware... Which is why it was such a huge deal when Apple stopped selling the iPhone 4, as developers only had to wait a year or two before they didn't need to worry about supporting it.

        Things would be very different if developers could reasonably turn a profit exclusively targeting top-tier hardware.

      • bilboad

        What you're saying is plausible, but unproven. I guess until I see an actual example of a game which pushes the limits of a last gen console, which is ported to iOS and runs just as well there, I'm going to be skeptical.
        So far the only console ports I've seen which run just was well on iOS have either been 2 or more console generations old, like the GTA games, or they're games which didn't push the hardware limits of the console at all, like the Radiangames shooters. I get that you're saying if developers were willing to target only the newest devices maybe they could do it now. Guess we'll have to see if anyone tries it.

      • Eli Hodapp

        How is it unproven? Developers targeting the lowest common denominator of mobile hardware is what they do. Listen to any GDC talk, read any developer blog. It's not like I'm proposing some fantasy hypothetical situation here. Do you read TouchArcade often, or did you just stop by this story because the headline made you mad?

      • dancj

        Clearly they have to support older devices that are still in heavy use, but that wouldn't stop them making the game run better on newer devices - and many games do that.

        I was impressed at how well Oddworld: Strangers Wrath and X-COM run on the iPad Air 2 though so it's possible that the devs just did a crap job with Bioshock.

      • bilboad

        Oddworld is a good example of what I'm talking about though. That was an Xbox 1 and PS2 game, i.e. several console generations old. It's definitely been shown that iOS devices can run games from several console generations ago as good or better than the consoles. What's in dispute in this thread is whether iOS hardware has caught up with last gen consoles, i.e. Xbox 360 or PS3.

      • bilboad

        Whoa there! I've been reading TA for years, have been a Patreon subscriber since you started doing that, I always read whole articles before responding, and in fact my favorite writers on TA are the ones who write more verbose and in-depth articles like Shaun Musgrave. And yes, I did read this whole article, and your comments.

        I wasn't disputing the fact that developers usually try to make their apps support as many devices as possible. In fact my agreement with that fact is a big part of why I said your claims were plausible. The part I am skeptical about is that a AAA action game of the type which pushes a last gen console to its limits could run just as well on a current gen iOS device, because I've yet to see an example of that. I'm aware that there are multiple possible reason for why this hasn't been done. One possible reason is that iOS hardware couldn't handle it. Another possible reason is what you said -- that developers wouldn't write an app that only works on the latest devices because it would limit their market too much. A third possible reason is that they couldn't charge enough for such an app on iOS to make it worth it. If I thought hardware limitations were the only possible reason it hasn't been done, I wouldn't have said your claims were plausible. The reason I do think it's plausible is because I am aware of those other possible reasons. Until I see an actual example though, I consider it only plausible, but unproven, whether it can be done.

      • speedyph


      • Tallgeese

        From the above article: "Mobile hardware is already powerful. 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."

        I could be wrong but I don't think you could hypothetically play Bioshock Infinite on an X360 with the same graphical settings and FPS side-by-side on a plugged in iPhone6 (assuming of course it was converted to run on a "high-end only" portable device...) You could with a streaming program, but that's not the same as what an X360 or PS3 does. "Performance" is kind of a nebulous term. Any modern smartphone certainly "performs" better web browsing and document creation than a vanilla gaming console, but it's unfair to compare the two on a criteria like that if "high-end gaming" (by which I mean graphically intense/possibly directed by Michael Bay-type games), is what you care about...

      • Tallgeese

        The quote is semantically correct but because of its unquantified implication it is misleading. Welcome to advertising.

  • vic_viper_001

    If only the same could be said about the 2.5 hour max battery life...

    • Tallgeese

      What do you orbital frames know about battery life!? A typical EVA can only last a max of five minutes if separated from its umbilical. Combat maneuvers probably decimate that reserve to one minute! ONE MINUTE! Those EVA pilots are crazy!

      • baldeagle86

        And children!

  • Poo

    If mobile was that powerful then console/PC games getting ported to tablet would make mobile the best.

    I'd love to play Pillars of the Earth on my iPad. Yeah the controller thing will always be an issue but I'd put up with it for some full ports rather then F2P spin offs.

    I like a good F2P but prefer to spend most of my gaming on something a little deeper.

  • Huy

    The problem with mobile chip design has never been about lack of performance. These chips on paper have a ton of flops. But as soon as you extract peak flops from them, they overheat due to slim designs and the power usage drains our mediocre batteries flat so fast.

    Because of this, game developers have to aim at not getting 100% out of the SOC, but 25-50% peak.

    I mean if you guys played XCOM, you know that it drains your device flat in about 2 hours.

    I'm still waiting for this momentous leap in battery performance...

    • Poo

      They should have two versions thin for non gamer and thicker for a beasty battery for gamers

      • Tallgeese

        They're always after me peak flops!

      • yomachaser

        But if it's thicker with a big battery for gaming and some kind of base for stability and optional controllers for hardcore gaming you just bought a thin gaming laptop and moved away from tablets.

      • InTheAir

        Or.. actual graphics settings!

  • cowtruck123


  • Tallgeese


  • Serenityinaz12

    Right - just like how nobody goes to the theatres anymore when they can just watch movies at home. Oh wait.....

  • walmartpolice

    Pretty sure my IPad pro still can't run ninja Gaiden 🙁

    • walmartpolice

      The Og Xbox remake that is

  • delirium38

    You could have the fastest machine in the world but if you don't have the games to use that power it's pretty useless. Just look at he huge library we have right now and all people are talking about is KOTOR and XCOM.
    Ports of PS3 games are non-existent and I don't see GTA 6 coming to mobile because it so damn fast or it would sell so well.
    Let's face it mobile is great for certain games with ditto price tag, nothing wrong with that as I'm enjoying the hell out of those games, but a lot has to change to see mobile catching up with a gaming library that resembles the XBOX 360 or PS3.

  • john glentzes

    They should catch up with PS3/Xbox 360 first before aiming higher....

    • Leszek Jurczak

      Amen to that. All those mobile chips are pretty awesome in term of raw power. But if you consider this in terms of mobile gaming they are like a decade after consoles. Two main reasons are heat and battery usage. You can't run them at the full speed because it will simply burn in its 5 millimeter thin plastic/aluminum can. And even if You do it will drain your battery in minutes. Despite that, none of the bigger games is coming exclusively for mobile because of its high development costs. So called premium games for 15-20 euros are considered as expensive. Who would pay at least twice that much for a massive AAA title for a mobile? Maybe a few. Thats why all we get are ports of already existing titles. And what about storage? Many 8th generation titles with all those complex models and high definition textures already require over 40 GB on the hard drive. Even with the highest capacity iPhone/iPad model You would instal about 3 games at the time if you're lucky. I won't even mention ingame controls. I like mobile gaming, I really do. But let's be honest, no matter how powerfull new ARM-powered chips will become in terms of gaming we're still years after a console market.

  • Zach

    So in a year they will surpass hardware that will be three years old? Rock on!

  • Mando44646

    too bad 95% of phone games are freemium trash designed to make money rather than be a game. Console games spend far more money as well since we're actually willing to invest in gaming habits

    • Eli Hodapp

      So you're saying there's over 28,000 good iPhone games?

      • Mando44646


  • Alexythimia23

    Lets face it even graphics are coming to the point where its like real life, so there is not that much further to push consoles and pcs anyway. It comes down to great games, and ios has plenty. Dont be naive, of course they are gonna catch up to the best of graphics, its evolution and nothing short of a force majeure will stop it. I know so many hard core pc gamers and console gamers who have hardly touched their devices because of some of the epic gaming experiences out there. I dont doubt what this article says will come to fruition EVENTUALLY, it cud be end of next year or it cud be five years. But either way console and pc are close to their own limit... Well i guess that depends on who you ask, but thats my two cents.

  • boydstr

    Why if the latest iPhones out perform Xbox 360 why was the BioShock version graphically so bad on iOS,I hope when the update will come I hope the game uses the power of the latest iPhones fingers crossed.