During the second day of the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm announced a surprise entry into portable gaming. While the company already offers mobile SoCs for gaming smartphones like the ASUS ROG Phone, it is now setting its sights on the mobile console market which offers handheld controllers with displays, much like the Nintendo Switch and the upcoming platform. Valve Steam Deck form based on x86. Qualcomm has developed a new SoC-only for the platform called Snapdragon G3x and has partnered with gaming accessory maker Razor to offer a software development / hardware benchmark platform that is essentially a handheld gaming console.
The platform is aimed at the fast-growing mobile games market, which Qualcomm now estimates at $ 90 billion to $ 120 billion. The platform will be able to run Android games directly on the device or stream games from PCs, game consoles or the cloud. If this sounds familiar to you, it should. Nvidia offered a similar platform called Shield in 2013 with limited success. However, technology, games, and the market have changed dramatically over the past few years. More importantly, there are now more cross-platform game titles available.
Qualcomm has partnered with Razor to create this development platform. The handheld console features a 6.65 inch, 120Hz, 4K OLED touchscreen. In addition, it has active cooling using fans, 6000mAh battery, 1080p webcam for live streaming and connectivity via USB-C, Wi-Fi 6 / 6E and 5G for playing anywhere and anytime. The platform’s USB-C port serves both charging and XR Viewer connectivity. And the device has advanced haptics for gaming feedback, as well as an ergonomic design that is roughly 11 inches long and weighs just over 500 grams.
My first impressions from playing with the device are that the weight makes the device feel like a high quality rig without being too heavy to cause fatigue. The width is also nice in that it allows your hands and arms to be further apart in a more relaxed position, especially when you are seated. I can’t wait to test the production units.
The development platform is available to game developers for pre-order today from Razer. Initially, the focus is on developers to bring great gaming content to the platform.
Although the specifications for the G3x have not been released, it appears that the device resembles the 8cx family of PC products. So far we know the G3x includes an Adreno GPU capable of delivering 144 fps with 10-bit HDR resolution, 5G mmWave cellular modem, 6 / 6E Wi-Fi via Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 and Snapdragon Sound, the highest point of the company. technologies to deliver lossless sound. And according to Qualcomm, the G3x is just the first in a family of products targeting portable gaming that will include the company’s “entire arsenal of Snapdragon Elite Gaming technologies”.
It’s no surprise that Qualcomm is entering the handheld game console market. The G3x straddles smartphone SoCs and PC SoCs. Additionally, there is growing interest in handheld game consoles, as evidenced by the huge demand for the Switch and the Steam Deck. The only questions regarding the Qualcomm platform are whether Razor will offer a consumer version of the unit and what other OEMs might offer a Qualcomm-based unit?