Mobile ray-tracing’s chicken and egg problem

The Mobile Game Experience is Evolving

The mobile gaming industry has changed dramatically over the years, shifting from simple games to a wide variety of gaming experiences that rival even the top triple-A console and PC games. With titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty now making their way to mobile devices, it’s not surprising that gamers would want more from their mobile gaming experiences.

Rise of the 3D Open-World Mobile Games

miHoYo’s Genshin Impact, along with their latest title, Honkai Star Rail, are prime examples of how mobile hardware can now power expansive 3D open-world games. With the industry trending towards developing both triple-A quality experiences built from the ground up for mobile and cross-platform titles, it may only be a matter of time before ray-tracing technology is integrated into mobile games.

The Ray-Tracing Question

David Harold, CMO at Imagination Technologies, believes that ray-tracing will be the next big thing in mobile gaming. However, the technology is expensive and requires a lot of real estate on the chip in the phone. Thus, device manufacturers are hesitant to incorporate ray-tracing into their phone’s hardware because of the cost involved. Likewise, game developers are hesitant to create ray-tracing reliant content unless there’s a high volume of phones with ray-tracing capabilities. The ecosystem is currently in the process of developing, and the existence of cloud gaming is likely to solve this problem.

Making Ray-Tracing Possible Through Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is an avenue that makes such technology viable on mobile devices. Harold suggests that “very affordable phones could still have some ray-tracing capability”. By putting the difficult GPU work off the device and onto a high-powered server, cloud gaming can create high-quality gaming experiences available to both high and low-end devices. This opens up high-quality games to gamers who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them without breaking the bank on high-end hardware.

The Future of Mobile Ray-Tracing

Imagination Technologies has unveiled IMG DXT, their new GPU with ray-tracing features, that can be scaled between low and high-end devices making it mass-market friendly. Additionally, with 5G, devices can be connected to the cloud for fast access to high-quality gaming graphics. Although the chicken-and-egg problem still exists, Harold is confident that ray-tracing will become “fairly mainstream” in the next few years.

Redefining the Mobile Gaming Experience with Ray-Tracing

Ray-tracing technology is not only about creating realism. Harold believes that the technology is an avenue for creativity in developing images that are generated procedurally. It would allow game art creators to focus on the more creative side of game art while reducing the burden of creating game art and design from scratch. Mobile gamers, particularly those in developing markets, can look forward to the best quality of mobile gaming through cloud gaming.