OPINION: The release of the Asus ROG Phone 6 has taken mobile play to a new level, but is it enough to change the game?
This week I had the pleasure of testing the ROG Phone 6 Pro. This latest gaming phone from Asus has the kind of specs that are staggering enough to give you a nosebleed; a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, 18 GB of RAM, a refresh rate of 165 Hz and a sampling rate of 720 Hz.
The incredible interior, combined with the dazzling screen, gave me a great gaming experience that I have not enjoyed before, even on top devices like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus or the OnePlus 10 Pro. So if mobile gaming is to grow exponentially and completely overshadow the popularity of console gaming, could this be the device to do it?
Well, the answer to this is twofold; First of all, mobile gaming doesn’t really need any extra help for the most part. Right now it’s in ill health, accounting for 50% of global gaming revenue in total according to leading market research firm Statista, and things are only going up, with this key market set to be worth $100 billion by 2023. to achieve.
That makes a lot of sense when you consider that each of us carries a smartphone with us all day long, and they are loaded with increasingly powerful chipsets that can run even very demanding cross-platform games; yet they still don’t seem to have earned the praise that consoles enjoy. The discourse rarely revolves around smartphones as a platform, and the gaming world continues to revolve around the PC, the PS5, and the Xbox Series X.
If smartphones start to convert their significant market value into the kind of cultural cachet currently enjoyed by consoles and become the go-to platform for all gamers, I think we’ll have a little longer to go; but change may be just around the corner.
What ROG Phone 6 Pro does is deliver the highest possible gaming experience within the traditional parameters of mobile gaming as we know it today. That means it runs existing games from the Play Store more smoothly than ever on a large and lush screen, with maximum responsiveness. However, the high price tag and appeal of the niche mean that the audience is a hard core of enthusiasts. For mobile gaming to grow further, it needs to go beyond the console and become something bigger.
One of the reasons for the huge success of the Nintendo Switch is its hybridity. Being able to play it both on the go as a portable computer and on your TV as a traditional home hub console has given it unparalleled flexibility. It won’t be long before mobile gaming can achieve the same effect; we’ve already seen efforts from Samsung’s DeX and Motorola’s Ready For to translate smartphone action into a larger monitor. While the earliest iterations of this kind of feature may have been clunky, if the concept is successfully implemented, smartphone gaming could appeal to the many gamers who prefer the big screen experience.
Second, when Mixed Reality and the metaverse first take off, it’s likely that the smartphone will be the primary vector through which we experience these new and exciting alternatives. While there are informational and business uses for Mixed Reality, ranging from a virtual heads-up display during operations to remote management of industrial spaces, much of the animated discussion about its potential has focused on gaming. After trying some of these early demonstrations, it’s clear that this technology has great potential for immersion like never before.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro shows us how far we’ve come from the early days of gaming on the go, delivering a truly captivating experience – but I’m convinced that the best is yet to come from mobile gaming, and paradoxically may come from the phone itself just a starting point for bigger and better things.