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Qualcomm Snapdragon delivers revved-up cloud and on-device gaming for elite mobile multiplayer experiences

Aug 10, 2020

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

[Editor’s Note, 9/15/2020: Today we’re proud to have Xbox bringing their cloud gaming service to billions of Snapdragon devices around the world. Xbox Game Pass subscribers will now be able to play a library of over 100 high-quality titles in 22 countries across the world. Paired with Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G modem technology, gamers can expect a high-fidelity experience wherever they are playing. Finally, Master Chief from Halo can conquer the Covenant and Marcus Fenix from Gears of War can chainsaw Locust from the palms of your hands.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming truly brings best-in-class gaming – whether it be on-device to leverage desktop-level features, or through the cloud utilizing blazing-fast 5G. Keep reading below to learn the difference between on-device and cloud gaming – and why Snapdragon delivers the best experiences for both.]

Multiplayer games have come a long way since the early days of consoles and controllers. Their graphics are now more detailed and realistic, and their stories are more expansive and compelling. Gamers playing with others remotely is common ground now, obliterating their competition from across the world. And most importantly, multiplayer gaming is seeing a seismic shift from PC to smartphones.

According to a 2019 survey, 70 percent of the U.S. plays mobile games on their smartphones. As 5G coverage expands and unlocks new opportunities in mobile multiplayer gaming, that number continues to grow. 

Currently, there are two ways to enjoy multiplayer gaming on mobile, each with its own benefits: on-device gaming and cloud gaming. On-device gaming entails downloading mobile games onto your device, while cloud gaming enables you to stream them. Both types of gaming address well known pain points, like battery drainage, graphics quality, and distracting latency. 

Here’s a run-down of on-device gaming, cloud gaming, and how Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G platforms tap both to support riveting multiplayer gaming experiences on mobile.

On-device gaming

On-device gaming allows you to download mobile games directly onto your smartphone and enjoy features that were once reserved for console and PC games. This approach to mobile gaming comes with a lot of perks, the first of which is nearly lag-free gaming. Thanks to 5G’s high speeds and low latency rates, you can play against your friends without glitches. The incredibly high frame rates 5G enables are also crucial to truly syncing the moves of all players, so you can react to virtual attacks the second an opponent launches them.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming is a big reason why on-device gaming is next-level. The Adreno GPU in Snapdragon mobile platforms is engineered to enable your smartphone to sustain high performance rates for long periods of time without overheating, throttling, or wasting power, so you can game for longer and at a consistent processing speed. At the same time, it delivers ultra-smooth experiences, which is why many mobile games and smartphones are able to achieve high frame rates that shoot past 90 FPS and top off at 144 FPS. 

The GPU also offers new hardware-accelerated features, like Adreno HDR Fast Blend, which boosts game scenes with heavy blending. First-to-mobile PC gaming features like Adreno Updateable GPU Drivers, gives players control of their GPU driver updates and settings to provide optimal display refresh rates that unlock premium visual fidelity on your favorite games. 

The on-device processing for this approach to multiplayer gaming enables vivid OLED screens to live up to their full potential, which means you’re fully immersed. Our Snapdragon Platforms display 10 billion shades of color (or 10-bit HDR quality), so you can see every minute detail, just like the game developers intended. HDR support highlights the brightest glares and the darkest shadows in multiplayer games, adding depth to gameplay.

Cloud gaming

Cloud gaming allows you to stream a multiplayer console or PC title, just like you’d stream a movie with an extremely fast Wi-Fi, 4G, or 5G connection.

Compared to their console counterparts, cloud-based multiplayer smartphone games aren’t as large in size, but they still consume gigabytes of data while pushing device batteries to their limits. Snapdragon mobile platforms that are optimized for gaming are equipped with features that alleviate these constraints while ensuring that your device makes the most of its power. 

And just like streaming 4K — or even 8K — video, the strength of the phone’s internet connection can make or break your cloud gaming experience; that’s why 5G is expected to have a transformative impact on cloud gaming’s proliferation and possibilities. A reliable connection with a high throughput allows you to receive updates the moment they’re released. If you’re playing against friends in different states, you’ll see each other’s movements and react instantly, just as if you were playing on a PC.

Along with the benefits mentioned earlier, Snapdragon Elite Gaming also takes cloud gaming up a notch with its game network latency manager. In the 5G era, you can also stream games over Wi-Fi 6E and the managing feature can automatically optimize network settings and Wi-Fi configurations to ensure that your game continues to update, even as you play. 

Technologies that support both

On-device or the cloud — both are enabled by Snapdragon, giving you a leg up in the competition.

The Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System was built to enable reliable multigigabit 5G speeds, which are vital for smartphone gaming experiences. Its mmWave capabilities boost throughput and latency rates, so you can experience multiplayer mobile games as if you were playing with friends on the same console. And whether you’re gaming indoors, outdoors, or during your commute, the Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System supports the strongest available cellular connection, so you can continue to slay the competition virtually wherever you are.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming gives you a competitive edge, whether you’re playing on-device or via the cloud. This arsenal of software and hardware features is optimized for gaming, so you're fully engaged from the moment you power up your game. Snapdragon Elite Gaming also delivers realistic visuals that add dimensions, pro-level performance, and 3D positional audio, taking your multiplayer gaming experience to the next level.

The recently-launched Snapdragon 865+ Mobile Platform supports insanely fast, superior gameplay with truly global 5G, plus ultra-intuitive AI, and game-changing Wi-Fi. It’s fully loaded with the aforementioned Snapdragon Elite Gaming features and is powered by the Snapdragon X55 Modem-RF System, one of our most advanced Modem-RF Systems to date. Both its CPU and GPU deliver 10 percent performance increases, when compared to the mobile platform’s previous generation, which is game-changing (pun intended) for gamers.

The Snapdragon 865+ is also the first mobile platform to feature the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity system, which enables Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi connections with lower latency and faster speeds. Whether it’s 5G or the next generation of Wi-Fi, the Snapdragon 865+ offers support for fast, reliable connectivity, so you can go round after round with friends without a hitch. 

The new Lenovo Legion Phone Duel and Asus ROG Phone 3 are both powered by the Snapdragon 865+ and are equipped with Snapdragon Elite Gaming — perfect for hardcore gamers like you. The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel is one of the first global 5G gaming phones for gamers around the world, and among the first to surpass the 3-GHz threshold, delivering 3.09 GHz from its Snapdragon CPU with zero performance throttling. Its display supports a 144-Hz refresh rate, essential when gaming with friends, and its 20MP horizontal camera powered by Snapdragon is ideal for live broadcasting. 

The Asus ROG Phone 3 also crossed the 3-GHz threshold, with its Snapdragon CPU delivering 3.1 GHz. Its display touts a 144-Hz refresh rate, with immersive audio powered by Qualcomm aptX technology. And when it comes to live streaming video, the ROG Phone 3 is equipped with a 24MP front camera to share every reaction and every win.

Innovative devices like these are helping redefine mobile gaming, harnessing powerful 5G connectivity to provide ultra-smooth performance and blazing-fast speeds, whether you’re downloading or streaming, playing multiplayer or single player.

For best-in-class mobile gaming — on-device, cloud, or both — you deserve Snapdragon. 

Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm FastConnect, Qualcomm Adreno, Qualcomm aptX, and Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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