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NVISION: Mobile Gaming's Race Towards Console-Caliber Visuals

By NVISION - Tue, May 1, 2012

During a Seattle, Washington event hosted on April 19, 2012 by HTC, NVIDIA’s Mike Rayfield spoke on a variety of topics including the evolution of mobile graphics technology. As one of the people in charge of the company’s mobile business, Rayfield is uniquely qualified to comment on mobile graphics technology versus the performance that consoles provide.

HTC and NVIDIA (still a leading manufacturer of high-end graphics cards that enable desktop PCs to display their most breathtaking visuals) both owe their existence and current success to their work in the PC industry, which Rayfield notes is in the midst of evolution. The term “PC” no longer refers just to a machine with an 11-inch display or greater. A keyboard and network are no longer required, either, since so many people use a variety of mobile devices that get around that requirement by implementing touchscreen controls. Your smartphone might well count as a personal computer in today’s market.

With such change comes innovation, which is necessary to accommodate updated consumer needs. Battery life is now more important, for instance, since people so rarely tether themselves to electrical outlets. A good example of NVIDIA’s efforts to meet those changing customer needs is the company’s Tegra 3, which features 4-PLUS-1 architecture, PRISM display technology, and DirectTouch touch architecture, SoC and system-level innovations that extend battery life (while also improving the user’s experience).

While the portable devices aren’t yet equal to consoles when it comes to graphical output, they’re closing the gap quickly. Before Rayfield concluded his talk, he was joined by Chip Sineni of Phosphor Games Studios and Bretty Seyler of Kerosene Games. The developers provided a sneak peek at some unreleased mobile games that will eventually be released for Tegra 3. Dark Meadow: The Pact and Bounty Arms THD benefit from the Tegra 3’s quad-core CPU and GeForce GPU. In particular, the former title uses the Unreal Engine 3 engine to allow for high-resolution textures and atmospheric real-time lighting effects in line with something you might expect to find only on console hardware.

As the mobile market expands and broadens, you can likely expect to see a variety of games released through Google Play and the free NVIDIA TegraZone app, software that serves as a welcome reminder of technology’s constant march into the future.

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