Are Smartphones Now the Ultimate Gaming Devices?

Gaming has never been as popular as it is today, with as many as one-third of the entire global population enjoying these titles on a regular basis. Many of the people that are getting into playing games are doing so through their smartphones rather than more traditional devices like consoles or computers.

But in the past, mobile games have been looked down on by some players who have seen them as cut-down titles with fewer features, clunky touchscreen controls, and toned-down graphics. This perception is beginning to fade though as the quality of mobile games has come on leaps and bounds, closing the gap between the two formats.

In doing so, have smartphones become the ultimate gaming device?

Plenty of Muscle

Today’s smartphones contain hardware that is more powerful than many consumer-grade computers. For example, Apple’s iPhone 13 range includes the company’s A15 Bionic system-on-a-chip which packs in six CPU cores that are clocked up to 3.23 GHz, a GPU with up to five graphics processing cores, and 6 GB of memory.

While not directly compatible, many mid-range Windows PC computers have 4-8 GB of memory and CPUs with fewer slower cores.

Of course, these ARM-based systems are not going to compete with the high-end x64 chipsets and brick-sized graphics cards found in gaming PCs and consoles, they do a great job of running complex games including first-person shooters and racing titles.

Plenty of Choice

Gamers that own a PlayStation 4 can choose from around 2,500 different titles, with a back catalogue of PS3 and PS2 games to bump this up closer to 10,000. In contrast, PC gamers have much greater choice as Steam sees around 10,000 new titles released each year.

This pales in comparison to smartphones though. Both Apple and Google have around one million different titles for mobile gamers to choose from, covering just about every perceivable genre, theme, and format from the most basic hyper-casual puzzles to 100-player battle royale titles like Fortnite.

Smartphone users can also enjoy traditional card games through their smartphones as most sites that allow you to play online poker offer either smartphone apps or mobile-friendly websites.

More Flexibility

Mobile gaming offers many benefits over larger devices, most notably in the fact that they can be taken just about anywhere. You’d struggle to lug your PlayStation 5 and a TV screen on a train to play a game, but with a mobile game, you just need to whip out your phone, tap the app, and start playing.

Of course, most people choose to play mobile games by tapping the on-screen buttons but it’s also possible to connect a Bluetooth controller to get a console-like experience or a keyboard and mouse to enjoy PC-style gaming. Provided you’re ok with the smaller screen, this means you have the freedom to play just about any title you want, anywhere in the world, in any way you’re comfortable with.


One of the biggest criticisms of mobile gaming has been that smartphones aren’t capable of running the biggest titles. For example, even the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S22 range is not going to be able to handle titles like GTA V or Cyberpunk 2077.

However, thanks to streaming services like Google Stadia, this problem has been solved. These platforms do all the heavy-lifting on their cloud servers and beam the images back to your phone.

Because they can be run on any device, rather than just smartphones, you have the freedom to start a game on your PC or TV and then move to your mobile device when you need to go out.