The mobile tech giant Qualcomm hosted a morning of talks in London recently, where Patrick Perkins, its Head of Marketing (Gaming and Graphics) shared a vision for the future of gaming. He even brought with him a dev kit for the upcoming Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform, a handheld gaming device that could contribute to that future.


With other press, listened and asked questions as Perkins predicted where the gaming world could be headed in the next few years. Seeing as Perkins previously worked for Microsoft on such projects as the Xbox Series X/S consoles, his take is definitely one worth listening to.

“I love how the subject is 'the future of gaming', like that's up to me,” Perkins says with a laugh to kick off his section of the day’s presentations. He gets a chuckle from the crowd by adding, “This is what the guy said! That's what's gonna happen!”

Having spent the past two years working at Qualcomm (which Perkins calls an “ingredient brand” you’ll find in everything from 5G networks to Snapdragon chips), and three years before that working on the new consoles for Xbox, Perkins has spent a good chunk of his working life trying to figure out where gaming is heading.

Although Qualcomm has contributed to consoles in the past, the company’s current focus is mobile. Perkins notes that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Elite Gaming banner has brought “desktop-level capabilities” to phones including variable rate-shading and volumetric rendering.

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Qualcomm has a hand in everything from 5G to phone chips.
Qualcomm has a hand in everything from 5G to phone chips. Getty

Not keen to get bogged down in the jargon, Perkins went on to detail “the future of gaming as decided by me”. He told us, “This is what I think we're gonna see. And this is what has me so excited. Because of all the advances that we've been able to have in the mobile field, we're seeing people become more and more platform agnostic. They want great games.”

Perkins adds, “I actually started dozens of years ago, when it was 'Team Nintendo' or 'Team Sega'. Sega had the famous campaign, 'Sega does what Nintendont', and Sonic was out for blood against Mario. And then you saw, next generation, there were the Xbox [fans] and the Sony ponies, right?”

The lay of the land doesn’t really look like that anymore. Perkins says, “What we've seen, and this is from some internal research we've done… we asked gamers, what platform are you most passionate about? Where are you spending the most amount of your time?”

At this point, Perkins shares a slide of surprising stats, including one about people who would define themselves as PC gamers, but actually spend almost as much time playing on their phone as they do on their computer. Likewise, people that primarily play mobile games might also spend a fair amount of time on consoles as well.

Analysing the data, Perkins says, “Through all this, you see so much overlap. And it's for a few different reasons. You know, number one, let's say you play on your PC all the time, well… what if you're on the tube on the way to work? You're not taking your PC with you, right? But you can play another game or even the same game with cross-platform progression or cross-platform saves.”

He adds: “You're seeing a lot of games come out that are, by nature, designed to be cross-platform. An easy example is Fortnite. That is a game that spans across all platforms. And it's great to know that I can play on my Xbox against my friend on a PlayStation or a PC. I can even be on my phone and play against those other platforms.”

Snapdragon Elite Gaming has made numerous tech advancements for mobile.
Snapdragon Elite Gaming has made numerous tech advancements for mobile.

Perkins also noted an example from the TV world, saying, “If you think about it, like, let's say Netflix for example — no one ever says, 'Hey, what are you watching?' 'Oh, I'm watching Netflix phone', right? Or 'I'm watching Netflix TV.' It's just Netflix, right? And you can start watching on your phone, you can carry it to your TV, we know that is just Netflix.

“And so that's what I'm looking forward to [in gaming], like, 'Oh, what are you doing?' 'I'm playing Fortnite'. And it doesn't matter where you're playing.” To make this a wider-reaching reality, Perkins says you need “developers to be open to that” and you need “to have the technology for it”. He notes that Snapdragon Elite Gaming is “building that technology, so you're not seeing a complete drop-off” when comparing mobile to other platforms.

Cloud gaming supported by the speedy 5G network will play a part in this future as well. Perkins says, “The end vision of cloud gaming is to be on every screen. So right now, what you're seeing is games [on mobile] that were originally intended for PC or console — you know, no one ever intended Halo to be played in the palm of your hands.”

Because of what is possible with the cloud, Perkins says, “you're starting to see developers thinking more outside the box, like, 'Okay, what is it going to look like on a smaller screen?' Conversely, you know, what's it going to look like on a bigger screen if you're working the other way, being able to fling something from your phone to your PC monitor or TV monitor.

“So, at the end of the day, all gaming is becoming one, and isn't that what we really want? Not being encumbered by 'that game looks great, how do I play it?' Being able to see that game and say, 'I can't wait to play this on every screen in my life.’”

This future sounds lovely, but there are some wrinkles that need ironing out in our opinion. It's one thing to predict what the future of gaming will be, but a fair amount of collaboration would be needed in order to make it happen.

Although Xbox and the Fortnite-makers from Epic Games seem committed to the idea of sharing their content on multiple platforms, you could argue Sony and Nintendo are holding on tighter to the old tradition of console-locked exclusives. We ask from the audience: will this vision for the future of gaming be held back by platform-holders and developers that don’t share the same vision?

Perkins responds like so: “I mean, I don't think so. I think we're seeing an erosion of those walls around platforms. Now, I do think that some are earlier than others, and some are a little more aggressive about it. But I mean, if you want to talk, let's take PlayStation for example, right?

“They used to be, 'you have to own a PlayStation to play this Sony Studios game'. And [now] you're seeing them on PC, launched through Steam. There is that delay from when they're on the console [to when they come on PC], but I think they're kind of opening up to it, right?

“At the end of the day, the consumer is always gonna win, no matter what. Because that is the money that you put down. And I think people are starting to think about it a little differently."

Sony's God of War game was a PS4 exclusive on launch in 2018, but it came to PC in 2022.
Sony's God of War game was a PS4 exclusive on launch in 2018, but it came to PC in 2022. Sony

Indeed, Sony has begun to dabble in PC releases of its previously PlayStation-exclusive games, although — as Perkins alluded to — these Steam releases tend to come multiple years after the PS4/PS5 launches of the same games. And you can technically get PlayStation games on your phone if you control your console with the Remote Play app. Still, it's hard to imagine Sony rushing to embrace a platform-agnostic future, especially when PS5 stock is still flying off the shelves.

Perkins continued, “If you want to talk about the hardware side, any piece of hardware is losing money, right? You make up for it, obviously, on the software. But people are starting to kind of revisit those business models. And we've never had more screens in our lives, right? Like, I mean, you're going to be able to play games on your refrigerator at some point.

“And I'm not saying that dedicated hardware is ever going away. Because if you can, let's say, in a world where you're streaming 8K through the cloud [on your phone]. Having dedicated hardware [like a console or PC], you're going to get 16K or 64K or whatever. So there's always going to be a place for that.

“But it's going to get to a certain point where, if you want that experience, it's going to be on that screen somewhere. And I think that you're going to see different timings. And I think that some are going to adapt faster."

Perkins envisions a future where you don't have to "worry about what box or what piece of hardware you can enjoy this experience on. Let's have that experience everywhere. And so that's what I think the future is. And I think those [companies and developers] that have kind of been beholden to their walled gardens are seeing everyone else play in the shared space, and there's gonna be a want to just get down to the content. And let's not worry about how it's delivered. Let's just get that content to everyone.”

The Snapdragon G3x dev kit that Patrick Perkins brought with him.
The Snapdragon G3x dev kit that Patrick Perkins brought with him.

Perkins also brought with him a prototype of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform, a new Qualcomm device that blends high-end mobile tech with the form factor of a handheld console. Dev kits like this have been sent out to developers already.

This new product, which was designed in collaboration with Razer, could become an interesting option in the future of gaming that Perkins has outlined. We got a brief chance to try it out, with Rocket League Sideswipe and the cloud version of Forza Horizon 4 both running just fine.

Perkins noted that this hardware is still “very, very early on” in its journey, but it can run Android games and stream PC games as well as supporting cloud-based services like Xbox Game Pass, Amazon Luna, Google Stadia and PlayStation Remote Play. It could become an appealing choice for players who want to bring as many of their games on the go as possible.

“This is all built around the mantra I've been saying earlier,” Perkins says, “about let the content shine, let the experience shine. This is just another way to play. It's not going to overtake phones, right?”

Perkins adds: “But for the slide I showed, where people are playing amongst platforms, it's additive, it adds to that. [...] I don't expect anyone to junk their PC, right, but if they want to play their game while in bed, and they don't want to make their way up to their setup? Fantastic.” Perhaps the future will be here sooner than you thought.

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