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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Are Smartphones and Tablets Going To Be Our Portals To Virtual Gaming Worlds?

Posted by Teala Thursday April 28 2011 at 1:22PM
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Are smartphones and tablets going to be our portals to MMORPG's and other games?  Will they replace the desktop PC as we know it?  The answer is yes ---  emphatically yes.

I have no doubt that we're on the verge of the next technological revolution.    Imagine this.    Ten years ago I was playing Asheron's Call on what I thought was the ultimate gaming rig at the time.  I spared no expense back then when it came to gaming, and my gaming rig was as l33t as they come - the cat’s meow.    Fast forward to today and I hold in my hand a smartphone that is more powerful than that whole gaming rig was.    My smartphone however, though only a few months old, is obsolete all ready.   Come this time next year,  smartphones and tablets will be running 2ghz dual core CPU's and have SD Cards capable of holding terabytes of data.   That is almost as powerful as the gaming rig I currently have!

Let's look at what we have right now.   Take my smartphone for example.   I can cruise the web in real time, in fact I am writing this very  blog entry right now on my smartphone, sitting in a cafe just outside Washington D.C.  Cool huh!  With this same smartphone I can talk with people, multiple people, at the same time, while running multiple applications.   I can be writing this, talking, and watching a movie in fact on my phone!  No lie.  It is that powerful --- today.  

In fact I do not even bother with renting DVD's anymore, or even use TV, I have my phone, and via wireless HDMI connection I can surf the web on the TV in my living room, go to Netflix, and choose any number of movies, TV shows, and documenteries to watch instantly - right through my smartphone.    In all my years of following technology I never could have imagined that we'd be this advanced so soon.   This is truly awesome and so very cool!

Move forward a few years.   With newer chip design and materials, like graphene and molybdenum, we're on the verge of a major increase in computer power the likes we have never seen before - ever.   Imagine a CPU that could do all the calculations ever done with current technology for a billion years.  Now imagine a computer capable of doing all those calculations in 1 second.   Sounds impossible right?   Well according to scientist, who have recently created the worlds smallest transistor, that may be a reality sooner then we all might think.   

So how will we play our MMORPG’s in the future - the very near future?  Well from our smart phones and tablets of course.   No need for big, bulky, gaming machines any more, because we’ll have our small, hand-held, devices that we can plug into a docking port or connect up with via a blue-tooth type wireless system that will make our current gaming rigs seem like a Speak and Spell toy from the 90's.   They'll be powerful and cost far less than the best gaming rigs money can by today.   That is great news for us gamers!

Seriously,  we’re right on the cusp of another technological revolution the likes of which  we have never seen before --- ever.    Within the next few years, you’ll be able to play games like World of Warcraft and EVE, using a tablet or a smartphone even.   We’ll just put on a pair of lightweight virtual goggles, or some other visual aid device, that will mimic looking at a 60 inch widescreen display, with HD resolution and connect to it via wireless means, and the tablet or smartphone will be our game controller.   You might even just connect to that brand new wall-to-wall(your walls of your home/apartment/flat will be one huge view screen using OLED tech) and use a Kinect™ type controller to play MMORPG’s and other games.   

We’re right is moving that fast.   In 2021, you and I, will be playing our MMORPG’s in ways we could never imagine.   There is going to be a mind blowing, technological revolution in the next few years and we’re all going to be a part of it.   It will be an amazing time.   So stick around kids...we ain’t seen nothing yet!

Sephiroso writes:

The way you describe virtual reality is not virtual reality.

"Within the next few years, you’ll be able to play games like World of Warcraft and EVE, using a tablet or a smartphone even.   We’ll just put on a pair of lightweight virtual goggles, or some other visual aid device, that will mimic looking at a 60 inch widescreen display, with HD resolution and connect to it via wireless means, and the tablet or smartphone will be our game controller."

to quote the part i meant.

we're far from(at least whats shown to the public) ever achieving real virtual reality (think .hack//sign) probably won't see it in our lifetimes(or at least be affordable enough so that there would actually be a market for it).

so my answer is no.

Sat Apr 30 2011 4:10AM Report
Nightmoore writes:

I do apprecite your excitement.....but you have some issues here.  Especially when it comes to portable gaming.

Order & Chaos just launched on iOS devices.  It's actually not too bad.  It's nowhere near WoW, but it's trying. But what's holding it back....and pretty much all hese devices the video chipset.  Something you need to understand about gaming technology is how important video horsepower is.  Big open 3D worlds full of polygons wrapped in textures require dedicated graphics chipsets with tons of memory.  That's why on any real gaming rig you buy today, the video card will cost nearly twice what the CPU does.  I just rebuilt a top end game system and paid around $300 for my i7 Intel processor.  But the video card came in at a whopping $520.  The GPUs in todays high end systems are more complex than the CPUs!

In the laptop world, portables with dedicated memory for GPUs are always a lot more expensive.  When you look at real game powerhouses from places like Alienware or Sager Notebooks, you're going to pay a premium for those machines....and they get pretty hot.

The current generation of video game consoles are using outdated video tech.  The CPUs and GPUs are dinosaurs compared to anything in new computers.  Here's a recent article from Battlefield 3's developers: stating that the consoles have been holding back the PC gaming community for years.  And it's a huge problem.

So what's in phones and tablets?  Not much.  If you're lucky enough to have an iPhone4, you've got some decent muscle, but nothing compared to the video chipset inside the iPad 2. The iPad 2 sports a video chipset EIGHT times more powerful than the original and can easily handle more than a PSP (Sony's Playstation Portable).  So as of right now, it's the only thing that could really handle a "nice looking" MMO.  No, not Rift on ultra settings, but still nice.  Otherwise Gameloft's Order & Chaos is as good as it's going to get.  And as long as all these truckloads of cheap Android clones keep churning out with crap-graphic capability, we're not going to make any progress.  :(

Tue May 03 2011 4:44PM Report
xantris writes:

the real potential of mobile devices (in the near future) for MMOs is cloud gaming, where you play a game remotely via browser from another computer thats actually running the game.

It mitigates the issue of high processing power and extreme battery usage required to run highly intensive apps

Wed May 04 2011 5:21AM Report
w4spl3g writes: I like my big dual displays. I like my discrete kick ass video. I like my full keyboard and antiquated trackball. I have no interest in playing an MMO on a phone or a tablet and *especially* not a browser. If this becomes all there is I'll probably just get a console and stop PC gaming. I've been PC gaming in some form for 25 years. It'd be a sad day. Wed May 04 2011 7:51AM Report
Teala writes:

So everyone thinks that you'll be required to play on  smartphones 4.3 inch screen?   That is not what I said.  I said the smartphones will eventually be as powerful as our current PC's.   Our smartphones will be our PC's.  No need for massive desktop gaming rigs.  You'll just plug in your smartphone and game from it, over whatever display system you currently have - be it a 60 inch wall mounted screen or a projector.    LG Revolution will be on sale soon as will Droid X2.  Both will come with Netflix and have HDMI ports.   Do you think when I wrote that you could watch movies streaming through your smartphone that I meant you would watch it on the phone(you could), but why not just stream it to your big display.   Same goes for games.   I am not saying play it on the small 4.3 inch screen.  I am saying stream it to a bigger screen through your smartphone that will be your new PC. 

Wed May 04 2011 2:46PM Report
immodium writes:

A portable handheld device will never be on par in technology with a desktop pc if both are released at the same time.

Thu May 05 2011 5:11PM Report
Konner920 writes:

I've been talking about this kind of stuff for a while now. Especially with Order & Chaos, the way it is. and to what people are saying, the iPad 2's GPU isn't that good. the Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset is more powerful, and then theres the quad core chips for smartphones Nvidia already has in development. Vendetta Online, now on android and can be played by those that have a Tegra 2 powered tablet. I have to agree pretty much. Phones are going to be able to do everything a PC can, and more in the near future. even with how HP is planning on bringing WebOS to PCs. 

Thu May 05 2011 11:56PM Report
Yamota writes:

Desktop PCs will always be more powerful than Smartphones so if you want to play the cutting edge games then you will be doing it on your computer, not your phone.

I for one dont see the need for a smart phone. I have no need to constantly check my mail or surf the web, I do that in the comfort of my home on my 32 inch full HD TV that I have hooked up to my computer.

Even less do I have the need to play games on my phone. I use it for *gasp* making phone calls.

No, the future of MMORPGs and gaming lies in more powerful computers capable to rendering photorealistic, realttime 3D graphics on large 3D monitors/TVs and hopefully in the distant future being able to hook yourself up to your computer to not only see and hear the virtual gaming world but to also feel and smell it, from all angles.

Smartphones are for people who like to be on the move (and being "hip"), most gamers I know are not. They mainly play games in the comfort of their homes.

Fri May 06 2011 7:46PM Report
risenbones writes:

Sounds fantastic there are just one or 2 things they need to figure out before smart phones take over the world though.

First is heat disapation.  There is a that top of the line hardware goes into those big PC boxes first well several really and chief amoung those is the new hardware runs at fairly high tempratures and that big box which is usually ends up containing a bunch of air that gets pushed around by fans and helps keep everything cool.  The tighter the space you put it in the less effective the cooling and the less reliable the component becomes.

Second is battery life the more powerful stuff you stick in the faster it drains the battery and battery development isn't keeping up with processor development which is why to get the most out of these mobile devices your having to dock them into stuff that resembles a laptop.

Finally all this is great if you live in a major city where there is a wireless network tower on every other building but as you move away from these centers the network connections become spottier and much less reliable heck there are some fairly significant gaps in these networks where there is no connections available at all evan in the USA and your smartphone is really nothing more than an expensive and unreliable paperweight.  Heck evan if you believe the networks propaganda of 90% of the USA is covered by these networks that 10% thats left over is a pretty big number of square miles probably in the 100's of thousands.

Anyway those are the hurdles that will hold back the technology and while yep it may be the future I don't believe it's as close as it would seem.

Sun May 08 2011 2:17PM Report
Meltdown writes:

I think a lot of the commenters here are expecting $3000 gaming rigs replaced by smartphones tomorrow. That isn't what I read and its not what I expect. The graphics/CPU/Memory capabilities of the phones now are equal to that of PCs of what, 5? years ago. So all those "classic" MMOs can now be run on a smartphone essentially (EQ, WoW, EVE, UO, SB, etc.). So in another 5 years, I would guess we might be running games similar in quality to Rift or Vanguard on a handheld device with the ability to output that to a shell system with keyboard/mouse and large monitor. 


Will it REPLACE PCs? No, because in 5 years when it can support the graphics/CPU of our current MMOs our PCs will be exponentially faster. But lots of people play games with non-current graphics and games like WoW which took a graphics hit on launch to be more accessible may launch a second wave of MMO success.  

Thu May 12 2011 2:15PM Report
Praylor writes:

I can see it happening..............right after we develope warp drive and location to location beaming.

Brb need to refill my kool-aid and put some more tinfoil on my hat.

Thu May 12 2011 10:22PM Report
Shinami writes:

Unfortunately smartphones and tablet PCs have many hurdles. I will even go to state that Laptops have their problems too. 


A very few percentage of the population owns the top of the line, but the average PC today is a Dual-Core PC with a lower end to mid-range video card and an LCD monitor. It is through this that most people play their games.


The order of computer technology is miniaturization. The most common and basic things at the lowest end of the spectrum are the very first to undergo miniaturization. 


Smart Phones today are strong enough for the basic person's instant-news web browsing, some videos and email. Tablet PCs are the replacement for work-laptops as long as they keep getting better. They cant handle thermaldynamics and would die of battery life or overheat when dealing with a heavy MMO. 


Of course I understand a Tablet PC and SmartPhone will become the top thing to play an MMORPG IF and ONLY IF we go back to the graphics of MMOs of 10 years ago...and we decided on the majority to take a stand against super graphics...


Unfortunately, that is EXACTLY what consoles were doing. Smart Phone Gaming is there because its optional and most buy Smart Phones to talk, text and web. 


So I do already see it as the leading 2D platform for some light gaming, but as it stands....PC and Consoles will still retain their market for as long people keep supporting it. My current system has 2 video cards and a Quad Core processor, and five years from now we will have 2 - 3 generations of video cards and processors.


The highest end tech first goes in "Dinosaur-sized" systems and then after miniaturization we can enjoy the tech you like. Unfortunately without the dinosaurs.....there is  no miniaturization. 

Sat May 14 2011 9:36PM Report
Kyleran writes:

I see laptops as being the next evolution, large enough to contain almost the same components as a desk top, therefore can play comparable MMO's, and both devices will always be several orders of magnitude more powerful than the best smartphone.

Heck, the video cards in some desktop PC's are more advanced (and almost as expensive) as my laptop and they certainly won't come out in minature form.

Sat May 21 2011 10:04PM Report
Acidon writes:

As always, love the article.  Absolutely contagious enthusiam as well!

I was thinking to myself, at first, "wait wait hold on.. What about people that want big screens".  But of course you had a perfectly viable answer for that, too.

As for the video HP argument, that goes hand in hand with the smaller transistors just as much as CPUs.

I'm a believer, and I'm excited.  I want it now.  Now I tell you!

Sun May 29 2011 11:11PM Report writes:
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