AMD's semi-custom chips power both the Xbox and PlayStation, as
well as Valve's hotly anticipated Steam Deck.
Qualcomm's processors can be found inside many phones, including
those designed for gaming. Now Qualcomm is muscling its way into
the middle ground too, announcing a chip for handheld consoles
(yes, like the Steam Deck) called the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming
Platform, and a partnership with Razer to develop it.
Qualcomm's announcement follows its earlier announcement of the
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 smartphone processor at the
Snapdragon Tech Summit, the company's developer conference.
Qualcomm estimates the global mobile gaming market is worth
about $90 billion, and growing fast. According to Micah Knapp,
senior director of product management at Qualcomm, gaming is
increasingly nomadic: PC gamers aren't exclusively PC gamers, but
are willing to use consoles and other platforms to play exclusives
and cross-platform games.
That's the premise of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1, a chip which
will drive the Razer concept. It's an elongated mobile handset that
looks more like the proportions of a small skateboard (or an old
Sega Game Gear) than a boxier console like the Nintendo Switch.
Knapp said the decision to create the G3 was a simple one.
Qualcomm's business model has been to create a platform for markets
that justify them, such as the PC or cars. While many users
continue to game on their phones, the G3 tries to address the
concept of what's next — combining elements of its PC and mobile
gaming platforms, such as fan controls and ports to connect to
external 4K displays.
Qualcomm isn't really saying what's in the G3x chip itself. We
don't know which version of the Kryo CPU or Adreno GPU is inside of
it, for example. What Qualcomm did say is that the chip will enable
144Hz, 10-bit HDR gaming, while being connected either via a wired
USB-C cable to an external display or to an XR viewer. The chip
will also include WiFi 6e to enable games from Xbox Cloud Gaming
and other solutions to stream wirelessly to the console. There will
be support for Snapdragon Sound, too.
Razer's new Snapdragon
G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform development kit.
Razer, however, is being a little more forthcoming. Here's what
Razer has publicly released about its new development kit, which
will invite comparisons to the Nintendo Switch, Valve's Steam Deck,
gaming phones like the ROG Phone, niche Android consoles like the Moqi I7S,
and Razer's own Kishi mobile game controllers, which clamp onto the
outside of a phone.
- Display: 6.65-in. (Full HD+ resolution, 10-bit
- Webcam: 5Mpixel (user-facing, 1080p60)
- Wireless: 5G mmWave/sub-6 support,
- Audio: Snapdragon Sound, via 4-way
Just to be clear: there is no Qualcomm G3x gaming console, yet.
Razer signed on to create a development kit, which is not being
sold at retail. The kit contains elements which could end up in a
retail product, such as fans, integrated controllers, and a large
battery. This is being sent into the developer community, to give
developers a sense of what the future of gaming will look like,
Knapp said, so that developers can begin designing games for what's
coming in the future.
And that future envisions playing all your games on the same
platform, Knapp said. In this case, this specifically means Android
games and PC games, as well as games streamed from the cloud.
Qualcomm even designed in enough performance headroom to allow
mobile streamers to play, capture, and stream the game to their
According to Knapp, Qualcomm's G3x gaming platform will underlie
gaming devices of all sorts, including consoles, HDMI game sticks,
and more. As developers get interested, as…the public becomes aware
of this new platform, we do expect to see OEMs will take this
chipset platform and create their own devices.
We'll have to see what the future holds.