Developing The Place to Play all your Games: The Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform

Monday 2/28/22 08:22am
Posted By Micah Knapp
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Snapdragon and Qualcomm branded products are products of
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Even though mobile gaming represents the biggest and fastest growing gaming segment, today’s gamers are passionate about games regardless of the platform. And they’re demanding! They’re often on the move, so they want the best gaming experience no matter where they are – on the couch, at the dining table, at the park, or the beach.

So, where does that leave a gamer’s collections of PC, console, and cloud-based titles? Shouldn’t they be able to access their collection anytime and anywhere, alongside their native Android mobile games, with virtually identical premium experiences? We thought they should, but recognized that delivering this would require a new kind of hardware.

Thankfully, our advancements in smartphone gaming technology made us uniquely positioned to offer it, and we were able to create a new gaming-specific SoC: the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform that we announced at Snapdragon Tech Summit 2021. We want to share the background of its development with you and show you how you can develop with it so your users have the place to play all of your games.

The Place to Play all Your Games
To start our journey, we looked at the Snapdragon Elite Gaming features found in our latest premium-tier Snapdragon mobile platforms, like the recently-announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform. First, we knew gamers and developers would want features like Game smoother technology, Qualcomm Game Color Plus, and Qualcomm Adreno HDR Fast Blend. Next, we wanted gamers to access PC, console, and cloud games alongside their native Android mobile games on the go, with nearly identical premium experiences and long battery life.

To power this and the next generation of native Android games, the hardware would require a dedicated gaming-specific SoC to power new and different types of premium mobile gaming devices. So we set out to develop one. This culminated in the Snapdragon G3x, a platform designed to be the PC gaming rig of mobile games and provide the best possible experience for gaming in the palm of your hand.

In addition to sporting our Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, the Snapdragon G3x includes many notable aspects for premium gaming experiences, including:

  • Industry-leading performance per watt for sustained performance
  • Qualcomm Adreno GPU updateable drivers for gaming optimizations
  • Support for resolutions up to 4K at 144 fps
  • True 10-bit HDR with up to a billion shades of color
  • Snapdragon Sound (wireless sound) offering low latency to ensure players hear their queues when they need to be heard
  • 5G mmWave connectivity and Wi-Fi6, essential for low-latency, real-time, and streaming-friendly gameplay
  • Low-latency integrated haptic engine with dual motors for feedback

A Hardware Developer Kit to Make all of Your Games
But we couldn’t stop at just a new SoC; we had to take care of our game developers too. Since seeing is believing, we decided to show you what we had envisioned. That’s why we collaborated with Razer to create the Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit. It represents the physical embodiment of a conceptual mobile Android gaming device powered by the Snapdragon G3x, so you can plan and develop for such devices

As a developer, you work best when you have early access to a physical hardware development kit (HDK) to hold in your hands and develop on. With our ergonomic and perfectively-weighted device, you’ll be better equipped to build forward-looking technology and games, construct their roadmaps, and let your creativity flow.

The kit includes several features that future devices might incorporate. Most notable are its physical, console-like analog controls that mimic a typical console controller. These showcase how physical controls give mobile gamers the feel of console controls and enhanced gameplay, allowing you to experiment with different types of content, interactions, and game mechanics.

Other notable features include:

  • 6000 mAh battery for long gameplay sessions
  • 6.65” OLED display with 120hz refresh rate and FHD+ resolution
  • Ability to drive TVs up to 4K resolution via USB-C-to-HDMI cable at 60fps
  • Four-way speakers
  • Front-facing FHD 1080p webcam and dual microphones, allowing gamers to stream themselves playing
  • Dual motors for stereo haptic feedback
  • Active thermal cooling incorporating fans for sustained peak performance
  • Full 5G mmWave and Wi-Fi6 connectivity

Getting Your Game On
We know that porting games to new devices can be costly, so our goal was to allow you to run your existing games as easily as possible while taking advantage of the platform’s features.

One approach is to make your games available through a cloud streaming or gaming sharing service. For example, Parsec can stream PC games hosted from a gamer’s PC or those in the gaming community. Gamers can then use the Xbox and Xbox Game Pass apps for Android to access libraries of Xbox games on the device.

The platform could potentially open up new subscription-based revenue opportunities for streaming game services. For example, you might create or enhance console or PC game streaming services to accommodate players who don’t have access to those hardware platforms.

If you decide to port, take comfort in knowing that you can use the standard Android SDKs and graphics libraries. The display also provides the native Android aspect ratio, so existing rendering code, and art asset sizes should work as before. Touchscreen capability is also still available, so you can ease into adding those console-like controls. However, using those controls will free up screen real-estate normally consumed by touchscreen controls. So now you can add other details, new types of menus, etc., to that reclaimed space.

You’ll want to remap the touch-based inputs to physical button presses and thumbstick movements. We worked with AKS to include mapping functionality between the touchscreen and the physical controls to make this easier for you. This video from AKS shows an example of how their technology maps touchscreen controls to their Android gamepad.

Since the device can drive a 4K TV at up to 60 FPS:

  • Consider new form factors like a console or set-top box, where the device becomes the controller, and the TV is the primary viewport.
  • Prepare art assets for FHD+ resolution and verify how they look on the screen and a 4K TV.

The system can also connect to XR viewers. If you’ve been thinking about expanding into XR development, you can now create or add new immersive experiences to your games. And you can use the HDK to experiment with new immersive digital environments for online communities and new ways of consuming content.

As with all Snapdragon SoCs, you can take advantage of our rich collection of Snapdragon tools and SDKs like the Snapdragon Power Optimization SDK, Qualcomm Neural Processing SDK for artificial intelligence (AI), and Snapdragon Profiler, to give your players the best possible experience

Start Developing for Tomorrow’s Mobile Gaming Devices Today
We’re super excited about the potential of this new platform, but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what Gameloft had to say:

“Gameloft, a leading publisher and developer of games, is elated about the new Snapdragon G3x Handheld Development Kit powered by the Snapdragon G3x Platform. Along with Qualcomm and Razer, Gameloft shares the vision of the future of gaming where players can play all their favorite games, anytime and anywhere. The Snapdragon G3x Handheld Development Kit further supports our philosophy that the possibilities are endless at Gameloft studios.”

Check out Razer’s developer portal for more details on the Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit.

For additional insight, see 5 questions answered about the all-new Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform.

Snapdragon, Snapdragon Elite Gaming, Qualcomm Adreno, Snapdragon Sound, Qualcomm Game Color Plus, and Qualcomm Neural Processing are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.