Razer Developing Dedicated Gaming Smartphone – do PC gamers need one though?
Razer has today announced that it is currently working on the development of a product, a dedicated gaming smartphone. Their hope is that the device will be available on the market by the end of 2018.
The companies CEO and co-founder, Min-Liang Tan was appearing on CNBC’s Managing Asia show, where he spoke of the companies vision and plans for growing their brand in China. Some of the ways which were mentioned was the use of zGold, Razer’s virtual credit system which you have probably accrued some yourself if you have their software installed on your machines. Tan then went on to discuss breaking into the mobile market.
“Mobile gaming is getting massive everywhere – US, Europe, China – and we hope to have products to serve the mobile gamer everywhere in the world. One of the most hotly rumored things about Razer is that we’re coming up with a mobile device. And I can say that we are coming up with a mobile device specifically geared towards gaming and entertainment. We’re hoping to have it come by the end of the year, so that’s something we’re working on” said Tan
It is no surprise that there is certainly a market for mobile gaming in the industry, but no one has really been able to crack the nut yet. Nintendo has nailed down the handheld market share for the better part of the last decade, with the success of the Gameboy, 3DS, and now they have added the Switch to that list of successful portable devices. As PC gamers we either have to remain stationary at our gaming desktops or fork out thousands of dollars to get the same experience on a gaming laptop, and very few of us are able to do that.
Personally, I purchased the Nintendo Switch a couple of months ago to use it as a mobile device, to play indie games on, and for me, it is ideal for that exact purpose. Most indie games don’t exactly need hugely powerful graphics cards, tons of hard drive space, or GBs of RAM. Most will run on a potato at some level, but the portability of the Switch ticked all the boxes in one fell swoop.
It has always astonished me that we (PC gamers) have never been able to experience the PC platform, on a portable or mobile device. You just have to look at the computing power that an iPhone or a Google Pixel has and it makes you wonder why haven’t we got there yet? The hardware is definitely out there for it, but nothing has come to market that has really stuck. There has been a Kickstarter project which has been in development for a while which should be hitting the market soon, but it remains to be seen just how this will work and being a Kickstarter, it may never see the light of day.
I can’t be the only one out there that would love a handheld device that you could load the lite SteamOS on and play your huge backlog of indie games on whilst on the move. There are so many titles out there which are perfect for that platform, and the Switch has proven that with the split of gamers which play it as a home console, or as a portable device. Granted I am not a fan of games such as Breath of the Wild in handheld mode, but Sonic Mania, Mario Kart and other smaller indie titles such as GoNNER are an absolute dream to play on it in that mode.
With the news that Razer are working on a mobile device, and that they have acquired NextBit earlier this year, the team that was behind the cloud powered smartphone, Robin Android. It is reasonable to suggest that the new device will be android based, so that may limit the number of titles the device could run, but Android devices are usually easily customize-able, so maybe the tech savy among us could flash the device and get SteamOS on? Or maybe Razer will run a lite version of Windows, or collab with Valve on the SteamOS. Everything is speculation, but one thing is obvious, is that Razer knows what it is doing in the gaming industry, and they have a huge following of dedicated consumers, so hopefully they will be able to release a product that ticks all the the boxes we as PC gamers want.