Mobile becomes Console

by danhon

Mobile becomes console
Michael Schade, CEO and o-Founder Fishlabs

Changed the title – Epic’s Mark Rein said that mobile phones will be the console of the future. Well that’s pretty good to start with. Before I start, a bit about us.

Founded 2004, 35 people working in Hamburg working on j2ME, etc, but now Symbian, iSO, MeeGo, etc.

So, I’m going to take you on a time travel and do a comparison to what mobile’s achieved in the same space and time, then some numbers, some specs on what the smartphones can currently do, and then lastly, evolution. Galaxy on Fire from the very first days of Java to iPad.

So, let’s start.

Telstar vs Nokia 3110. The Nokia 3110 was the first device for mobile gaming, it was: it’s the same level. Black and white, I put this on par. Telstar was brought to market (Pong) 1971. Then, the Atari 2600: Frogger by Konami, River Raid by Activision. 256 colours in 1977, 1.19MHz. Couldn’t find an equivalent/comparable mobile phone.

Then NES vs Nokia 6100. Donkey Kong, in terms of colours, etc. You could compare this with the Nokia 6100. The release year for the NES, in North America was 1983, 53 colours, 5.37 MHz. The Nokia 6100 has 4096 colours and even Breakout by Atari on it looks more colourful. That’s when colour gaming started on mobile devices.

Then, SNES vs Nokia 6230. Some 3D, Star Fox by Nintendo. The look of these first 3D graphics are like the first sort of 3D games we made on mobile devices. One of the most popualr phones. 1991, 16 bit colour, 4MHz, pseudo-3D. The Nokia on-par, arguably a bit better.

PlayStation vs Sony Ericsson K700i. 1994, 3D, Gouraud shading, Texture Mapping, 33MHz. Gran Turismo. This is where Fishlabs came in. We worked with Sony Ericsson in 2004 andt hey had the first mass-market phone – the K700i, with gouraud shading, texture mapping, etc. Only in 2005, the first FPS on a mobile phone. Framerate, resolution not the same. At the time, we thought: if we see 3D graphics on a mobile phone, we see all the innovation steps from consoles to mobile devices. Colour, polygons, connectivity, then soon full HD rendering.

Xbox vs iPhone 3GS/N900/Xperia X10/Nexus1/Droid/Wave. 2001, programmable shaders, texture filtering, 733MHz. (PS2 didn’t have programmable shaders). When someone buys a phone because they want to play a game, then we’ve achieved it, then the mobile is the new console. NOVA by gameloft. It’s really close to Halo. This is OpenGL 1.1 on the iPhone, so no shaders.T The quality is kind of close. You can have a Halo-type experience on the iPhone 3GS. Not the same resolution, but close.

Xbox 360 vs iPad HD. There is no device out now that will compete with that. It could be like that – the retina display of the iPhone display on an iPad, 16:9 ratio and you play a full quality game on your hands. That’s probably next year. 2005, full HD, 3.2GHz. These are the new specs. Mass Effect by BioWare – I found a picture on the internet of a fake iPad HD, and a screenshot of Galaxy on Fire 2. Maybe next year. Maybe Galaxy Fire 3 will be an HD mobile game rendering to HD resolution.

So, the numbers. Units sold.

To put this into perspective.

iDevices are estimated around 120mm devices by end 2010. In June Jobs said at WWDC, 100mm devices already. At the end of the year, we might see 120mm. that puts it close to the most successful console in the world, the PS2, with 140mm install base. Android, Symbian, WinMo, WebOS, there are less devices there. There’s lots of Symbian devices out there, but not every device out there has a GPU.

Specs: first generation of smartphones iPhone, iPhone 3G, ipod Touch 1 and 2. Open GL 1.1. 128MB RAM, multilayer sound. iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 3 – Open GL ES 2.0. With ipad and iPhone 4, you have enough processing power to use the shaders. So we’re definitely going in the direction of consoles.

Galaxy on Fire – first released in 2005. Sony Ericsson K700i. J2ME, 1MB, 320×240. Most successful feature phone for mobile gaming. If you can create this universe you can play on this console, this gaming machine – everything gets bigger and faster. We can start with this.

Galaxy Fire on iPhone. 25-30 frames. Released in 2009. iPhone 3G, iOS, 17MB, 480×320.

Galasy on Fire 2. Released 2010, iOS, 150MB 480×320. First generation of games that look good on hardware. Move on a few months, they get better.

The innovation cycle is 12-18 months on smartphones as opposed to 5 years on consoles.

Demo of iPad build. Engine runs on PC. [Oops. Demo missing back button.]