Qualcomm recently entered the portable gaming market by releasing a dedicated gaming chip for the Razer Edge. But while many assumed it was sticking to Android-powered devices, it seems that Qualcomm may have greater ambitions.
During a media roundtable event at Computex 2023, Qualcomm revealed that it has spoken to both PlayStation and Nintendo regarding future portable gaming devices.
“Those are companies [PlayStation and Nintendo] that are interested in having handheld gaming capabilities. So obviously they would reach out and talk to us,” Alex Katouzian (Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile, Compute and XR) said. “I think they, in general, will reach out to someone like Qualcomm because they know how big we are in Android gaming.”
It’s important to note that Qualcomm did not confirm that it is working with either company on a new handheld, and could have simply offered advice. But with the recent announcement of the Sony Project Q portable and ongoing rumours that a Nintendo Switch successor could arrive in the next few years, it’s certainly plausible that Qualcomm’s gaming-centric processor could power at least one of the upcoming devices.
Back in 2021, Qualcomm launched a processor called the Snapdragon G3x Gen1, which was designed specifically for gaming handhelds. So far, the Razer Edge is the only portable to use that processor, but Qualcomm suggests it’s open to looking for partners who want to use their own ecosystem rather than solely sticking to Android-powered systems.
“A lot of console game companies want these handheld devices. They’re not necessarily high-end graphics capable devices, but they want to keep all those mobile gamers in their own ecosystem. So in that sense, it makes sense for us to try and go after that,” Alex Katouzian said.
“If you look at the handheld gaming dollars that have been generated in the year, it’s bigger than all of the other game segments put together.”
So could Qualcomm really be working with these gaming companies? We’re not convinced for the next Nintendo Switch, especially if Nintendo finally decides to enable 4K support for its next console.
Our benchmark tests show the Snapdragon G3x Gen1 isn’t even more powerful than the latest smartphone chips, let alone fast enough to play video games at a 4K resolution. Qualcomm would have to give its processor a serious performance boost to power a Switch successor, although it’s admittedly not out of the question that it could do so by developing a custom chip for Nintendo.
It’s more likely that Qualcomm is working with Sony on the recently revealed Project Q, as the portable won’t need a powerful native performance since it streams games over a Wi-FI connection instead. Either way, we can only speculate for now – but it’s a move that would make a lot of sense for Qualcomm as it looks to delve deeper into the gaming market.