The Samsung Galaxy S4 packs some serious punch under the hood, giving it a competitive edge in the smartphone world and also opening it up to a whole new world of advanced games. Still, it’s a long ways from catching up with the power of home console right? John Gaudiosi of Forbes doesn’t seem to think so.

In a recent article on Forbes, Gaudiosi says that upcoming advanced processors and GPUs are narrowing the gap between current generation gaming systems and mobile devices.  The article also emphasized how many of these modern mobile devices can even bring their games to your big-screen TV. Another important focus for Gaudiosi is Samsung’s gaming controller accessory for the Galaxy S4, since it shows that Samsung is clearly taking an interest in pushing the gaming aspects of its newest flagship.

Beyond the controller, Samsung is also working to bring as many as 80 games out that support the controller by the time the Galaxy S4 launches, and it seems the accessory will even work with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

So I’ll bite. The gaming controller does look interesting, and the specs found the Galaxy S4 means it can easily play some of the most advanced mobile games out there, but does that really mean it can hold a candle to a home game console? Hell no.

It’s the games, stupid.

A shiny new controller, check. Awesome specs, check. Bleeding-edge hardcore games and exclusives, hmm.

Most of the games that are being shown off as compatible with the Samsung Game Pad aren’t exactly console-worthy. This includes titles like Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, EA’s Real Racing 3, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Planets vs. Zombies. Don’t get me wrong, not bad games, just not the same as what you get with a home console.

Recently there has been games that have certainly pushed the envelope when it comes to graphics, gameplay and even storyline. That said, they still don’t really compete with traditional gaming consoles or even mobile devices.

There are probably several reasons for that, but I’ll give you just two: pricing and storage.

How many of you would throw a fit if a mobile game had a price tag of even $35? I’m betting that the majority of Android gamers would, though there are probably a few exceptions to that. Console games are expensive projects that cost millions upon millions. You need to be able to recoup the costs, and selling a game for sub-$10 pricing makes that a bit difficult I’d wager.

The second reason why console gaming is still better than mobile gaming has to do with storage. Today’s modern console games generally run off of discs, though part of their information is stored on the console’s HDD in order to speed up loading times and whatnot.

If a developer was to make a console quality game with tons of cut-scenes, bleeding edge graphics and everything you’d expect out of a PS3 or Xbox 360 title, it would probably take up the entire storage space of an average smartphone with just one game.


Lot’s of potential, just not there yet.

You might think I’m hating on mobile gaming, but I’m not. I love me a good casual game like Angry Birds, and have even enjoyed a few ‘hardcore’ mobile titles including Wild Blood and Dead Trigger. In fact, I haven’t used my Playstation Portable or Nintendo DS in years.

The point is that there are still too many technical, fiscal and even perceptual barriers that still hold true console-like gaming back on the Galaxy S4 and other high-end mobile devices. It also doesn’t help the mobile gaming industry that the console gaming world is about to jump up in power significantly with the upcoming Sony Playstation 4 and next Xbox.

Bottom-line, devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 can and will compete against traditional gaming handhelds. They will also possibly eat-up a least a little of the casual market and even win over gamers that don’t regularly play hardcore games enough to spend big bucks on a home console. Mobile devices don’t however pose any immediate threat to the Sony Playstation 4 or next Xbox’s main target: typical hardcore gamers. At least not yet.

The potential is there, the tech is constantly evolving. Companies clearly see that a storm is coming and even if they aren’t totally worried, they are preparing for it, as evidenced by the fact that the Nintendo Wii U utilizes a touchscreen controller and the upcoming Playstation 4 has a touchpad.

What do you think, does the Samsung Galaxy S4, Nvidia Project Shield and other Android gaming devices pose a serious threat to traditional gaming consoles or not?

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
  • Faiz

    It seems like you’re making this article because you have to. It’s a no-brainer that mobile games can’t compete with something like the PS4. Maybe as a time-waster, like when you’re waiting for the bus.

  • raindog469

    I look forward to what the Android gaming ecosystem (not just the S4, but tablets, the Ouya, the Gamestick, the Shield, and whatever other new devices keep appearing) will produce in the next few years. No, it won’t supplant the PS4, the next Xbox, or probably even the Wii U… at first.

    Here’s the thing, though: My girl’s Galaxy S2 has a faster processor and more RAM than the server we run our Google Reader replacement on, and that’s 18 months old. Even my over-2-year-old Galaxy S has more RAM. The S4 runs rings around any PC we have. Granted, we have no gaming PC, but then again, neither do most PC users. It also runs rings around the Xbox 360, which we do have, and most likely the Wii U as well.

    So, sure, the next Microsoft and Sony consoles will be more powerful than the S4. What about the S5, which will inevitably appear next year? Certainly last year I would have laughed at the idea of an 8-core, 1080p handset with a killer GPU being available in March 2013, and from the most mainstream phone manufacturer at that. I would have laughed it off as a hoax. What about 3 years from now, when the next gen consoles are hitting their stride? They’ve always been less powerful than PCs, but how long will it take for our phones to be more powerful than our consoles?

    I think it’ll be a lot less than the typical 7-year console cycle, that’s for sure.

    As for the other issues, like price points, exclusivity, and games that are actually deep? That’s a little murkier. But maybe the predominance of free or 99 cent games with maybe an hour of gameplay means that we’ll get AAA games for 5 or 10 bucks… in episodic form. So we end up paying 50 bucks for 50-100 hours of gameplay, just as we do on consoles now, but we get them 5-10 hours at a time, spaced out a month or two apart. The bonus for the developers (and publishers, as long as they continue to exist in the age of Google Play and the App Store) is that if your game is a hit, you’ll engage your customers for up to a year, not just the weekend to a month that it takes to play a big title now.

    Whether they can pull that off remains to be seen, but it’s far from impossible. It seems a much more likely source of disruption for the industry than — for example — Linux-based Steam boxes for $1000, and I say that while posting from my Ubuntu laptop.

  • inspire

    it’s a SHAME to even compare this “plastic thing” with PS4 for gaming.
    and you have titled “compete”! A big LOL!

    • fresh_TD

      “Plastic thing”?? is the same material used for the PS4…lol

  • I’m sick of in-app purchases…. biggest scam ever.

  • vampyren

    Is this article even worth the time you spend writting it? Seriously this Gaudiosi must be a moron to even suggest something as silly as this. Please next time write something worth reading!

  • Jaime Larios

    Actually, the conclusions from Gaudiosi have to be taken in the correct sense. He is referring that mobile gaming can surpass or even kill console gaming. Is not about the quality of the games but how the market has been shifting towards mobile gaming. It’s something a lot of experts have been talking about lately. This (ps4 and Nextxbox) can be the last with a dedicated machine for gaming.

    • Andrew Grush

      Good point. I still just don’t see it happening — not yet. There are too many dedicated hardcore gamers out there that expect ‘more’. Could that eventually change? Sure it could.

    • they are wrong. same thing was said for PC gaming long time ago. it may outgrow dedicated gaming platforms but it wont be the end of them. some people just want to play high quality games on high quality gaming machines

  • If Samsung were to ever make a gaming console and get developers on board, watch out. Next stop world domination.

  • jt

    I just read this for a good laugh. Really? ? A ps4 vs. A phone?

  • Lara

    Ps3/ps4 > smartphone games > Xbox crap. Always.
    Enough said :)