Gaming turned out to be quite a big part at the I/O keynote yesterday, with Android TV set to offer up some fun games to play in your living room. We’ve slowly been seeing the graphical capabilities of our smartphones and tablets creep up over the past year or so, and if the latest tech demo from Nvidia and Epic Games is anything to go by, we could soon be reaching console level detail.

The tech demo above was played at the I/O keynote, and is designed to show off the sort of graphics capabilities that we can expect from Android L and the next generation of GPU hardware heading to Android. The presentation was built in the Unreal Engine 4, the successor to the hugely popular Unreal Engine 3 which powered a large number of console games last generation, and was rendered on Nvidia’s upcoming Tegra K1 SoC.

This was achieved partly due to Android L’s support for OpenGL ES 3.1 and Google’s new Android Extension Pack, which provides additional features, such as tessellation, shaders, and texture compression. Support for fancy graphics API’s is going to play an important role in achieving next-gen looking graphics on mobile devices.

For a quick reminder, Nvidia’s Tegra K1 is based on the same Kepler architecture as Nvidia’s high end desktop PC graphics cards, scaled down into a power envelope more suitable for mobile products. The GPU in Tegra K1 comes with 192 CUDA cores, 4 ROPs (render output units), and 8 texture units. For comparison, the high end GTX 680 desktop card comes with 1536 CUDA Cores, 128 Texture Units, and 32 ROPs.

What this means, is that Android devices making use of such a chip can run the same game engines as current consoles and PC’s, as shown in this demo, but with the graphical effects toned down to meet the slightly more limited hardware. With a 64-bit version of the Tegra K1 expected to arrive at roughly the same time as Android L, we could start seeing some higher quality games arrive on Android in the future.

We are expecting the 32-bit Tegra K1 to land sometime soon, possibly in the Xiaomi MiPad, with the 64-bit version to follow towards the end of the year. Are you looking forward to playing some next-gen games on Android?

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer covering SoCs, displays, cameras, and everything in between. In his spare moments you'll find him building audio gadgets.