Google Working on a Game Device Certification Program for Gaming Smartphones

Oct 7
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Love it or hate it, mobile gaming is here to stay and it's only getting larger by the year. As a direct result of the mobile gaming fad, a lot of companies have been advertising (and selling) 'gaming' smartphones. We can expect to see a lot more of them get released across all price points in the coming years, given the popularity of games such as PUBG Mobile. To make sure that a device capable of bearing the gaming smartphone tag, Google is reportedly coming up with an elaborate certification program that'll hold devices marketed as such to specific standards.

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The above image (via XDA Developers) shows us a list of requirements that gaming smartphones need to fulfill to be classified as such. It is more of a guideline instructing developers on how to program their smartphones for optimal gaming experiences. GMS stands for Google Mobile services and GDS for Gaming Device Certification.

Google says certified devices must “provide a modern, up-to-date high-performance GPU and display APIs, and enable reasonable frame introspection.” Additionally, certified gaming devices must support version 1.1 of the Vulkan Graphics API, pass the latest OpenGL ES/Vulkan graphics conformance tests provided by Khronos. Lastly, Google wants OEMs/ODMs to ensure that gaming devices allow apps to allocate at least 2.3GB of memory before they’re killed by the system. The last parameter will make it tricky for devices with limited processing power to get certified.

Will a Game Device Certification Program make any change in the gaming smartphone market?

The short answer is, yes. Once the game device certification program is officially unveiled, OEMs will have to go the extra mile to ensure that their devices are up to the task. Until now, just about everyone could put together a phone with a Qualcomm 8 series SoC, 8GB of RAM, some gamer-y aesthetics, and call it a gaming smartphone. It is better if all devices marketed that way be held to certain standards to provide an optimal gaming experience for the end-user. At the very least, it'll prevent garden variety hucksters from slapping together random hardware and selling it as a gaming smartphone.

We can go on about how mobile gaming is not really gaming and that the platform is little more than a predatory cash grab aimed at people with large wallets and poor impulse control, but that's a topic for another day. The Game Device Certification program, when live, should retroactively cover most existing products on the market if they adhere to its regulations.

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