EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has promised that the game industry is looking to embrace mobile, claiming that the “next wave of tablets and phones will have nearly Xbox 360 or PS3 capabilities in terms of graphics.”
Speaking in an interview with IGN Gibeau said “Some of our engine technology that used to be console-specific now can, with modifications, be able to power games on tablets and on phones in the near future. We’re just getting ready for that.”
Of course, there will never be an easy transition, and Gibeau stressed that there was considerable work ahead of mobile was to ever challenge console gaming.
“You have to redesign the game,” said Gibeau. “You can’t just bring it over and have a virtual D-pad on the tablet. It doesn’t work. You have to re-architect it around touch, voice, camera.”
“Our teams are having a lot of fun with that, reimagining an experience on a tablet using the same graphics and assets in some ways, but completely remixing the meal. Same ingredients, completely different meal. That’s kind of the way we think about it.”
Gibeau’s comments tie in with news that EA DICE’s Frostbite Engine (that powers games such as Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed) has been expanded to include Frostbite Go - "a mobile division empowering EA game developers with Frostbite's proven excellent workflows and features to bring true Frostbite experiences to all major mobile platforms."
Frostbite Go will not be the first high-profile games engine to make the transition to mobile, with the other notable example being Epic Games' Unreal Engine which now powers graphically-impressive titles such as Infinity Blade II for iOS devices.
Despite this, it should be noted that Gibeau expressly refers to the "next wave" of mobile devices. Clever design and well thought-out games engines may squeeze more and more out of current tablets and smartphones, but these devices will always be limited by processor speed and a lack of dedicated GPUs.