Smartphones have evolved from being just communications and multimedia devices into machines that can provide good gaming experiences. ASUS has seen the value in this and has created a device specifically for that purpose. But considering that any smartphone with good hardware can game, is there a reason for the ROG Phone to exist?
Gaming phone, anyone?
The concept of a gaming phone isn’t exactly new. Nokia has been at it with their N-Gage. It took a while for that concept to arrive on Android but currently, we have the Razer Phone, Nubia Red Magic, and the Xiaomi Black Shark. As for the ROG Phone, it’s a milestone for ASUS especially for the Republic of Gamers brand which is known for its gaming laptops, desktops, components, and peripherals. It is a message to the world that they’re also serious about mobile gaming.
ASUS APAC General Manager Rex Lee, and Regional Director, Australia and New Zealand – ASUS Australia Portia Chang, sat down with the members of the Philippine media, to answer questions about the ROG Phone.
It’s been long speculated that ASUS has been working on a gaming-centric smartphone but it was only just recently they unveiled one. The reason behind this is that they want to release a product only if it will make a difference to users and make an impact on the market. It should satisfy and exceed the expectations of users.
They also believe that this year is the right time to release the ROG Phone as the internet penetration is high, the screens are larger, and the components like the processor are more powerful and have better power consumption. According to ASUS, mobile is currently the largest games segment, followed by console, then PC.
Based on the latest Global Games Market Report (April 2018) by global market intelligence firm Newzoo, they forecast that 2.3 billion gamers across the globe will spend $137.9 billion on games in 2018. 51% will be coming from mobile revenues, amounting to $70.3 billion. This means that for the first time, more than half of all game revenues will come from the mobile segment. Compare that to the data in 2012 where mobile only has an 18% share of the total gaming revenue. Newzoo forecasts that mobile gaming will grow into a 100-billion-dollar industry in 2021.
Looking at the data, it seems like the ROG Phone arrived just in time for the party.
The ROG Phone target market
ASUS now has two smartphone lineup – the ZenFone and the ROG Phone. If we look at the lineup, we have the ROG Phone, followed by the ZenFone 5Z, then the ZenFone 5, and the ZenFone Max Pro M1. All of these phones are designed to satisfy a certain demand for mobile gamers.
Mr. Lee explains that the Max Pro M1 is for the mass market or for those who want to game without breaking the bank. The ZenFone 5, is the mid-range offering for those who like to game and yet want good cameras for mobile photography. The ZenFone 5Z is the flagship for those who demand more performance than the 5. The ROG Phone, obviously, sits on top of the gaming food-chain, not to mention that it has the same camera configuration as the 5 so you can expect good camera performance as well.
If you’re that type of user who spends more of his/her time playing video games on your smartphone and wants the best gaming experience possible, then you’re the target market of the ROG Phone.
The principles behind the ROG Phone
ASUS always mentions the gamer’s user experience whenever the ROG Phone is discussed. The company doesn’t believe in just installing the best hardware available, tag it as a gaming phone, then call it a day. For ASUS, it’s also about getting rid of what is unnecessary, which is the most challenging part.
For example, ASUS could have equipped the ROG Phone with a 4K 120Hz display but instead settled with Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. The reason behind this is to make sure the screen doesn’t hog a lot of CPU and battery resources.
Even with its specifications and gaming inclination, ASUS emphasizes that the ROG Phone is still a phone and should have a balance that is beneficial for daily use.
The era of mobile gaming
The most popular gaming platforms right now are PC and Console, but given the proliferation of powerful smartphones and apps with great graphics, Mobile is now a force to reckon with when it comes to gaming.
Given that ASUS now has a ROG-branded smartphone, the company has also confirmed they are planning e-sport events revolving around mobile. Details about the event are yet to be revealed but we can expect mobile e-sport teams to carry the ROG Phone.
ASUS says that they are already working on the next-gen ROG Phone. We asked if they are exploring using the new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform for Augmented Reality (AR) experiences with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. They cannot confirm anything as of the moment, of course, but assured us that we can expect the next ROG Phone to be ahead of the trend and capable of providing users the best mobile gaming experience possible.