At its developer conference on Monday, Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) unveiled a software developer kit (SDK) that could soon make the Korean tech giant a major force in the world of video gaming. If developers take advantage, gamers will soon be able to play their mobile games on the big screen.
Will a Galaxy device replace your video game console?
Although mobile gaming -- video games played on tablets and smartphones -- has exploded in popularity in recent years, it hasn't had much of an impact on traditional video game consoles. But if Samsung is successful, that could soon change.
With Samsung's new SDK, gamers will be able to beam their mobile games from their Samsung smartphones and tablets to their TV's screen. This functionality, paired with Samsung's own gamepad, would allow mobile games to offer a console-like experience. Gamers would need a supported TV, the controller, and a Samsung mobile device to pull it off, but in time it could be a force in the living room.
There are many advantages to mobile gaming. When not playing on the big screen, gamers could take their Samsung tablets or smartphones with them, playing their games on the fly. Those games would likely cost far less -- owing partially to their digital distribution, mobile games are generally much cheaper than their console counterparts.
But perhaps the biggest advantage would be the rapid speed of hardware advancement. Although Samsung's current devices may not offer the same processing power as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, Samsung updates its hardware every few months -- in contrast, video game consoles are only refreshed every 5-7 years. Samsung's current flagship is several times more powerful than its original Galaxy S, and the two devices were released less than three years apart. Future Samsung mobile devices should be far more powerful than the current crop of consoles.
NVIDIA thinks mobile gaming has a big future
If those future Samsung devices do outpower their console competitors, it may be because of NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA). The chipmaker has long been a force in PC gaming, but recently, NVIDIA has set its sights on mobile.
Earlier this year, NVIDIA demonstrated Project Logan, an upcoming mobile chip capable of providing more graphical output than the PlayStation 3, while consuming less power than the chip used in the iPad 4. On its website, NVIDIA suggests that Project Logan could be available next year.
But it isn't just chips: NVIDIA released its own portable console, Shield, earlier this summer. While the press characterized the device as somewhat of a curiosity, NVIDIA has stood by its product, telling Forbes that the company believes that mobile gaming will be "huge" and that NVIDIA is "investing heavily" in the sector.
Google reportedly planning upcoming video game console of its own
Of course, neither the Shield nor Samsung's Galaxy line up would be possible if it wasn't for Google. Android, Google's mobile operating system, powers all of those devices, and Google's app store continues to serve as the primary distribution platform for Android games.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has its own Android-based console in the works. This isn't too surprising -- earlier this year, at Google's developer conference, it emphasized gaming, unveiling a number of gaming-focused improvements to Android.
Gaming might seem insignificant, but it isn't. According to research firm Flurry, of the time people spend on mobile devices, more than 40% is spent playing games. Given that it's such a popular activity, the long-term success of Google's mobile operating system could come down to gaming.
Android gaming comes to the living room
Although mobile gaming is incredibly popular, it's existed largely apart from the market for traditional consoles. To date, mobile gaming has been beset by a number of limitations, including small screens, touch controls, and limited power.
But Samsung, NVIDIA and Google are working to solve those problems. To Samsung, it's more customers for its Galaxy devices; for NVIDIA, its more demand for its chips; to Google, it's a stronger Android ecosystem. But for gamers, it's the future.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google and NVIDIA. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.