Apple makes new gaming push with introduction of Game Mode on iPhone

Tech giant hopes new feature, previously added to macOS, will allow for better smartphone gaming experience

Game Mode as been available on macOS and will be added to iPhones during the next update. Photo: Apple
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Apple has announced that Game Mode will be added to iOS devices during its next update, underlining the tech giant's desire to compete in the smartphone gaming market.

The feature, when switched on, is designed to allow iPhones to maximise frame rates and minimise background activity, resulting in a smoother and faster gaming experience.

Apple announced the move during its WWDC 2024 event on Monday. It is part of the company's wider push into the gaming arena. High-fidelity games such as Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Resident Evil Village are now playable on the iPhone and more games are set to be playable on Apple's devices.

Due to higher graphical standards (better picture fidelity which require serious computing power), these popular titles are usually played on gaming consoles. However, the introduction of Game Mode makes them easier to play on other devices, such as phones or laptops, without compromising the experience.

In April this year, the tech company teased the future of Apple gaming, revealing that its M chip – Apple first released its in-house chips in 2020, to reduce its reliance on external makers – would make its devices more attractive to gamers. At the time, Stephen Tonna, operating systems product marketing manager at the tech giant, told The National: “We're seeing more and more games coming to the Mac, especially the high-performance, triple-A titles.”

The latest development is Apple's attempt to bridge the gap between PC gaming and mobile, two areas it has shown great interest in growing and improving. The quality of mobile games has grown exponentially since the first iPhone was released in 2007. What was previously simple and low effort has evolved into elaborate and complex.

Mobile gaming remains the industry's strongest and most lucrative segment, with consumer spend hitting an estimated $108 billion in 2023, according to a report from market intelligence platform

Mario Perez, chief executive of regional esports pioneer MENATech Entertainment, told The National: “Mobile gaming is going to be a need. It is the biggest way of gaming that there is. Almost everyone has a mobile phone.

“Targeting that audience, even if it's just casual gaming and being able to monetise through that audience, is huge.”

Apple has made its mobile gaming experience more curated and streamlined through its Apple Arcade service, which it introduced in September 2019. The subscription service allows access to hundreds of games which the company has hand-picked, allowing for an ad-free experience.

The library on Arcade is updated monthly with new games, giving users a chance to try new experiences. Apple has also produced appendages and controllers to enhance the mobile gaming experience.

Arcade can be enjoyed on other Apple devices, such as the Vision Pro VR headset. It gives users a more enhanced experience of some games, some of which can be played in 360 degrees vision.

The Vision Pro does need to be connected to another Apple device though, so as they become more gaming capable, the gaming experience is expected to improve.

These moves and more will make Apple devices serious contenders in the different areas of gaming. From mobile to PC, through VR, the tech giant hopes to carve a big cut of the pie for itself.

Updated: June 11, 2024, 2:07 PM