What Does Gaming Mode on a Smartphone Actually Do?


Gone are the days that you needed an expensive console or PC to be called a gamer. With time, smartphones have quickly become powerful enough to overtake some of the most powerful computers of yesterday. Because of its accessibility and low barrier to entry, smartphone gaming has taken the world by storm.

For this reason, many smartphone manufacturers have tried to cash in on the lucrative mobile gaming market, especially with the introduction of advanced Gaming Mode settings and features. But, what is smartphone Gaming Mode, and do you really need it?

What Is Gaming Mode?

Gaming Mode is marketed by smartphone manufacturers as a built-in feature that helps optimize your device resources into improving your gaming experience. With Gaming Mode, smartphones are said to prioritize their existing features to supposedly enhance speed and usability, which many gamers want to have the edge over their competitors.

In addition, Gaming Mode also reduces smartphone features that can be distracting, such as popups, notifications, and alarms. So, what specifications change with Gaming Mode on smartphones, and why does it matter?

What Specifications Are Changed With Gaming Mode?

Across mobile phone manufacturers, specifications of Gaming Mode features vary. Here’s a rundown on all the common specs that Gaming Mode is often marketed to optimize upcoming features that make it special in smartphones.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The CPU is the brain of your smartphone, controlling the operating system, touch-screen input, and everything else for good measure.

With Gaming Mode, some smartphones improve touch sensitivity, which is important for making sure you’re attacking the correct target or pressing the correct button. Alternatively, you can also invest in peripherals that are better than touch screens altogether.

Graphics Process Unit (GPU)

Used to render videos, graphics, and of course, games, the GPU rapidly manipulates and alters memory to accelerate the creation of images displayed on a smartphone screen.

Using Gaming Mode, you can experience dynamic frame rates or image quality, depending on your preferred settings or internet speed.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM is your smartphone’s short-term memory, handling all active tasks and apps, including things running in the background while you game.

Through Gaming Mode, some smartphones can clear background apps to free up RAM, which may help boost gaming performance depending on the expected consumption of the closed apps.

Do Not Disturb Features

Any smartphone gamer will tell you that one of the most annoying things that can happen is when a popup covers screen real estate at a critical moment. After all, accidentally clicking a notification can mean everything from a slight inconvenience to losing an important match.

Related: Set Up These Focus Modes to Make the Most of iOS 15

For this reason, Gaming Mode can help users mute popups and block other notifications like reminders or alarms.

Call Settings

During gameplay, calls answered while on Gaming Mode can remain in the background while enabling hands-free calls in some smartphones. Alternatively, users can also auto-reject incoming calls while certain games are ongoing. With this, you can quickly send unimportant callers to voice mail and make sure you’re ready to pick up when a sudden urgent call from your boss pops up.

Screen and Sound Preferences

In some smartphones, Gaming Mode lets you change individual screen and sound settings for different games. For example, if you primarily play games when you’re at home alone, you can set your device to be as loud and immersive as possible for a certain game. Alternatively, you can also enable auto-brightness and ensure your screen is always adjusted to enjoy the experience fully.

Network Connectivity

One of the most annoying things about online gaming is when you experience a lag. After all, in some games, you only need to be a second late to lose. While there’s no substitute for fast internet, Gaming Mode helps disable internet connectivity for unused apps to avoid high ping issues while gaming.

Person Playing on Smartphone Device

Picture-in-Picture Options

These days, some games can be a grind. Aside from having bot mode features, smartphone manufacturers like Vivo even have picture-in-picture settings wherein you can slide downward with three fingers or tap “Multiple tasks” in the slide-up control center to reveal apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Viber, Line in a floating window.

Screen Recording

With the rise of streaming and content creation, many gamers also work to share their games instead of just playing by themselves. Knowing this, many smartphone manufacturers have included features to record games while on Gaming Mode easily. In particular, professional gamers also benefit from being able to watch and analyze themselves and their competitors.

Streamer Equipment

Do Smartphone Gamers Really Need Gaming Mode?

As for improved specifications, most smartphone gaming apps don’t require an insane amount of processing power to work. This is because smartphone app developers try to find a way to release games for the largest market and in the most accessible way possible.

Currently, it’s likely that Gaming Mode doesn’t actually significantly impact your playing experience, more than the already existing specs of your mobile device and internet connection. However, only time will tell if smartphone manufacturers can do more to make Gaming Mode more effective at what it promises.

However, what makes Gaming Mode useful is simply the ease with which its features are used, especially specialized Do Not Disturb functions. Additionally, professional gamers who play to produce content through streaming or other channels can also benefit from the various settings that can make their job easier.

Is Smartphone Gaming Mode Just a Gimmick?

Knowing all this, many users will be quick to raise an eyebrow regarding its usefulness. After all, many of Gaming Mode’s features aren’t entirely novel, especially because it cannot change your device’s overall processing power.

With the introduction of automatic hands-free calls, picture-in-picture options, and notification barring, the clear benefit for Gaming Mode comes from creating space for gamers to focus and live in the moment. So, while it may be considered a gimmick, it does have its fair share of perks.

While one can argue that gamers don’t need Gaming Mode to succeed in the smartphone gaming world, the same can be said about a character’s looks or skin color in-game. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter, but if it helps you win, what’s there to lose?

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