Apple Answers of All Our iPhone 15 Pro Questions: ‘It’s Going to be the Best Game Console’ – IGN

Apple Answers of All Our iPhone 15 Pro Questions: ‘It’s Going to be the Best Game Console’ – IGN

Apple finally announced the iPhone 15 earlier this week, and pre-orders are now live. Alongside introducing a USB-C charging port, the tech giant has been vocal about the new and exclusive features coming to its iPhone 15 Pro line.

Powered by the A17 Pro chip that includes a 6-core GPU, Apple says the iPhone 15 Pro’s processor will have the fastest performance of any smartphone currently on the market and will deliver support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing. In an effort to show consumers it is all in on gaming, Apple announced at its recent keynote that four AAA games, including Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage, are getting native versions exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro.

These aren’t watered-down ports or cloud gaming versions of the game, either. They are native versions of big-budgeted games running on an iPhone 15 Pro.

IGN had the opportunity to sit down and interview several members behind the development of the iPhone 15 Pro. Specifically, the interview dives into Apple’s gaming ambitions for the iPhone 15 Pro and why the tech giant believes “it’s going to be the best game console.”

Check out the full interview below and for more on iPhone 15 Pro, check out our first impressions on the device ahead of its September 22 release date.

‘I think they say the best game console is the one you have with you.’

I saw one of the websites. Maybe it was MacRumors, but they confirmed that all iPhone 15 models would support a display port for up to 4K HDR video output to an external display. Would iPhone 15 Pro owners be able to play Resident Evil 4, for example, on these external monitors?

Jeremy Sandmel, Apple’s Senior Director of GPU Software: As you probably know, there’s the display resolution and then there’s the gaming resolution, and then the frame rates, the game rendering. With technologies like MetalFX’s upscaling, we can sort of separate those two things. The game can run at really high frame rates, get really great quality results, and then upscale whatever resolution the display, whether that’s the iPhone display, whether that’s an external display. So yes, the iPhone can connect to these 4K displays, and it can drive them externally doing whatever you do on the phone, including gaming to these other displays. The resolution and frame rate are going to highly depend on what the game’s actually doing.

Tim Millet, Apple’s VP of Platform Architecture: The building blocks are there. We can enable applications to enable those experiences, and then the developer’s job is, of course, to try to take those tools, piece them together and build an experience for you, the gamer, so that it all comes together. But we work closely with them to try to make sure they can affect the experience that they’re trying to achieve.

Is there a possibility of the iPhone 15 Pro overheating when it’s running more graphic-intensive games or more complex games? Death Stranding for example, is pretty intensive. There’s a lot of stuff going on, there’s a lot of detail. Was there any focus testing or anything like that to ensure the iPhone 15 Pro wasn’t going to overheat?
Kaiann Drance, Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing: Certainly, this is part of the benefit of us designing for a specific iPhone model. So at a system level, we’re able to work across teams to understand how the performance that we’re enabling, how it’s going to manifest in the actual gameplay, and whether we are going to be able to not only hit those wonderful frame rates and peak performance and graphics that Jeremy talked about, but also whether we’re going to be able to sustain them. I know that we do a lot on the SoC side, we do a lot on the software side to make sure that this is enabled to be a great experience.
TM: Yeah, I’ll jump in, and then Jeremy can back me up if I get something wrong. But Kaiann’s point is developers who want to put an exciting new title on the platform. Again, we give them this great toolbox. They could in theory take this amazing GPU and try to burn a hole through the back of the phone. We wouldn’t let that happen, but they could definitely do something that was probably not optimal for the experience. But we give them tools like MetalFX that allow them to really burst up in maintaining an experience for a lot longer if they want to. And they can dial that in and out, depending on the experience that they want to go deliver. But it’s all about giving them the tools to build that sustainable experience. And it starts with a super efficient and performant SoC, GPU and the associated software that runs with it.

They could in theory take this amazing GPU and try to burn a hole through the back of the phone.

So MetalFX is really taking the “work smarter, not harder” sort of approach.

TM: Yeah. I think MetalFX is an example of it, but we’re doing it all over the system. The display itself has a really amazing scaling technology built in. The GPU can do scaling. So with features like ray tracing and mesh shading and this really advanced compute architecture, the developer has access to all of these algorithms to figure out what’s the best balance of compute and quality and performance and frame rate and resolution. And then we bring it all together in the software and at the system level. We make sure that there is a sustainable, high performance, long battery life, comfortable to hold experience for somebody to play these amazing games. So we designed the whole thing to make the gaming experience great, including making sure the performance and battery life is sustainable. We believe we have succeeded in doing that.

There’s a lot of emphasis on Apple Silicon, especially as Apple starts to lean in more on the gaming side. I just want to just double-check, the games that were announced for the iPhone 15 Pro, are they also compatible with Apple Silicon iPads and Macs as well?

TM: The developers are going to work with us to do it.

JS: Well, I was going to say two things. One, we don’t want to speak for the developers here, we’ll let them sort of talk to their plans, but I would say Capcom brought out Resident Evil Village last year for Mac and now for the phone this year. And one of the things that fundamentally enabled that is this unification of the architecture of Apple Silicon and the iPhone Silicon and the iPad Silicon. And so you can see that they’re able to do exactly what you just suggested, which is bring a game to iPhone and Mac that is the same game. It’s the same rendering, it’s the same rendering quality and it’s the same game they had on a gaming PC and a console.

So we really look at these many generations of SoC architecture across the phone, across the iPad, across now, Apple Silicon Macs. And we’d see that as part of one big unified platform, a graphics and gaming platform in particular. So that’s the opportunity here for these game developers. And you can see like a Capcom and Resident Evil have already started down that path. So I think we’re really excited about what this enables for many more game developers to do the same.

So I know that they announced touchscreen support for at least Resident Evil 4 Village, but does Apple recommend that you use a third-party controller, whether it’s a DualSense or the Backbone or any controller similar to that? Or is that the more definitive way to play these games on the iPhone 15 Pro?
KD: Well, we’re mostly allowing that to be both; one, user choice, but also developers in terms of what they view as the best game experience. Obviously, certain types of gameplay work fine and great with onscreen controllers. Some of them want an option so that you have the gameplay in an external controller, and as you probably saw yourself, we showcase the Backbone controller, it works with the iPhone 15 Pro and it’s a great experience. There are other controllers, and Bluetooth controllers as well, but we are not saying, “gamers, you have to do this or that.” It’s really about having this great ecosystem for iPhone that you can do so many great things on the device if that’s what you would want to do. But there are all these other options to amplify the gameplay if that’s how you prefer to play.

JS: You probably saw this summer, [Hideo Kojima] announcing that Death Stranding is coming to the Mac and then now bringing this to the phone. And that’s a beautiful game as you’ve seen, and some developers like Kojima, they really want to see every pixel on the screen and the gameplay is designed to run a controller and they can do that on the Mac and the phone with the same game. Or if they want to bring really great touch support, we have a bunch of software programming APIs and support for them to do that. So as Kaiann said, this is really about the game developer creating the right experience for the game player. We have all the tools and technology and support for them to do that. And we’re really excited to see, several of them already have and we’re looking forward to more.

iPhone 15 Pro – First Look

So just thinking about the iPhone 15 Pro and all of the potential and all the tools you guys are giving to developers, and you’re saying that it’s delivering a console gaming experience. If we’re thinking about the current gaming consoles on the market right now, where would you say the iPhone 15 Pro stacks console-wise? Would you say it’s closer in line to the Xbox Series X, a Series S, or a PlayStation 5? Where would you put it on the totem pole, so to speak?

TM: I mean, I will give you my quick answer, and that is that I think we’re focused on the developers and the titles in the games. Less on trying to compete with consoles. I think console is just a convenient way for us to talk about the classic games and the types of games that the developers that we’re targeting, the ones who have been successful in deploying there. We’ve done our best to try to deliver that same toolbox to the developers and we’re working hard with them.

KD: It is like the everything you love and depend on, your device, your phototaking, your memory capturing, and now it’s a powerhouse game console, but one that is in your pocket that you can take anywhere, game over different wireless networks, game on different titles, different ways that you get. I mean, it’s remarkable how it all comes together. And so it’s like, Tim said, it’s about those experiences and we’re excited to have those titles and we’re going to see more coming too.

JS: I think they say the best game console is the one you have with you.

KD: Yeah. That’s the new catch.

JS: It’s going to be the best game console.

Taylor is a Reporter at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login