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Samsung wants to be “actively involved” in ray-tracing on mobile

Mobile gaming is due an upgrade and Samsung want to be the company responsible for putting the power of the digital sun in the palm of our hands

Samsung actively involved in ray-tracing on mobile: The Samsong Galaxy S23 Ultra in grey on a mango background.

We’re on the ground at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, so, as expected, we’re talking Samsung. Its newest smartphone, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, hit the shelves earlier this month carrying a specially optimised Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a chip that can do hardware-based ray-tracing. This might seem like a far-flung proposition, given mobile games aren’t exactly known for their visuals when compared to console or PC gaming, but it is apparently possible.

Ray-tracing is a technique used for rendering light and shadows in videogames. It tracks and simulates every ray of light coming from a light source to create stunning lighting effects on things like water and mirrors. But for that kind of tracking, you need a pretty beefy setup to even get it to work, let alone play a full game using ray-tracing. 

Ray-tracing isn’t just hard to do, it’s hard to do while maintaining other things like frame rate. Try and launch Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K 60fps with ray-tracing on with anything other than a rocket ship and, well, you’re gonna have a bad time

Wonjoon Choi, EVP, Head of Mobile R&D at Samsung, is very aware of the hardware limitations of ray-tracing, but wants Samsung to lead the charge in making ray-tracing in mobile games a reality. In our interview with him, he said, “we don’t plan to sit idle and just look at the situation passively. We want to be actively involved and that is why we have already begun cooperation with a couple of game developers.

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“We are providing them with optimisation assistance in developing their games, so once this work has matured you will be able to actually see the games with ray tracing on the market.” We’re a little sceptical of how long it will actually take before we see a mobile game that’s able to incorporate ray-tracing without crashing or overheating your phone, but it’s interesting to know that it’s being worked on.

Samsung actively involved in ray-tracing on mobile: A promotional image of someone playing a racing game on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Behind them is a white table with a remote control car track on it.

We’ll bring you more from our chat with Wonjoon Choi later in the week, but we’re still on the ground at MWC 2023 in Barcelona bringing you all the latest news. Beyond the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, we’ll bring you hands-on with the latest tech and all the fresh announcements. For more, check out our guide to the best gaming phones or the best portable gaming console for some more on-the-go action.