As Android’s gaming prowess (or at lest the hardware it requires) becomes more and more evident, Qualcomm has decided they want to highlight the potential of their Snapdragon series of mobile processors. To that end, they’ve announced Snapdragon GamesCommand, a showcase app filled with “console-quality” and casual games exclusively for Snapdragon devices. Like Nvidia’s Tegra Zone, at least some of the games in GamesCommand will not appear anywhere else – those with other hardware are out of luck.
The company is also revamping their Snapdragon GamePack, adding three games to the mix: The Ball, Fight Game Heroes and GALAGA Special edition, all expected by early 2012. These high-profile titles join more than 100 games already available in the GamePack, and will be the first of a new crop designed to shop off the graphical prowess of the latest generation of Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm did not give exact dates on availability of the expanded GamePack or GamesCommand.
The latest hardware-contingent game store is an interesting divergence from the idea that the Android Market is the best place to showcase Android software. The hardware split might remind you of ATI/AMD and Nvidia duking it out over desktop graphics cards, but in truth, it’s a lot more like the console gaming market. In order to get access to all the latest high-end games, Android users may have to purchase multiple high-end devices, or more likely, simply go without. The precedent is a disturbing one – I’d much rather have developers create games that can run across different types of hardware. It looks like your next tablet purchase might be a tricky one, since you’ll have to consider not just how fast it will run software, but which software it will run.