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The Galaxy Note 7's not-so-secret gaming superpower

Samsung's new toy supports the Vulkan API for boosted graphics, and comes with a handful of Vulkan-ready games, including Need for Speed No Limits and Hit.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read
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Those shelling out for Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7 will be treated to a "Game Pack" bundle of mobile goodies, including several that will make use of the phone's support for Vulkan API, software that promises to soup up your game's graphics and playing performance.

Visually intense slasher Hit is one of those Game Pack titles -- another is Need for Speed No Limits. Both support the Vulkan API, an emerging gaming technology that Samsung earlier this year baked into its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones, and yesterday confirmed is also present on its new Note 7 mobile.

Developed by a consortium called Khronos Group, Vulkan offers an updated way for games to to crunch information -- one that's more adept at dealing with the multiple cores offered on most mobile processors, and ultimately spits out better looking games. That concept of digging deeper into what modern phone chips can offer is a similar tack to that taken by Apple, which two years ago debuted Metal, the company's own-brand graphical standard.

The Vulkan API isn't unique to Samsung phones, although the South Korean phone-maker has been perhaps the technology's biggest cheerleader so far. Earlier this year at Google's developer conference, the search giant confirmed it would be making Vulkan support a feature of Andr​oid Nougat, the next version of its mobile software. The API can also be found on SteamOS, which is the operating system made by PC gaming bigwigs Valve. That cross-platform prowess could prove to be one of Vulkan's potential superpowers -- it may make it easier for developers to bring games developed on non-phone platforms to Vulkan-capable mobiles.

The Vulkan API is a long way from changing the face of gaming, but with mobile hardware getting more powerful all the time, the gaming industry will be looking for the tools to exploit that tech to the fullest. Stay tuned, gamers.