Qualcomm informs developers that no additional porting will be required to run games on laptops with Snapdragon processors, The Verge reports.

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Qualcomm engineer Issam Khalil said that unannounced laptops will use emulation to run x86/64 games at almost full speed.

These laptops may appear very soon. Qualcomm has confirmed that it will launch systems with Snapdragon X Elite this summer, and unannounced consumer versions of the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 are expected in May with these chips, according to anonymous sources.

Developers have three options for Snapdragon laptops, Khalil explained:

  • They can port their games to ARM64 for better CPU performance and power consumption.
  • They can create a hybrid ARM64EC in which Windows and its Qualcomm libraries and drivers run natively, and the rest of the application is emulated for near-native performance.
  • They don’t have to do anything, and their game should work anyway – with x64 emulation.

And although Qualcomm reports a slight decrease in CPU performance when switching from x64 to ARM64, this only occurs during the first code block translation – “subsequent transitions are direct cache access”.

Qualcomm says it has Adreno GPU drivers for DX11, DX12, Vulkan, and OpenCL, and will support DX9 and up to OpenGL 4.6 through display layers.

But not without drawbacks: games that rely on kernel-level anti-cheat drivers will not work under emulation and will still require modifications from developers.

For now, games that use AVX instruction sets will not work either. Khalil suggests that developers use SIMDe to get a huge advantage in converting them to NEON code. This also applies to ARM64EC.

Although the engineer did not name specific projects or how many games Qualcomm has tested in total, he said that the company is testing all the top games on Steam – and this gives Qualcomm confidence that most of them should work.