At the Consumer Electronics Show 2013, Nvidia Corp. announced project Shield, a gaming portable device for open platforms, designed to run titles for Google Android and stream video games originally developed for personal computers. Nvidia Shield console comes in a clamshell form-factor and provides two – touch-screen or game-pad – ways of controlling titles.
As a pure Android device, Nvidia Shield gives access to any game on Google Play. And as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its Steam game library from anywhere in the home. Nvidia Shield is based on Nvidia Tegra 4 system-on-chip (four ARM Cortex-A15 cores, Nvidia GeForce graphics adapter with 72 stream processors), is equipped with a 5” capacitive touch-screen with 1280*720 resolution (294ppi) and features 802.11n Wi-Fi technology with 2*2 MIMO antennas to stream PC games. Project Shield's ergonomic controller was built for the gamer who wants ultimate control and precision. The portable device also has integrated high-quality speakers.
“Project Shield was created by Nvidia engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play. We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love Shield as much as we do,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer at Nvidia.
In many ways, Nvidia’s project Shield is an experiment for the company, which wants to expand its business beyond traditional PCs and smartphones/tablets. Shield will make select PC games more mobile than they are today, but only within one’s home and with a number of constraints, including small size screen and low resolution. Presently, Shield is primarily a game console with Android operating system and some additional capabilities.
Nonetheless, as technologies become more advanced, future generations of Shield should enable gamers to play their PC titles wherever they are, not just in their homes. That will in many ways be a revolution as it was never before possible to play advanced titles without a powerful PC. Clearly, future Nvidia Shield-like devices will be able to compete against portable game consoles from Nintendo and Sony. Game developers seem to like the idea of playing PC games on a portable device via streaming.
"Ubisoft is always excited about new hardware developments, and project Shield promises to bring both mobile and PC gamers a great new gaming experience. Seeing the PC version of Assassin's Creed III run on the device is a great example of this, and further strengthens Ubisoft's long-standing relationship with Nvidia," said Yves Guillemot, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ubisoft.
"With Project Shield, Nvidia brings an uncompromising, high-performance console experience to mobile devices. Amazing games including Real Boxing and Hawken, which utilize the latest Unreal Engine technology, look fantastic on Project Shield. This is just the beginning, and we're truly excited to see what more Unreal Engine developers will do with so much horsepower in such a compact gaming device," said Mark Rein, vice president and co-founder of Epic Games.
Pricing and availability date for Nvidia project Shield game devices was not revealed at CES.