Nvidia’s Answer To Handheld Android Gaming – Project Shield

assassins-creed3_on_project_shield

It’s pretty much impossible that you’ve not come across this yet. Ever since Nvidia announced it this morning (GMT!),  just about every tech site (and even BBC news) have run an article about it. But what the hell, let’s ramble on about it for a bit anyway.

Out of the blue comes this monstrosity of a handheld from Nvidia, announced yesterday at CES. Sporting their upcoming Tegra 4 SoC, which they claim is the most powerful mobile processor in the world (we’ve not heard that one before, have we?) this be-all-and-end-all portable Android handheld is due to arrive in Q2 of this year. The machine sports a 5″ 720p display which folds out from the controller in a sort of clam shell type way, which is all well and good except that it looks like a device resurrected from 2001. Honestly, I cannot imagine what the design team were thinking. Aside from the poor visual aesthetic, I can’t imagine that tapping away on a touchscreen attached to a hinge will prove to be a very satisfying experience.

So what does it do? Well aside from the obvious Android gaming and emulators, Nvidia is working with Steam to allow PCs with certain Nvidia GTX GPUs to stream PC games live and direct to your Project Shield, with “ultra-low latency”. The only caveat is that you have to be on your own home network for this to work, so the furthest away you can get is probably sat at the end of your garden. Still, it’s a nice idea. It’s also capable of outputting in 4k video via HDMI, which is roughly 4 times the pixel count of standard 1080p content. Pretty impressive.

4k

No word on pricing yet, that I can find anyway. I read some speculation that it’ll be around $250, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Here’s a clip from the presentation at CES.

Here’s the walkthrough of the working prototype.

And here are Assassins Creed and Need for Speed 4 demonstrated on it.


Head on over to the official site for some more glossy renders and sparse information.
And if you’re after more info on the Tegra 4 itself, Engadget has a nice article.

6 Replies to “Nvidia’s Answer To Handheld Android Gaming – Project Shield”

  1. utterly tasteless design… reminds me of the xbox. and why can`t i remember even one decent game designed for android?

    1. By “decent game” – I guess you mean a “console quality game”. The “decent game designed for Android” thing has been a chicken and egg problem. Up until just very recently – the general public hasn’t seen an Android device with game controls. Why would you design a controller-driven HD game for a platform that is almost entirely touchscreen driven and the vast majority of devices have still only have a 640 x 480 (or smaller) pixel screen and no video out? I think with this, the OUYA, the Archos Gamepad, and other high profile Android gaming devices coming to the market, there will be a reason for developers to build games for those devices, and thus the console quality games will start showing up on Android.

      As for the design of this particular product – it is very Xbox influenced, obviously. With the black and green color scheme and the center buttons forming an X… but the layout is actually closer to the DualShock. Either way – this isn’t exactly an answer to the PSP or the DS. One of it’s main features is providing a bridge between your PC and your TV – as well as bringing Android games to the big screen. When you look at it as more of a competitor to the Xbox and Smartglass – or the Wii U’s Gamepad – then the design doesn’t look so bad. (In theory, it could be used as a Smartglass device – but I don’t know if the Xbox will accept the buttons or just the touchscreen.)

      It does, however, make one wonder if it will even fit in the average person’s pocket.

      The Bridge aspect also relates to the lack of games – since you can use it as an extension of your Windows PC – there are a lot of “decent games” you could be playing on this thing.

  2. I don’t know.. I think it looks nice. As he said, it is a perfect controller. For an android system it definitely has the controller part right, unlock the Archos, Xperia Play or all of the Chinese systems floating around.The tech on it seems interesting aswell.

    This could be a decent dedicated Android gaming device. This could potentially end up making a bigger spash than the Ouya. At least gamers know who Nvidia is.

  3. Man, that thing is so ugly it hurts. It reminds me of the never released Panasonic Jungle. Still, it looks like it may have unrivaled specs. I might just have to buy one in any case.

    1. After I posted the article I read around various blogs and forums and it seems 80% of people feel the same.

      “Ugly as hell. Still really want one, unless Nvidia price it ridiculously.”

      I’m in the same boat too.

      1. I don’t think it is ugly… In fact, if you look at my icon you will notice it is similar. I designed my Compact Wonder System (CWS) years ago. It is just missing a second screen and a keypad.

        I want one.

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