Does anyone buy CDs or Blu-ray discs anymore? You can stream so much stuff for a few bucks a month that it's hard to make an argument for physical media these days. Those two mediums have nearly leapfrogged the downloading phase that PC games have been in for a decade, since the dawn of Steam. Now Nvidia is making a push for streaming games, too, and its new Shield console is central to that effort. We sat down today for a talk presented by Eric Young, an engineering manager at Nvidia, who gave us some more details about how the Shield handles streaming from the company's cloud-based service dubbed GRID.
Shield can do several things: play Android games, play triple-A Android games made for Shield, handle your online media needs, and stream from NVIDIA's Grid streaming service. Grid has been in the making for several years, and NVIDIA hopes to be first to deliver a playable, lag free experience. At launch, NVIDIA will have roughly 50 playable titles, all of which should be the most recent PC hits. NVIDIA's vision is to deliver all games, at maximum graphics settings, without the requirement for having a high-end gaming rig.
Backtrack several months and you have Razer's Forge TV, a device that's meant to allow you to stream all your games to the living room, lag free. Forge TV is also an Android device, but it doesn't have the power that NVIDIA's Shield has. For reference, Forge TV is equipped with an Adreno 420 GPU, while the Shield's graphics duties are handled by NVIDIA's own Tegra X1, which is based on its current flagship Maxwell architecture. Specs aside, the Shield can do everything the Forge TV can do, and much more. Shield is also 4K ready, while Forge TV is not.
We get our hands on both at GDC. What's our impression?
Nvidia unveiled the next step on its road to dominating PC gaming (and possibly your living room) today with the announcement of an Android-based game console simply dubbed the Shield. This asymmetric, die-cast black aluminum slab—around the size of a home network router—is positioned as "the world's first Android 4K TV." The Shield is priced at $199, including an Xbox-like gamepad, and scheduled to drop in early May.
Nvidia was all nestled all snug in its bed, while visions of Lollipop's Material Design danced in its head
Nvidia today announced that its Shield Hub received some major updates along with a new look, improved GameStrem experience in console mode, and better connectivity to GRID, the company's on-demand game streaming service that resides in the cloud. The new layout comes hot on the heels of Android 5.0 Lollipop making its way to Nvidia's Shield Tablet, which is where the "Material Design" comes into play.
Choose your weapon: Shield portable or Shield tablet
If you happen to be in the market for a Shield (in either handheld portable or tablet form), or are otherwise looking for gift ideas this holiday season, hold your horses for just a few more days and you'll score a better deal. Like many, Nvidia is participating in the Black Friday festivities, and it's doing it with a couple of bundle options for the aforementioned mobile gaming devices, both of which will come a few extra incentives.
Owners of Nvidia’s Shield Tablet will be in for a surprise soon. Nvidia is releasing a major software update and new capabilities for the Shield Tablet which will involve upgrading its OS to Android 5.0 Lollipop, refreshing the handheld’s apps, and introducing the company’s new GRID on-demand gaming service.
For those of you who've been waiting for Nvidia to start shipping its Shield gaming tablet with 32GB of on-board storage and 4G LTE connectivity baked in, the wait is now over -- you can order the Shield 32GB LTE gaming tablet for $399 direct from Nvidia's website. That's twice as much storage as the 16GB model, plus you get LTE connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi access, additions that come at a $100 premium.
Looks like Nvidia isn’t done trying to get into the living room. According to the BBC, Nvidia is developing a new device that will play PC games on televisions, making use of the developer’s GeForce Experience software. It will also run Android software and, BBC reports, will have a “budget-priced separate controller.”
Grab a Shield handheld console for $199 (for a limited time)
Nvidia keeps upping the ante for its promising Shield console in hopes that you'll put your chips in and cash out as a converted gamer. The latest attempt at making you take that leap is the addition of two popular titles -- as of today, Half Life 2 and Portal are both available to Shield owners in Google Play, Nvidia announced. Both run natively on Android, and according to Nvidia, the utmost care and attention was paid to every detail to ensure they both deliver the full PC experience.