Back in January, Nvidia (GPU hardware manufacturer) announced at this years Consumer Electrics Show their own handheld gaming console, dubbed “Project SHIELD“; a maneuver which I saw as a big surprise, because I would have never anticipated Nvidia to go down such a production route.
SHIELD is an Android-based system with roughly the same dimensions of an Xbox 360 controller, though smaller than a Wii U pad. It features a 5-inch (12.7cm) HD touchscreen display with two thumb-sticks (DualShock 3-style), buttons and other fancy controls and ports, all in a fold-able clam-shell design. Its screen boasts a resolution of 720p and it’s capable of playing games and videos in the 4k standard – which apparently offers eight times the detail – on compatible TVs via a standard HDMI cable. And to top it off, at the heart of this new gaming device, thumps the beat of the Tegra 4 quad-core cortex A15 processor, Nvidia’s latest mobile GPU, I believe.
To show off SHIELD’s prowess, Nvidia will be releasing weekly videos to demonstrate some of Project SHIELD’s developers’ favourite Android and PC games. Videos will be published two days of the week: PC Mondays and Android Thursdays. You can watch these videos on Nvidia’s YouTube channel.
What’s quite remarkable, is that the SHIELD is designed to wirelessly link to PCs via Nvidia’s GeForce Experience app, to allow for more powerful, full-on PC games to be played on the device. With the same principle, SHIELD can access games on Steam, with Big Picture Mode integration built into the device.
So, why not just use a PC? Well, if you use Wi-Fi to link up the device to a computer that contains one of Nvidia’s GeForce graphics cards, you can use the computer’s processing power to deal with SHIELD’s software, offering higher quality graphics than what could be rendered by the mobile processor – so higher fidelity games can run on a smaller platform.
How I see that working, is by something similar to one of the features of the Wii U and Wii U – streaming the game from the console to the pad, so the player can game somewhere else. So, players can utilize GPU hardware and processing power to help render the game on the SHIELD via Wi-Fi. However, the PC would first have to be on in order to take advantage of this feature. For the environmentally/financially conscious, doing this wouldn’t be very cost effective nor energy efficient. That’s just my thought, though.