Nvidia has revealed “Project Shield,” an Android-based handheld capable of remotely playing PC games, at CES 2013.
One of the Shield’s major features is that it it is capable of playing games from a PC, including those distributed on Steam, potentially giving it access to an enviable selection of obscure indie games and console-PC ports.
The merits of this system will likely hinge on how far away from the PC it is practical to play graphically intense titles – Nvidia’s CEO already having ominously suggested that only with future devices will anyone be able to play “beyond the house,” raising the obvious question of what use any PC gamer has for a tiny screened handheld only usable in the same house as the PC.
Its standalone graphical capabilities come from Nvidia’s newly unveiled Tegra 4 mobile chipset, and will give it access to all the gaming glories of Google Play and various other mobile applications.
The console itself boasts a 5 inch (12.7cm) 720p touch screen, although when connected to a TV it will be able to support next-generation “4K” ultra-HD output (though this would apparently require it to be in the same house as the PC powering the output…).
Another major feature is its “full-size console-grade game controller,” with its chunky build and styling bearing more than a passing resemblance to that of the Xbox – and probably destined to be the inevitable butt of “Xbox huge” mockery, as it is in fact even larger than an Xbox controller.
Nvidia’s CEO showed off a working version of the handheld at CES, but has not announced a release schedule.
Nvidia also unveiled the Nvidia GRID, “cloud” gaming hardware which can run PC games whilst allowing them to be played on lesser devices such as TVs, tablets and smartphones (and presumably PCs as well) – although few doubt Nvidia’s competence with hardware, there are some concerns as to whether this ends up being another OnLive.