NVIDIA Project Shield: The Mobile Gaming of Future
This year’s CES was intriguing for video game lovers, because this year a number of gaming devices were demonstrated on the show. They included Ouya’s gaming console, Valve’s Steam Box and NVIDIA’s project shield. But the biggest surprise and breakthrough product at CES was undoubtedly, Project Shield; an android based handheld gaming console that pleased everyone from it’s features and also surprise everyone. Yup, surprised, because NVIDIA, that has always been known for it’s processors and graphics cards, revealed something that will take it directly into the competition with it’s partners like Sony and Microsoft. And the most amazing thing is this that it was the first consumer electronics product from the company, still it attracted everyone.
If said simply then Project Shield is a gaming console like an Xbox controller. But it is more powerful and feature rich because it has got pure android operating system, jelly bean 4.2 and a 5-inch 720p touch screen that has resolution of 294dpi. From the top it looks like an Xbox controller that has got a cover, but when you’ll open the screen you’ll see the multi touch screen, bumpers, analog sticks, D pad and speakers. And yes, if you ever get a chance to play with it, hold it carefully in both your hands, because there is no way of using it from one hand. In weight, it is slightly heavier than your Xbox or Nintendo controller, obviously because it has more features integrated.
Project shield is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 chipset, which is so far the best chipset for mobile Devices. It is packed with 72 GeForce GPU cores, and is the first quad-core chipset based on ARM’s best line of Cortex-A15 systems. As you can expect, it allows smoothest gaming experience ever seen on a mobile device. Graphics are also just mind blowing.
Now let’s talk about the biggest features. According to NVIDIA, project shield has been designed by keeping next generation gamers in the mind. Gamers, who love to play wherever they wish and on whatever device they have around them. So it comes with superb connectivity features too. Using an HDMI cable, you can stream your games directly on the large screen of your HDTV. And believe me, gaming quality will not be spoiled and you will get even better gaming experience. I personally got some time to spend with the device at CES and I played Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and NFS by streaming them directly on an HDTV and I got even better graphics and gaming experience. The device also has Wi-Fi so if you have a Wi-Fi equipped gaming PC on your home that is powered by NVIDIA GeForce GPU then you can also stream games wirelessly on your PC. Don’t worry about Wi-Fi latency, the device uses least latency so your gaming will work as smoother as it will work on the device itself. This may seem hard to believe, but I have tried it personally and the games I played by streaming on PC (played battlefield 3, call of duty and NFS only) worked seamlessly well.
When you connect the device with an external screen, it also changes the view itself. On in-built screen you get the player view while on external screens you get spectator view which will be far better than the player view.
The console has two speakers near controllers. You can take a look on them in the image given below. The sound quality of console is also realistic and bass-reflex. It is loud enough for providing ultimate gaming experience.
I know what you may be wondering at this time. You may be wondering about battery life. Probably you are thinking that how long will that gaming experience last? Don’t worry, because it is going to last for 20 hours even if you are streaming the game on a PC. It seems hard to believe but at least NVIDIA says that. According to the company, all the processing power is applied by the PC, so it will not have much impact on the Shield. On the other hand, Shield also makes use of techniques like Prism 2 and a battery-saver core, so it is capable of providing a long-lasting gaming experience.
For NVIDIA this project has much importance because it is company’s first consumer electronics product launch. According to company, they have combined an iPod touch, a Xbox controller and a Jambox; all in one device. From the medium of project shield, they want to do the same thing for gaming that iPod did for music and kindle did for books. Till now the company was building only graphics cards and processors for the gaming consoles of partners like Sony and Microsoft. But now by revealing Project Shield, they are going to stand directly in the competition against those partners.
They are going to keep their feet in the portable gaming industry that is dominated by Nintendo, and where nobody could stick against Nintendo. Only Sony remained in the competition for some days with it’s PlayStation Vita, but is slowly diminishing it’s charm due to less content and hefty price tag. At least content will not create problems for project shield because it is android powered and there are hundreds of thousands of games available on Google play. Since the hardware of project shield is capable of handling any game, so content is not going to create a problem for it. NVIDIA has also settled it’s own games market called TegraZone for Project Shield.
The only mystery remaining that really matters is price. Yup, NVIDIA has stated that Project Shield will land in market in the 2nd quarter of 2013 but has not stated that what will be the price. If it comes with a competitive and cheap price tag, then it can create tension for all other gaming consoles but if it gets a hefty price tag then it may remain like a showpiece in showrooms. So we can say that it’s success will directly depend on it’s price tag!