Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 2, 2014
arrowPress Releases
August 2, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Now Nvidia enters the Android console race
Now Nvidia enters the Android console race
January 7, 2013 | By Mike Rose

January 7, 2013 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    30 comments
More:



There's already a number of Android-based consoles on the way in 2013, including the Ouya and the GameStick. Now 3D graphics company Nvidia has decided to enter the race itself, with the upcoming Nvidia Shield handheld game device.

Project Shield, revealed at CES in Las Vegas, looks a little like an OnLive controller with a screen attached to the top, that can fold down over the buttons to make it more compact. It has integrated speakers, and runs Jelly Bean, the latest Android operating system.

Notably, the Shield isn't just for Android games. While consumers are able to access any of their Google Play games for the device, it's also possible to stream games directly from your Nvidia-powered PC, and play any of your Steam games on the Shield's screen.

Nvidia's demonstration of this particular feature didn't exactly go according to plan on stage at CES, however, as chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang was initially unable to get the PC game streaming functionality to work properly.

The 720p 5-inch, multi-touch display device is powered by the just-announced Tegra 4 processor, which the company says is now the "world's fastest mobile processor." It features GPU horsepower that is six times faster than the Tegra 3 processor, and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU.

Nvidia says that the Tegra 4 processor provides the best performance and battery life for a mobile processor to date, with a second-generation battery saver core and PRISM 2 display technology that can give up to 14 hours of HD video playback on smartphones.

The company hasn't said when the Shield will launch, although companies like Ubisoft, Epic Games and Meteor Entertainment have already thrown their support behind it. More photos of the device can be found on Nvidia's Flickr.

shield 1.jpgNvidia also mentioned its Grid Cloud Gaming Platform, first teased last year. The company says that the Grid server can concurrently serve up to 36 times more HD-quality game streams than the first-generation cloud-gaming systems from companies like OnLive and Gaikai.

With this in mind, Nvidia claims that the hardware can reduce game server latency by up to 30 milliseconds compared to prior solutions. The Grid platform already has half a dozen partners who are interested in offering services based on the hardware, including Agawi in the U.S., and China's Cloud Union.


Related Jobs

Nix Hydra
Nix Hydra — Los Angeles, California, United States
[08.01.14]

Programmer
Nix Hydra
Nix Hydra — Los Angeles, California, United States
[08.01.14]

Game Designer
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — Austin, Texas, United States
[08.01.14]

DevOps Engineer
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — Austin, Texas, United States
[08.01.14]

Animation Programmer










Comments


Fernando Fernandes
profile image
That's really cool! #NOT

Say hello to (more) fragmentation.

I pass. Meh.

Dave Hoskins
profile image
Ouya's rolling around the floor holding it's nuts. Ouch, that was a kick.
But... how much will this thing cost?

E Zachary Knight
profile image
Yep. THe Ouya sure is suffering at the hands of what is most likely going to be a far more expensive portable.

Pallav Nawani
profile image
This is what PsVita should've been.

If Nvidia could address the piracy issue, as well - then they could have a winner on their hands.

Doug Poston
profile image
Unless Nvidia is going to get into the publishing game (and, who knows, they might), then it isn't the piracy but price issue they need to worry about.

Jay Anne
profile image
Is there any chance in hell that the price will be lower than $299?

Stanley de Bruyn
profile image
I don't have any problem with price. Because specs depends on price. I like good and powerfull hardware with good games. But the masses are very price sensitive. I got a feeling it might not be cheap.

Maria Jayne
profile image
The one thing I like about this is that the controls are on a functional, practical joypad, as opposed to a touch screen. Most gamers have had experience with motion controls and touch screens now and they probably came to the conclusion that I did long ago, they suck for gaming.

The joypad looks ridiculous on that tiny screen, but as a gamer, what works is always more attractive than what is trendy.

k s
profile image
I wouldn't say touch and motion controls suck for gaming completely but rather most of the time they just don't work well for it.

Merc Hoffner
profile image
You know, this is all starting to smell like the 16-bit to 32-bit era of the early 90's. We all remember Sega, Nintendo and Sony, but please do also recall the hoards of machines trying to clamber in with the advent of CD (and 3D). Of course there was more 'memorable' fare like Neo Geo, TurboGrafx, 3DO and Atari Jaguar, but do you remember the CD-i? The Pippin? The Amiga CD32, (and itterations of each) and a million others from big name manufacturers with dreams of tapping the burgeoning market these two little companies had rebuilt? They all flopped (save NeoGeo which to my memory was always intended as a niche platform), even Sega. You know what else I remember? They all had the most unimaginative and generic controllers conceivable. As if they'd all been designed by committee. Which as it turns out probably was the case.

Gaming is an interactive form of entertainment. Enjoyment and market expansion depends as much or more on ergonomic interface hardware as on display hardware, and certainly more than the CPU or graphics tech. If you fail to bring anything more than a generic interface to the platform, how can you expect to make anything but generic games? And with adoption no longer fueled by a need for more realistic engines or graphics (certainly not for casual or portable gaming) it becomes all about the play, and after a critical complement of games has tapped out all the basic scenarios you can do with the platform, all progression becomes about the interface. So when I look at a glut of new platforms, each able to display any kind of graphics you want in any form factor you want and all reaching commodity economics, and see they all have the same controllers, I say, "What's the point? Why should I get into playing on this thing that I haven't already been doing for a decade?".

Jay Anne
profile image
The point would be a low subsidized price and 3 killer app must play first party exclusives. Any chance that happens here?

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Merc Hoffner
profile image
@ Dave

Then presuming you have one (or several) of a million existing systems with similar interfaces, you should be pretty well covered and don't need something like this. Unless you happen to be specifically into high spec FPS gaming on the go, which would make you part of a very small niche, and something this doesn't serve super well in any case.

@ Jay. I see your point, but I think this is an argument that's just beginning to fall apart. Subsidising what? High power hardware? We're at a point where off the shelf low price commodity parts can push graphics more advanced than any developer has the budget to fill. TV's, let alone phones are about to have as much power as 7th gen consoles, which were already unaffordable to make games for, and phones are already subsidised (sort of). We really don't need more power - certainly not on the go. Nvidia makes a point that this system can output 4K. WTF???? As for games, well, yeah, you've got a point. Nintendo makes great sales making the same old same old. Nintendo makes great sales making all new stuff (usually by taking advantage of new I/O). Can you make stuff that's still worth buying (and building) a system for without a new interface? Maybe if it's a series like Halo. Maybe. Like you said, would that happen here? Or on Ouya? Or Gamestick. It didnt' happen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casio_Loopy, or here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playdia

Jasmine Shubin
profile image
I completely disagree with the following statement...

" Enjoyment and market expansion depends as much or more on ergonomic interface hardware as on display hardware, and certainly more than the CPU or graphics tech. If you fail to bring anything more than a generic interface to the platform, how can you expect to make anything but generic games? "

The newer systems have been primarily focused on better Graphics renderings and setting that up as a prelude to a better gaming experience. A new controller has nothing or very little to do with a lasting gaming experience. Hence why PC gaming is still as popular as ever. Has the keyboard changed? For further proof, look at the sheer number of interface types that are casually tossed to the side that outnumber the generic consoles. Interfaces that came and went because they were only destined for a limited number of games.
Nintendo is infamous for throwing junk interface controllers at us, which were nothing more than a fanciful gesture toward a fad. Examples of these amusingly useless interfaces are the duck hunt gun, the dancepad, the eyetoy, the Guitar Hero guitar, Donkey Kong Bongos, Wii-U, and the 1000 attachments for the wii-mote. I could go on, but why bother.

An interface does not sell a system.

A game sells the system. The perfect game to display the abilities of a decent system, which will soon be outdated as soon as you bat your eye, while the game lives forever.

Jay Anne
profile image
@Merc
To me, the question is this: is this a device that merely provides another way to access an existing catalog? Or is it meant to be a true platform that lures in new developers and IP? My assumption is that it cannot be the latter without doing the things I mentioned. Chicken and egg and all that.

@Jasmine
A new interface has longevity if the game it enables has longevity. Yes there are plenty of new interfaces that were gimmicks because they could only enable gimmick games. What about the analog stick? Dual analog stick? Those 2 interface changes are arguably the last 2 biggest interface innovations that enabled a ton of new ways to play

Merc Hoffner
profile image
The model of relying on ever more powerful hardware is failing, both in terms of sales and economics. Almost all market growth in this last cycle was driven by new markets attracted by new ways of playing. Even the growth of mobile devices - we had to wait for the advent of capacative touch for it to become workable - Angry Birds and its ilk could essentially run on a SNES - the power wasn't the limiting factor to putting it in every pocket, the method of interface was.

The PC market is not cyclical. It's the same market it's always been. And yes, the complete dearth of standards for interface meant that only genres that played well with what was dependable (mouse and keyboard) survived through the evolutionary barrage in the mid 90s. Hence why there are so many FPSs and strategy games and so few workable platformers, sports games, fighting games or anything else. Much to the chargrin of anyone who wants some more diversity in the mechanics. Sure the settings and narrative change, but for someone who isn't really into FPS, most FPSs feel basically the same. And that lack of diversity has been killing markets - certainly on consoles. Make no mistake: There was probably more genuine base level genre innovation on the DS, enabled by a ridiculous combination of touch panel and twin displays, then there has been on the PC in what? 10, 15 years?

And to take the point apart very carefully, yes, market expansion does not depend on deeply affecting experiences, and neither does enjoyment. All those kinds of games you decried introduced millions into gaming and entertained more - and yes, made millions of great memories - even if it gathers dust, who didn't have a blast some New Year's eve, beating their loved ones into the dirt at Wii bowling? People did something new, got their enjoyment, probably look back on those times fondly. And if it weren't for the 'gimmicks' like R.O.B. and duckhunt that got machines into stores and established today's 'core' gamers, gaming as a hobby may very well have died by 1990 and PCs would still be spreadsheet machines.

Jasmine Shubin
profile image
@Jay Anne
Yes the dual analog stick was a great interface change, but a great interface change is not necessarily a precursor to a great system. It's an accessory at best. Some of the most ingenuitive and technology advanced of systems (the Sega Genesis) were virtually DOA. Mario is the only thing keeping Nintendo's head above water right now.

@Merc
Gameplay and accessibility of Angry Birds (the simple clean concept) was what made it popular NOT the interface. All games are focusing on smart phones right now because many people have them. The processor power and console combined with affordability.
Creating a game for a smart phone is exposing your games instantly to millions of people.

I did not buy my cell phone because I wanted to play Angry Birds.

I bought Angry Birds because the concept was good and I had a cell phone.

I did buy a Wii because we wanted to play Super Mario Bros. Oh, and I hope you were being sarcastic about the way you spent New Years...

Jay Anne
profile image
@Jasmine
"No analog sticks" would mean "no console shooters". That makes them more than just an accessory. Especially because console shooters make up a majority of console games.

GameViewPoint Developer
profile image
It just reminds me so much of the gaming devices of the 90s/00's which were pretty much all doomed for failure. It appears that lots of people have decided to jump on the Android bandwagon, I suspect out of fear of Apple dominating the casual (i'e 2D) gaming market. That's all well and good but what matters in this day and age is where the mainstream are going. They have all moved from Facebook to mobile (mostly iOS devices) and the hardcore gamers are what's been left behind, who are all playing Skyrim and COD. I just don't see where these Android devices fit in. They will no doubt appeal to the hardcore gamers except the games on them will mostly appeal to casual gamers.

What can turn all this around though is games. If someone brings out a great brand/starts a new gaming francise on Android which looks great on the TV then perhaps these devices can get some traction.

A W
profile image
Lets take a breath, because every time I see a announcement on Gama for new hardware I see the usual suspects get all hot and bothered by the fantasy of their minds on how things can be. As a consumer I got a lot of questions because my imagination may be limited.

Why the sudden jump to make android / Linux game systems if they just aim to bring us the same game experiences we already enjoy / hate?

What is the purpose of making these kinds of systems if the same concepts / control schemes and game mechanics can all be found or used on established hardware already on the market?

Who does it benefit to have 10 pieces of the same game floating around optimized for several pieces of hardware that can technically do the same thing as each other with little to no difference in UI design?

How is this going to spark innovation or create incentive between third party companies to change the way they create their AAA content and how is it that going to drive the consumer to want to experience that content on that hardware?

Hope to get some answers. I'm not posting this to make conflicting statements or play devils advocate, I just want to know what the euphoric thought processes are around this topic. Also if the questions are loaded, I apologies.

Bob Johnson
profile image
Yeah DOA. These Android devices have taken on a life of their own not connected to market realities or demand. Much ado about nothing.

I can only surmise that gamers fantasize about these things because they think they will be playing interesting creative AAA console games for free and that manufacturers are mostly bringing these things to market without pause because the OS is free and in some cases development is free because of kickstarter.

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
DOA, I agree. Price being my number one reason.

Dave Hoskins
profile image
What price?

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
@Dave Hoskins - The one that they omitted. All bets are that it is going to be about $199.99. Let me know if I am wrong. But if it is competing with say the Ouya it is all ready losing.

Lots of people all over from Ars Technica and Engadget are all saying it looks like a bad design over all as well. Bad press, no price, lots of competition. This one is still born. But that could be just me.

Doug Poston
profile image
A "Wii U" controller for your PC.

Interesting...

A W
profile image
I don't think its trying to be that at all.

Doug Poston
profile image
From: http://blogs.nvidia.com/2013/01/live-nvidias-ces-press-event/?utm
_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+nvidiablog+
(The+NVIDIA+Blog)

"10:09 PM - Shield can also offer a different view on its own five-inch screen than the image that itís streaming to the big screen."

Sounds like it's trying to be Wii U, OnLive, and a GameBoy.

k s
profile image
As long as the price for this is reasonable I'll get one.

Now just because I'm interested in this does not mean it will have mainstream appeal, which might actually be a good thing.

Yu Ki
profile image
Ouya is dead! PSV is in danger! Nvidia is coming!

Jonathan Murphy
profile image
Ouya, Steambox, Nvidia, MS, Sony, Nintendo, Apple(iphone/ipad), maybe Google, and maybe the God of Mars. Nvidia and Valve have been ignored by the next gen consoles as they aim for AMD tech, and their own virtual store services.

So many companies are jumping into this market(mostly because they've been ignored by the big 3). It's been a few console generations since we saw this, and last time this happened only 2 survived it. The good news? We saw a lot of original games!


none
 
Comment: