This week Nvidia took the wraps off its upcoming Shield tablet
, an 8-inch Android device that's being sold as a means of playing both mobile and streamed PC games in the traditional way -- in front of a live audience on Twitch.
A 16 GB, Tegra K1-powered version of the Android tablet goes on sale next week for $300, and like the prior Nvidia Shield
(now called the Nvidia Shield Portable) it can stream select games over Wi-Fi from a PC with a GPU that supports Nvidia's GameStream technology.
The Shield also functions as a standard Android tablet with a built-in stylus, sports HDMI output and supports up to four Shield wireless controllers (not included, $60 apiece). A $400 version with 32 GB of memory and 3G support is expected to launch at a later date.
But the tablet's most interesting feature is its ability to record and stream whatever is happening on the screen, from gameplay to Google Docs work. You can hold the back button for a few seconds to open an OS-level menu that lets you stream to Twitch or record a video, much like the Share button built into Sony's PlayStation 4.
You can also incorporate footage from the Shield's front-facing camera, allowing for picture-in-picture game streaming approximating that of any PC or console setup. The whole thing is built on Nvidia's Shadowplay software, which runs in the background on your PC and lets you capture video or stream the screen to Twitch.
This is the first tablet we've seen that's explicitly designed to meet the needs of Twitch streamers and YouTubers, suggesting that the advent of streaming culture -- which has already begun to affect the way developers make games
-- is having an influence on the mobile market.