CES 2013: Nvidia Announces Tegra 4 Chip, Project Shield Gaming System, and Nvidia Grid Cloud Gaming Server

CES 2013: Nvidia Announces Tegra 4 Chip, Project Shield Gaming System, and Nvidia Grid Cloud Gaming Server

Jan 7, 2013

On the Sunday night before CES, Nvidia had some big announcements for Android and cloud gaming with some interesting new hardware, including their first self-manufactured Android device.

The biggest announcement is Project Shield, a handheld gaming console. It features a 5" 720p touch screen attached to a gamepad and be powered by the new Tegra 4 chip. The gamepad is similar to the Xbox 360 controller, and serves as the bottom part of a clamshell design with the screen on a hinge. It runs a stock version of Android, not a special fork of it.

Interestingly, it not only will be able to play games from Google Play and TegraZone, it also has the capability to stream and play games from Steam, by using a home PC as an OnLive-esque server, that streams the game to the Shield over local wifi. As well, with the Shield’s HDMI output and purportedly-forthcoming wireless video output, it can also serve as an easy way to play games on a local TV. Project Shield is scheduled to release in the second quarter of 2013.

As for what’s under the hood, the Tegra 4 chip was unveiled. While horsepower claims are extremely subjective, Nvidia is claiming that the chip is more powerful than the A6X that powers the 4th-generation iPad. It features 72 GPU cores (outweighing the 12 in the Tegra 3), is actually produced at a smaller 28nm size versus the 40nm size of the Tegra 3 (in layman’s terms, this means potentially less power consumption), and other things to make game like Dead Trigger 2, announced at the conference, look super-sweet.

Finally, Nvidia announced their Nvidia Grid cloud-based gaming server architecture, which purportedly has the power of 700 Xbox 360s in one 24-rack tower, and they demoed an Android client playing a game powered by the technology, though practical applications are not yet available. Still, this is a major player getting into cloud-based gaming, potentially a huge push for this type of processing after OnLive’ fizzling out in 2012.

OnLive is Dead, Long Live OnLive

OnLive is Dead, Long Live OnLive

Aug 20, 2012

On Friday August 17th, the future of OnLive was so murky, that even Schrodinger himself was confused as to what was going on. Reports had surfaced that OnLive was shutting down, or was staying open, and that the employees were fired, or were going to be rehired. Basically, it was one giant confusing mess. Here’s the seeming fallout:

OnLive as it stands will continue to exist. This includes both the gaming service and OnLive Desktop. There should be no service interruptions. However, the assets are being sold to a new investor that will take charge of the company, and all the employees have been laid off, and their stock devalued. However, some employees will be brought in to the new company, which will still be OnLive, either as re-hires or as consultants with potential for stock options.

It does seem that as OnLive transitions, product upgrades may be delayed or shuttered entirely. So for those waiting on the ability to run their own applications on OnLive Desktop‘s upcoming $9.99 per month plan, keep waiting.

Actually, there’s a good chance that no one at all is waiting, because part of the reason for OnLive’s financial troubles has been a lack of users, seemingly only 1600 regular users, with 8000 total servers available, which is not a combination for profitability.

OnLive is still running sales, their promotions to preorder new games, and giveaways such as Zeno Clash and SpaceChem in recent weeks, but as to how long they will keep going? Who knows. With competitor Gaikai having been bought out recently for a huge sum by Sony, it stands to reason that with OnLive’s technology already deployed at a consumer level, there could be brighter financial days ahead if the new ownership can right things. But what that will mean for those that have bought games on OnLive in the long term is still sketchy.

But for now, while there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes turmoil, there’s still games to be played and computers to be used through OnLive’s Android apps.

Big Fish Debuts New Cloud Gaming Service

Big Fish Debuts New Cloud Gaming Service

Jul 25, 2012

Casual game publisher Big Fish has officially launched its new universal cloud gaming service, Big Fish Unlimited, in the United States.

Big Fish Unlimited allows customers to stream games from the company’s 2,500+ catalog instantly on a variety of connected devices. About 100 titles are available now, and more will be added every week. People can access a rotating roster of 20 ad-supported games for free, or pay $7.99 a month to choose from the service’s premium catalog. Game progress is saved remotely, allowing players to easily continue their sessions across devices.

Although the service is currently available on PC browsers only, the company plans on adding support for Mac, tablets, smartphones, connected TVs, and other platforms over the coming year. It will also be available on Roku later this year thanks to a new strategic partnership between the two companies.

“Big Fish Unlimited is a new way for customers to enjoy our games,” added Paul Thelen, founder and CEO of Big Fish. “While our downloadable PC and mobile games businesses are thriving, Big Fish Unlimited enables us to quickly reach new customers on new devices and in new territories.”

“Customers are increasingly adopting connected devices, and they expect games to be instantly accessible and playable across those devices. Big Fish will launch Big Fish Unlimited on PC browsers and tablets this quarter. Through our strategic alliance with Roku, we are adding a third screen: the connected TV. This marks the first time that customers can choose where to play, because our service is powered by the cloud and game progress will follow customers from device to device,” said Will O’Brien, vice president and general manager of cloud gaming at Big Fish. “The game play mechanics of our catalog of casual titles are ideally suited to this new delivery technology; anyone with a typical broadband internet connection will be able to use this service.”

Big Fish currently offers its games in 10 languages to a global customer base, and says it plans to expand Unlimited outside the U.S. in 2013.

OnLive Coming to Android Tablets This Fall

OnLive Coming to Android Tablets This Fall

Jun 15, 2011

Cloud-based gaming is coming to Android tablets this fall, as OnLive is planning to release an OnLive Player App for iPad and Android tablets. OnLive is the cloud-based gaming service that allows for the playing of PC games that are being run on OnLive’s remote computers, instead of on the device itself. While OnLive has been supported through PCs and their OnLive MicroConsole for TV and monitor output. As well, OnLive has dabbled into the world of tablets before, with the OnLive Viewer app for iPad, although this has only been used for viewing games being played; actually playing the games has not yet been supported.

The games appear to not support on-screen controls, which may be for the best, considering that the games are built for actual physical controls. Instead, they’ll support OnLive’s Universal Wireless Controller, which connects to devices via either USB or Bluetooth, the latter being how the tablet controls will likely work. The apps will also support display output, so that the tablets can act similarly to the MicroConsole. This controller could theoretically be used wherever OnLive is available, so users could pack up their controller and play their games wherever they have OnLive access.

The apps are theoretically not going to be available for smaller Android phones; this is likely because playing a console game on a small 4-inch screen does not sound like it would work very well. Of course, the possibility exists that the talented Android hacking community ocould finagle up a way to make it work on phones, if at all possible. The iPad app will also support a remote web browser with Flash; Android tablets naturally can just run Flash in any web browser. There’s no word on the cost, if any, of the app, or if there will be any subscription fees or any fees for using the tablet apps. The apps are scheduled for release later this year.

Source: Pocket Gamer