Nvidia Shield Coming This June for $349 – Will It Succeed?

Nvidia Shield Coming This June for $349 – Will It Succeed?

May 28, 2013

Project Shield, Nvidia’s Tegra 4 reference device that boasts an attached controller, has an official name and a price point. Meet the Nvidia Shield, releasing this June for $349.

That they would keep the Shield name seemed apparent based on the design of the device, where the screen flips down to form a shield over the controller. And changing the name didn’t make much sense given all the attention paid to it, so it’s just a mild change to “Nvidia Shield.”

The price point is interesting: it’s definitely higher than the price of most subsidized phones, entry-level tablets, and even the PS Vita and 3DS. This could threaten to make it a tough sell, but it’s not like it’s in entirely uncharted pricing territory. As well, its unique features could make it stand out at its price point, and possibly even to an expanded gamer audience with the PC streaming features and exposure to Android gaming with a real controller. That it’s also using top-of-the-line hardware could be a selling point for it too over the decreased build quality of the $199-and-below tablet market.

However, there is the threat of it just being a niche device, and with more manufacturers using Snapdragon chips, Nvidia threatens to be a minor part of the Android scene just a year after being in the Nexus 7. So, a successful launch for the Shield could help Nvidia tremendously.

People interested in pre-ordering the Shield for its June launch can do so now from Nvidia, or from other retailers like Newegg.

Chuck’s Challenge 3D To Release As Project SHIELD Launch Title

Chuck’s Challenge 3D To Release As Project SHIELD Launch Title

May 16, 2013

The creator of Chip’s Challenge is back, bringing Chuck’s Challenge 3D to NVIDIA’s Porject SHIELD. Chuck Sommerville, the designer, has had a 20 year absence and is now making a new puzzle game which will be available at launch. Chuck’s Challenge 3D is said to have players moving from point A to point B, collecting items including red keys that open red doors, along with much more. Players will have the opportunity to create and share their own levels in the game by using a simple paint-style interface.

In a press release, Chuck Sommerville said, “Over the last couple of years we’ve been creating a 3D puzzle game based on my original design and over two decades of player feedback,” “Chuck’s Challenge 3D is nearly ready to be released, first for the Project SHIELD, taking advantage of both NVIDIA Tegra 4 and the controller.”

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GDC 2013: Nvidia Demos Project Shield

GDC 2013: Nvidia Demos Project Shield

Apr 1, 2013

Nvidia gave Project Shield, its Android device with a controller built-in, an open showcase for GDC 2013 convention-goers to play with a variety of new and upcoming titles, such as Dead Trigger 2 from Madfinger Games.

The Tegra 4 hardware definitely enables games to go to a higher level of detail than on most mobile devices. Vivid Games showed off Real Boxing on both the Tegra-4-boasting Project Shield and the Tegra-3-sporting Nexus 7, and the game had noticeably more detail on the Tegra 4 device compared to the venerable Android tablet. The touch controls still work for that game too, and while the devices were tethered down, it was still possible to anchor the device against one’s body to play a game on the 5″ touch screen. Will it be as comfortable or convenient as playing games with the Shield’s controller support? Probably not, but based on a short test, it seems at least possible.

The Shield, as promised, runs stock Android, with the only noticeable deviation being that there is an Nvidia button on the controller that immediately opens up the Nvidia hub app with Shield-compatible games. Otherwise, titles can be downloaded from any other source available. The TegraZone hub app has always pointed to Google Play, so nothing seems to change in this circumstance.

The hardware is not final, though Nvidia reps claim that it is about 90% complete. One demo unit had a washed-out screen, and the d-pad was very inaccurate, like the original Xbox 360 controller, to where it was difficult to select menu items. However, these kinds of things can be modified in a short bit of time – OUYA’s d-pad was being finalized just weeks ahead of its launch, so an improved d-pad is not out of the question. The joysticks and triggers all had a solid feel to them to where playing first-person shooters felt accurate and comfortable. It’s easy to flip the device open thanks to a little lip that has been added to the end of the screen. There’s a mini-HDMI output available on the device, along with Miracast support.

I was able to also briefly demo the PC game streaming, trying out Borderlands 2. While I wasn’t able to get too long to judge how things like if any latency becomes apparent, the game’s video was being replicated on a nearby PC, and it performed just like playing with an Xbox controller. This was done via an ethernet connection; convention wi-fi was too spotty for Nvidia to use it on.

While Project Shield’s actual possibilities as a consumer product remain up in the air, there’s definitely some promise with the device itself, and it definitely showed that the Tegra 4 will boast some pretty visual.

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.