Wednesday, 9 January 2013

CES 2013 - NVIDIA Shield

Here's something that might make the future interesting for PC gamers ... but hardly the only thing.

Moving on to some hopefully more uplifting stories than what I covered yesterday, it's worth noting that since it's the beginning of the year the annual International Consumer Electronics Show -- more simply known as CES -- has been underway for a couple of days now. CES is a time for companies to step up to the plate and deliver shiny new gadgets, and that's been exactly what's been happening so far. That's good, or at the very least interesting news for us gamers, so I'll be taking a day or two this week to look at some of the more pertinent pieces that have come from the announcements.

Nvidia has been a name to know as far as PC gaming. Most graphics cards fall to a choice between either them or AMD. I won't speak to the superiority of either brand since I'm definitely not an expert, but I'm pretty happy with the Nvidia card that I've got now and I've never had any problems with it. That's not what's important in this regard though.

No, what's important is that Nvidia announced at CES that they'd be taking their show on the road, so to speak. Going by the moniker of Project Shield, this system is the first foray Nvidia is taking into the gaming market, mobile or otherwise.

Shield is an Android gaming device, first and foremost. To that end it seems that Nvidia is regarding the system as a purer gaming device than something like a smartphone, although if the marketing on their site is to be believed then the Shield will feature apps such as Youtube and Facebook as well. Primarily the benefit from having the Shield is that it's a system designed for on the go gaming, as opposed to the arguably more limited utility of smartphones and the like which rely on touchscreens which can be rather imprecise for some types of games.

What held my interest more though, was the second suite of functionality that Shield has; the ability to have games streamed to it through a home PC with the right specs. At the moment this means that if you have a gaming PC in another room but you'd like to just kick back in the living room, this system can totally access your Steam games and other things. What it doesn't mean is that you can go anywhere and have on-demand access to your Steam library ... at least not yet.

See, the part of this that could really truly sell people on this system, the potential availability of all your top tier PC games on the go would be an incredibly large selling point. Even if it can't be done right here right now, I think that the teasing of a future where it could be would be a huge incentive for people to jump on board this project.

That aside though, the initial success or failure of this gaming device will probably rest on two factors: price point and just how large the Android utilization will be for it. Given that people are used to using their smartphones for gaming on the go, convincing them to buy another thing to lug around won't be easy unless there's something about it that truly stands out.

1 comment:

  1. A new handheld device, huh? Interesting. Very interesting.

    As I understand it, the biggest reason to get a handheld is for its library of games. The DS provided that in spades, and gave the PSP a boot in the pants; the 3DS is also beginning to provide in earnest, repeating history and delivering another boot to the Vita. But if this "Shield" can access games remotely...well, that just opens up plenty of new dimensions, doesn't it?

    It's a shame I'm not a PC gamer, but I would assume that there are plenty of guys out there who are -- and people who this announcement may play to, if not now, then somewhere down the line.

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