Nvidia Announce ‘Shield’ Mobile PC Gaming

With so many people these days opting for console rather than PC, it’s no surprise to consider that part of the reasoning behind is this is that you have the ability to game from the comfort of your sofa and the lure of the big screen.  Sure, you can do this with PC gaming but it means either having a gaming rig permanently set up next to your TV, or dragging it through from wherever it’s normally kept whenever you need it, or having to go with a gaming laptop… and those things aren’t cheap.

We’ve had cloud gaming, attempting to bridge that gap where a small unit plugs into the TV and you have that option of being able to play games in realtime, but have all the processor power handled remotely.  Works great in principle but if, like many of us, you play on PC specifically for the handling and graphics prowess, then gameplay which is reliant on your internet speed and at the mercy of bandwidth congestion really isn’t an option.

At this year’s CES, only hours ago, Nvidia unveiled Shield – a handheld console which isn’t actually a console; it’s a locally-delivered PC conduit with its own built-in five-inch screen, displaying at full 720p resolution, but with the option to deliver the video directly to your TV at resolutions of up to 4K HD, provided your Nvidia-driven PC has the power to do so.  What this means for PC gamers the world over, or at least those willing to adopt early-stage tech, is that they’ll not have to drag their PCs through from one room to another or have a permanent set-up.  Nor will they have to resort to the typically-underpowered gaming laptops.

With the tagline of “The Freedom To Be AFK”, the Shield allows you to take your PC gaming on the move throughout your home using the WiFi to deliver the content direct to the device, but this bizarre-looking controller – which looks as though a Game Boy Advance SP and original Xbox controller had a lovechild – also packs a punch in terms of its own power.  Inside the chassis is a Tegra 4 powerhouse, boasting a custom 72-core NVIDIA GeForce GPU and Quad-core A15 CPU but, to take full advantage of the symbiotic relationship between PC and Shield, you’ll need to be running the following minimum specs:

  • GPU: NVIDIA® Kepler™-based GeForce GTX 650 (Desktop) or
  • GTX 660M (Notebook) or higher
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 or equivalent or higher
  • System Memory: 4 GB or higher
  • Software: GeForce Experience™ application and latest GeForce drivers
  • OS: Windows 7 or higher
  • Router: Router: 802.11a/g/n
  • (Recommended: 802.11n Dual Band / MIMO Router)

If they can pull this off and release it to the public, bearing in mind that Razer’s Switchblade was originally touted as a portable PC gaming device and ultimately became a laptop add-on feature, then this should give PC gamers a feeling of freedom unlike any tech to date.  Speaking as someone who has an Nvidia 680-powered gaming rig but who hates gaming at a desk, and is therefore reduced to playing on an Nvidia 460M-powered Qosmio laptop when the need for comfort takes over, this little beast appears to be the perfect solution – play with the full power of the gaming rig and have the freedom to play in bed with the same sized screen as a PS Vita (albeit a considerably-higher resolution than the Vita) or use the HDMI option and play through the TV.

With the ability to play both Android and PC games (as well as Steam), running on the Android Jellybean OS at the time of writing, with full 1280×720 HD on a 5-inch retinal multi-touch display and HD audio, the Nvidia Shield may very well be a game-changer, giving PC gamers a full-spec Steam on-the-go, and so we’ll keep you up to date with any ongoing developments.

UPDATE: There is no price point set for Shield at the moment, but it’s set for a Q2 2013 release… let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint.


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One Comment

  1. Ste Ste says:

    Will keep my eye on this. Very interested. Any idea on price? I take it this will not work with anything other than a Nvidia card? I’m running an ATi at the minute.

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