Nvidia's surprise announcement: a portable gaming console

By Luke Plunkett on January 7, 2013, 7:00 AM

Nvidia just surprised a whole bunch of people by announcing, of all things, a dedicated gaming handheld during the company's CES press conference. Based on the new Tegra 4 mobile chip, also announced at the show, it's code-named Nvidia Shield. There are 5-10 hours of battery life, and it's based on a clamshell design, sort of like a DS (only without the bottom screen).

Running on Android (they say "pure Android", so hopefully no Nvidia skin), it's got a MicroSD slot, micro USB and HDMI output (which supports 4K output so long as your display does). The Shield's 5" screen is a touchscreen, and is capable of 720p display at 294dpi (they're calling it a "retinal display").

A small shield on the back of the top screen is removable and customisable. Below you'll see a size comparison, facing the Shield off against an Xbox 360 pad and a Wii U Controller.

Nvidia say the Shield has "console-grade controls", which sounds like they're actually using the same kind of thumbsticks and buttons you get on proper controllers, not the smaller/lesser kind you get on portable platforms.

Here's the Shield's media library UI, which can be augmented by the fact it can access the Android versions of apps like Netflix and Hulu.

In addition to running its own Android games, the Shield can also stream games from your PC to the controller, where you can either play them direct on the small screen or, more practically, output to your TV.

A demonstration showing Need For Speed Most Wanted and Assassin's Creed III being beamed from a PC to the controller was impressive, to say the least. Because Steam now has its Big Picture mode, the Shield can be used to navigate the store without having to move back to your PC.

Sadly, there was no price or release information provided.

Republished with permission. Luke Plunkett is a contributing editor at Kotaku.




User Comments: 14

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ETF Soldier ETF Soldier said:

Project SHIELD... AWWWWW YEAAAHHHH.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Project SHIELD... AWWWWW YEAAAHHHH.

Would that be an abbreviation for "Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division", "Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate", or "Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division"?

WOW nVidia is expanding.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

A poll taken by Steam shows the majority game with GTX (no surprise there given thier stability with games old and new) so to see them team up with Steam, well, isn't a surprise. And my gaming laptop is my portable console!

SantistaUSA said:

That's interesting, I'm hoping they succeed, love my EVGA GTX 570. Gotta say it is kind of ugly tho, maybe that's not the final design.

Guest said:

I really wish OUYA project went with Tegra4 instead of Tegra3 ... Let's hope there will be Tegra4-based OUYA2 coming out in the near future, hopefully with all the interface options of this "Shield" (MicroSD, HDMI, USB) and the same $99 price tag.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Wonder if it will take off.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

That's interesting, I'm hoping they succeed, love my EVGA GTX 570. Gotta say it is kind of ugly tho, maybe that's not the final design.

Agreed, it does look kind of ugly. However, I love the fact that it has an mSD slot and the usb and hdmi ports.

Timonius Timonius said:

As cool as it sounds, I detect failure. The price alone, unless it ends up really cheap, will drive the average consumer away. We don't need another portable gaming device, just better ways to implement what we've got.

Guest said:

Does it not just do that so I could play my pc games on any tv in the house or on the pad via this pad? now pair that with your internet connection and be able stream play games off your pc anywhere with a decent internet connection and tv or just the pad plus all the apps android has to offer very tempting if it can do just that

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I really wish OUYA project went with Tegra4 instead of Tegra3 ... Let's hope there will be Tegra4-based OUYA2 coming out in the near future, hopefully with all the interface options of this "Shield" (MicroSD, HDMI, USB) and the same $99 price tag.

Keep in mind that the ONLY reason this hardware is Tegra4 is because it is coming straight from the manufacturer. If you had your wish, the OUYA team would have had to wait till now for even a possibility of getting a Tegra4 to design their first iteration around, rather than being just a few months from releasing a finished product. Sometimes you have to run with what you have available now, if you want to be a pioneer instead of just running with a crowded pack.

dcnc123 dcnc123 said:

What the.... love it... bring it on.... you can have my money...

JC713 JC713 said:

This is kinda cool. but seeing the deterioration of the Nintendo DS does not help.

avoidz avoidz said:

Aimed at PC gamers but no mouse control? Hmm.

Zeromus said:

Oh no the grey in his hair is showing!

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