Nvidia GameStream transforms Shield into a serious living room console competitor

By on October 18, 2013, 11:00 AM
nvidia, gpu, shield, gamestream, game streaming, nvidia gamestream, stream machine

Nvidia has launched a new initiative designed to make PC gaming a living room mainstay. Nvidia GameStream, which builds on the PC streaming abilities of the Shield handheld game console, will work in conjunction with a new feature called Shield Console Mode that could become a serious competitor to the Steam Machines, Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s of tomorrow.

GameStream – in conjunction with an Nvidia GPU – will be officially launching on October 28 and promises support for more than 50 PC titles including the upcoming sure-to-be hits Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. It’ll initially be available for local PC streaming but in the longer-term, Nvidia plans to expand streaming via their Grid cloud gaming service.

Perhaps more interesting is Shield Console Mode. As the name suggests, this mode effectively transforms a Shield into a full gaming and entertainment console for your television. Simply connect the handheld to your television via HDMI and pair it with a Bluetooth controller then sit back and enjoy PC games on the big screen.

In addition to playing games, Console Mode allows users to surf the web, play Android games and watch movies – all at native 1080p on the big screen. Well, sort of. As we understand it, Console Mode can work either over Gigabit Ethernet or Wi-Fi. If you’re using the former, it’ll be at 1080p but if you are using wireless, gameplay will be limited to 720p.




User Comments: 16

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lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This will never work. You have to buy the Shield plus an Nvidia GPU, how is this better than a PS4 or the rumored Steam Machines?

Mavrickx888 Mavrickx888 said:

Hopefully I'm just reading this wrong, so let me attempt to get this straight... To use the Shield in "console mode" I'll need an Nvidia GPU, the Shield, a TV, AND a bluetooth controller just to play a limited amount of games? Or am I just mixing things up?

If that is the case... then sorry, I'll just put a down payment on a car or something, rather than shell out the amount of money required to make that set-up worth while. I guess for people already heavily invested in the Nvidia ecosystem, this seems like a no-brainer. But for the rest, the barrier to entry seems a bit steep to really be able to directly compete with the PS4, XBox, etc.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hopefully I'm just reading this wrong, so let me attempt to get this straight... To use the Shield in "console mode" I'll need an Nvidia GPU, the Shield, a TV, AND a bluetooth controller just to play a limited amount of games? Or am I just mixing things up?

If that is the case... then sorry, I'll just put a down payment on a car or something, rather than shell out the amount of money required to make that set-up worth while. I guess for people already heavily invested in the Nvidia ecosystem, this seems like a no-brainer. But for the rest, the barrier to entry seems a bit steep to really be able to directly compete with the PS4, XBox, etc.

You need the Shield and a GTX card. The Shield acts as a controller.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This will never work. You have to buy the Shield plus an Nvidia GPU, how is this better than a PS4 or the rumored Steam Machines?

Tell me about it. I already have a GTX card and I'm not interested. To me Shield is not interesting.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

No picture on the TV...lol

Mavrickx888 Mavrickx888 said:

You need the Shield and a GTX card. The Shield acts as a controller.

I was thinking that at first, but then I read:

Simply connect the handheld to your television via HDMI and pair it with a Bluetooth controller then sit back and enjoy PC games on the big screen.

This makes it sound like the Shield becomes indisposed and you need to connect another controller to the Shield in order to control the experience. That really doesn't make any sense at all, but that's what it makes it sound like.

JC713 JC713 said:

This will never work. You have to buy the Shield plus an Nvidia GPU, how is this better than a PS4 or the rumored Steam Machines?

Exactly.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This will never work. You have to buy the Shield plus an Nvidia GPU, how is this better than a PS4 or the rumored Steam Machines?

It's similar to a PC using Steam streaming, with the following differences: it requires an NVIDIA GPU, and it allows for mobile gaming.

Since NVIDIA has most of the GPU market, this requirement is not a problem for many people. If you're also interested in playing your PC games on the small screen, then that's a better solution than a cheap Steam PC.

I'm sure that this is not a solution for everyone, but this, like the Steam streaming, is an attempt to leverage existing PC hardware for living room gaming. The Shield also leverages it for mobile gaming, and that's its advantage.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I'm more interested (until I hear the price) about it playing movies off your LAN. If it plays mkvs that already puts it ahead of the PS3 and AppleTV.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's similar to a PC using Steam streaming, with the following differences: it requires an NVIDIA GPU, and it allows for mobile gaming.

Since NVIDIA has most of the GPU market, this requirement is not a problem for many people. If you're also interested in playing your PC games on the small screen, then that's a better solution than a cheap Steam PC.

I'm sure that this is not a solution for everyone, but this, like the Steam streaming, is an attempt to leverage existing PC hardware for living room gaming. The Shield also leverages it for mobile gaming, and that's its advantage.

Trust me when I say this, NO PC gamer is interested in buying a $299 piece of hardware to simply have the benefit of streaming their PC games on their living room. And make no mistake, that's its only selling point. The people that could be even remotely interested in this already have smartphones that play Android games just fine. And those who don't, they could just as well use Steam's Big Picture and put the PC under the TV.

The Shield is a clear attempt to catch the attention of the console folk who feel buying and assembling parts for a PC is a daunting task. No PC gamer in his right mind would spend $299 + $120 (for the minimum GTX 650, which is not that great of a card to begin with), for a total of $430 give or take to just stream games.

Why would this be better than a PS4? That's right, it's not. Let's not forget that the technology is a streaming technology, not a rendering one, which means, not only do you need a good GTX card, but the processor on your PC has to be good enough to avoid bottlenecks, which means, minimum, you need an Intel i3, which is another cost of roughly $130.

If the delay, and then the $50 reduction before launch AND Neweeg's 55 (or amazon's 7) reviews of this product doesn't tell you no one really wants this overpriced piece of technology, I don't know what will.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

While I'm inclined to agree that there is a small market for the Shield, the way you troll isn't very convincing. Based on the reviews you mentioned, clearly people are buying this, and playing both streaming, Android and emulated games on it. You also conveniently ignored the large market of people who already have the required PC hardware.

All your argument says is that you don't understand why people would want this. That's not really a good argument.

lmike6453 said:

Pointless because let's think situational here:

1. At home I have a GTX card = 360 controller w/ PC games

2. On the train to work.."phablet" phone w/ console games saved to internal SD w/ Moga bluetooth controller

3. "Friend's house" situation...use a MHL cable with step #2 and you're covered

In what situation would I ever need a NVidia Shield over better solutions out there?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

In what situation would I ever need a NVidia Shield over better solutions out there?
If you already have better solutions, none. But that begs the question if they are better solutions for everyone. Me personally, I wouldn't mind buying a device that would stream PC games to the TV. I however would not want a built-in screen on the device.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Once Steam offers streaming, I imagine that low cost Bay Trail or Kabini PC's will be made available with be good enough for that and cheaper than the Shield.

I'm sure that it would be possible to create even cheaper streaming solutions, but the question is who will create them. I currently have Kainy installed on my Nexus 7, but it's not all that robust. I trust solutions from Valve and NVIDIA more, but then one has to use devices these companies support.

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Why bother with a shield? My laptop is permanently in my office, running one of the 2 screens I have here. The 2nd screen is powered by a mediocre desktop, and I have the regular side by side setup with one mouse and keyboard using Synergy. This means I can play games in my office without a problem on one of the screens, this also means that using Intel's WiDi, I can play on my big screen without the need for any other cables, and using the same wireless controller, all in full 1080p with 100% game compatibility. For entertainment needs, I simply turn on XBMC and I'm good to go.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess if you have a gaming laptop with WiDi you don't need the Shield for streaming. (Still could be useful for mobile gaming around the house, if you're interested in that.)

How well does WiDi work for gaming? Most wireless display solutions used to have high latency. Has this really been improved to the point where gaming is practical?

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