On Tuesday night at the Game Developers Conference, Nvidia, one of the world’s most popular GPU manufactures, released a surprising new product. For years the company has been working on this unit, and somehow in the age of product leaks Nvidia managed to keep this a complete secret until their press conference on Tuesday.
The announcement, led by Nvidia’s leather-bound co-founder, president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang broke down the reveal into three categories, television, game console, and super computing. Ultimately the Shield would incorporate all three of these ideas.
First television. The Shield runs on Android TV, one of only a few devises that do this, but unlike other devices this is the first Android TV set that can stream at 4K! Not only will your Google Play Movies stream at 4K, but so will apps like YouTube!
Second game console. Nvidia didn’t just set out to make a higher-end Chromecast, they set out to do much more. So not only can you stream your Android TV at 4K but you can play your Android games as well, not just the games you’d play on your phone, but games specifically tailored for this console; games including Half Life 2, (Ep.1 and Ep. 2), Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Telltale’s Game of Thrones and Walking Dead series, Knights of the Old Republic, and a whole list more, with more on the way. But the ultimate question for gaming and graphics is will it run Crysis 3? YES! And at 1080p 30fps with multiplayer support!. The console will have 50+ games when it launches in May. You may ask though, how can it perform this well? Nvidia designed a special chip to allow for this performance. The Tegra X1, a 256 Maxwell Core 3GB GPU, with roughly twice the performance of an Xbox 360, all in unit a size of a small novel.
Lastly super computer. Shield not only runs games natively at 1080p, but thanks to Nvidia’s GRID system, you’ll be able to stream computer quality games from Nvidia’s cloud and play at 1080p 60fps. Thanks to Nvidia’s super computer network all of the performance of the game is done from their own servers. All of the graphics rendering is going to be done on their super powerful, super-fast computers and beamed directly to you with as little delay as possible. This means you’ll be able to purchase Batman: Arkham Origins, and within one minute be streaming the game in 1080p 60fps all from this tiny console. No need to invest $1000+ on a PC gaming rig, let Nvidia’s supercomputer do all the computing for you.
Lastly you may ask with all the power this thing has it must cost as much as a new game console cost, $399, maybe? Wrong. The beauty of the Shield is it only costs $199, with game controller included! Granted the Grid’s premium service does cost (price not revealed yet) there will be a basic service that’s free. Whether that means you won’t have access to certain games on the free service, or your stream quality will be less (say 720p 30fps vs 1080p 60fps), it may be well worth it when you consider you’re saving $200 by not purchasing an Xbox One.
If you’re looking into getting a console but don’t want to spend the money on an Xbox One or Playstation 4, the Nvidia Shield may be the perfect solution for you. Or even if you’re a PC gamer and don’t want to spend the money in updated your PC to run new, graphics and processor heavy games, the Nvidia may be the perfect solution for you, too.
The Shield releases in May for $199. That gives you plenty of time to put aside part of your paychecks to buy this console. I know I’m tempted.
Images Courtesy: Nvidia, Gizmodo
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