The tech industry has been buzzing with information about the new Android based gaming console from Ouya. This Kickstarter project managed to get a lot of attention thanks to the unique idea from Ouya. This idea didn’t only call out to the die-hard gamer, but also the moderate/average gamer, which is mainly due to its $99 price tag. This console is all set for consumer release in March, as developers and investors have already received their sample units. But now NVIDIA has launched something completely unique and even more attractive, called the Shield. This, unlike the Ouya Gaming Controller, is a wireless handheld console which comes with a LCD and the freshly launched Tegra 4 SoC. NVIDIA calls it a portable Set Top Box, which makes the device even more desirable.
This shows exactly what NVIDIA has in mind for the market, which previously consisted only of desktop and mobile processors. We’re not comparing this with the Ouya gaming console, but the Shield will clearly find precedence in people’s mind since it has a wider reach and NVIDIA has a lot of resources to get it to the market. The unit runs completely on Android and will feature NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone for exclusive gaming content, as well as your regular Play Store content. The Shield will also have the ability to stream games from Steam directly on the device. According to NVIDIA, the console is also capable of running Windows games. Of course, the Shield can also be used to play content on bigger display panels as well with the help of HD TVs, which should be a better idea for certain games. The device however is a Beta project now, and NVIDIA has merely teased us with the idea. The actual product apparently will arrive in Q2, 2013. There could be plenty of changes made to the controller by then.
“Project SHIELD was created by NVIDIA engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play” said the CEO and co-founder at NVIDIA Jen Hsun-Huang. He further added – “We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love SHIELD as much as we do.”
The NVIDIA Shield features a 5-inch 1280×720 LCD with a pixel density of 294ppi. Running the controller is the newly announced NVIDIA Tegra 4 chipset and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The device comes with a bunch of connectivity ports including HDMI, micro USB and a microSD card slot. The current version of the Shield only packs a Wi-Fi chip with no LTE onboard, which could change once the full version of the console is launched. The Shield will apparently run for a massive duration of 38 hours on full battery charge according to NVIDIA, which sounds good enough for a gaming console, especially with that 5-inch HD display on board. The device also has the regular array of controls which you would usually find in a gaming console. There’s a D-Pad and two thumb sticks which goes well with massive pop up display and the rest of the controls. Don’t be surprised if you find similarities with the PS3 controller here, as there’s hardly any room for innovation when it comes to gaming controllers. NVIDIA CEO showed off the features of the new console by demoing some games, and it worked well according to the people in attendance.
We certainly like what we see here, let’s hope NVIDIA comes up with price and availability details soon. Ouya certainly needs to step up the game now with its gaming controller, because NVIDIA seems to be focusing on more than just manufacturing mobile processors, which could be threatening for a new and relatively unknown company like Ouya.