The portable games console, the Nvidia Shield is looking at being a surprise hit of 2013. This open sourced handheld games console allows streaming to HDTVs/monitors and even your PC. Plus it has its main party trick, streaming PC games to it. Based on a stock Android Jelly Bean, the Nvidia Shield will be an open platform gaming device, with the full Android back catalog available to play. So why do I want one? And what problems do NVidia face?
What the Nvidia, and the Play Store lack are mutliplayer games. There are very few, and even less good, online mutliplayer console style games on Android. Shadowgun shows the potential, but we need to see the big name games/brands like Dead Trigger 2, Modern Combat, and FIFA putting serious effort into the online modes. Local multiplayer games would be nice too. On phones this was a none issue, but with a device like the Shield it would be great to be able to bring a friends Shield around and play some split screen on the big TV.
The biggest task for NVidia isnt to get manufacturers onboard, the success of Android platform has done that for them. Its to push the Tegra optimised games to the next level. I love the Tegra Zone on my Nexus 7, the games tend to be better than the average Play Store games as they have got the budgets to do the graphical side, they also tend to put effort into usability. Now Tegra 3 is in millions of devices, and while Tegra 4 looks to build on this, lets see manufacturers pushing the platform.
The Shield (and the OUYA) represents a shift in home gaming, not mobile in my opinion. If the price is right and I got a Shield, it would very rarely be taken out. It would be the device I pick up to play on, while the missus is watching TV instead of my tablet. Then when a TV is available I can continue my game on the big screen. Plus with the free to sub £5 games, you feel like you can have a punt and get into a game fast without thinking. Being in my late 20s I unfortunately dont have the time to play 80 hours of Final Fantasy 7, like I did…. Or 50 hours of Forza Motorsport. I enjoy a quick blast on Gears of War Horde mode with my friends, and the odd game here or there on my Nexus 7.
However the genius of the Shield is it also appeals to console gamers like me, also well as those who do spend £300 on a graphics card for their PCs, as they can stream the games from their GTX cards to the Shield. Steam are behind this too, plus once Nvidias cloud gaming gets into full swing, the Shield could become the one stop device. I’m not sure why you would want to stream to the Shield inside the same house though?
What about OUYA? Well just because it is not as powerful as the Shield doesnt mean it cant succeed. Nintendo has shown that. Both the OUYA and the Nvidia Shield do represent a threat to the Console Establishment, although they are not direct competitors to each other. Despite all the rumours, no one knows what the PS4 / Next XBox will do or be. However for the first time, I am not interested. If they just turn out to be more power, more media center etc. I 100% will not be getting one. I haven’t bought a full price £35-40 game for years. I buy second hand 6 months down the line as I cant justify the full price. Neither can most of my friends, its simply not worth it. With rumours that the new XBox will push what some current games (Battlefield 3 /WWE 13 etc.) have started by requiring a code to play online, it will make second hand games as expensive as new ones. £10-15 for the game, £10 for the online, on top of £40pa for the online service, it all adds up. I get why they do it, the publisher makes nothing off second hand games, but it will stop some people buying. The NVidia Shield will have none of this, plus the games will be dirt cheap in the first place. Sure you cant sell the games on, but at Free to £5 does it matter?
Until it is released, noone knows who well it will catch on, but with the might of a company like NVidia behind it, and some very clever and POWERFUL tech I really want to get my hands on a Nvidia Shield.
Watch this video of Real Boxing running on the Nvidia Shield