In nuary, Nvidia surprised us by announcing oject Shield, a hheld Android gaming device that can also stream select games from GeForce-equipped computers via -Fi. The prospect of playing full-fledged games from the comfort of your couch seems enticing, but without spending some decent time with the device, it’s hard to tell if oject Shield represents the future of gaming or just another attempt to crack the lucrative mobile-gaming market.
The hardware itself isn’t quite so attractive; at CES, the device looked a bit like someone duct-taped an Android phone to an Xbox 360 controller. However, the guts of the device certainly seem exciting. oject Shield sports Nvidia’s new Tegra 4 processor the capability to encode stream game data with minimal delay.
Our colleagues in Boston took advantage of a recent meeting with Nvidia to get some hs-on time with the oject Shield device, the footage they brought back looks promising. Throughout the video, we can see both Android games running on oject Shield, the 5-inch, multitouch 720p display looks pretty decent in action. The built-in controller looks remarkably similar to the Xbox 360 gamepad, with a sizable frame, four face buttons in a diamond formation, a rounded d-pad, two analog sticks, a pair of R bumpers triggers up top. There’s a big button emblazoned with the Nvidia logo in the center that likely takes you to Nvidia’s custom Tegrazone gaming portal, as well as a start button, a volume button, the back home buttons that match what we’ve seen on countless Android devices.
oject Shield runs on a modified version of Android’s lly Bean OS, so you should be able to pick up the device on launch day (sometime in the second quarter of 2013) log in with your account right away. Access to your email, movies, music more on a hheld gaming device feels like a welcome anomaly, but it represents the likely future of hheld gaming.
In fact, oject Shield is most intriguing not as a hheld -game-streamer, but as a beefed-up Android gaming machine. Android developers are constantly creating bigger more-ambitious games to match the technical capabilities of contemporary phones tablets, but we’re held back from enjoying those games by the limited control options a touchscreen offers. If the oject Shield device can deliver great performance at a reasonable price, it may help Android evolve into a respectable gaming platform.