News Article

Nvidia Unveils the Daunting Project Shield

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A game changer for 3DS?

Update:

We originally wrote that we believe this system may use a broadband connection to stream PC games from platforms such as Steam. In actual fact, the official product page explains that only a compatible router is required, with the device utilising a local connection between the system and a GeForce equipped PC. Details can be found on the official product page.

Original article:

The dedicated handheld gaming market has been evolving in the past couple of years, with greater pressure on Nintendo and Sony's systems from alternative devices such as smartphones and tablets. While the scale of the impact and the future can be debated endlessly, it's undeniable that the rise of the Angry Birds generation of touch screen gamers has moved the goalposts in the industry.

Although 3DS has been doing fairly well despite this, another big-name competitor is entering the fray that brings a fresh approach to handheld gaming. This time around it's Nvidia — the technology company best known for its graphic processors — which has unveiled Project Shield, an Android device with a clamshell design and control inputs similar to an Xbox 360/Wii U Pro Controller layout. Due to its Android platform this device will have access to games on the Google Play market, but the game-changing aspect is its ability to stream and play PC games over Wi-Fi, a little like off-screen play with the Wii U GamePad. PC service Steam will work with the handheld, and Nvidia plans to support future streaming from the device to a TV.

In terms of specifications, it should be noted that this is an impressive piece of kit. It has a powerful processor capable of outputting in HD to external screens, high quality sound capabilities and a micro-SD slot for memory expansion. In terms of what truly matters for handheld gaming, its battery will reportedly support five to ten hours of play, while the screen itself is a 5-inch, 720p retinal multitouch display, which should look exceptionally crisp.

Is this a game-changer for 3DS, Vita and even handheld gaming as a whole? It's too early to say for a few reasons: Nvidia hasn't given a price, if it's too high that will surely harm its chances, while streaming PC games may also require a fast and usage-limit free internet connection, a luxury that not everyone has — that fact alone arguably prevents cloud gaming from truly taking off at the moment. For those without good enough Wi-Fi (read — router, see update at the top of this article), this will simply be an android device with physical inputs, which will surely only be attractive at a low price.

It's big news in the handheld gaming market, however, and is set to arrive in Q2 this year. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

[via theverge.com]

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User Comments (91)

MAB

#1

MAB said:

Heading straight to the darkest corner of JB HiFi next to its new buddy the VITA ;)

Bankai

#2

Bankai said:

This thing will be lucky to sell a thousand units. No brand name for console gamers, and it is going to be premium priced.

Katernity

#3

Katernity said:

looks a little thick for a portable device. more like a small home console. don't really see this as 3ds competition.

shingi_70

#4

shingi_70 said:

Looks intresting . its going to flop but Nvidia doesn't care. This is just a gambit to get more games on the android platform and have a dev style device to showcase Tegra 4.

Geonjaha

#6

Geonjaha said:

Interesting, but hilarious to anyone who thinks it'll compete with the 3DS. As for the Vita? Well it'll probably surpass it in sales in about a week.

Gamesake

#7

Gamesake said:

It's an ugly console, but having a pure Android device and being able to play your existing STEAM games on the go are both good things.

@SheldonRandoms Leave it at home next to your 3DS XL.

Nestalgic

#9

Nestalgic said:

Sounds pretty good actually. Hopefully this forces Nintendo's hand and we finally get video output for the DS and 3DS lines.

EvilLucario

#11

EvilLucario said:

First of all: Wii Pro Controller? I thought it was for Wii U only... :P

Second of all, I wouldn't even consider buying this thing. I'd stick to a regular PC, Wii U, and 3DS for my entertainment.

GreenDream

#12

GreenDream said:

So THIS is the rumored Microsoft handheld console... though it's not labeled as such, NVIDIA has many more business ties to Microsoft than AMD and ATI, (or any other corporation for that matter) so it may as well be one and the same.

If it truly uses the much-publicized Tegra series of shared GPU/CPU in a mobile architecture, (and Tegra 4 instead of 3, no less!) then this device will probably be even more technically powerful than the Vita or the most recent Ipad. Depending on their business structure, they could indeed shake up the market... both for handhelds and mobile.

And honestly, it really doesn't look that bad. Certainly better than the 3DS while attached to a Circle Pad Pro, or the schizophrenic control focus of the Vita...

ajcismo

#13

ajcismo said:

Neat concept, but it doesn't have a chance outside of collectors and tech junkies.
Just check the history of better tech handhelds vs. Gameboy, Advance, & DS. This will be no different and the fact that no price point has been announced only adds to its uphill climb.

soracloud28

#14

soracloud28 said:

Personally I hate the design. I can't see this selling that well no matter how intense the specs are. The next nintendo handheld should be the wiids haha

GreenDream

#16

GreenDream said:

@ajcismo In contrast to the competitors of those previous Nintendo systems, however, this one is probably not a direct competitor to Nintendo systems. It's more likely an all-in-one device meant to target the people who are savvy in the mobile market, but do not appreciate the rampant propagation of touch screen controls.

If they can build a business architecture to work with or rival Steam and the upcoming Ouya console, they might actually stand a better chance than the Vita at survival.

soracloud28

#17

soracloud28 said:

Personally I hate the design. I can't see this selling that well no matter how intense the specs are. The next nintendo handheld should be the wiids haha

GreenDream

#19

GreenDream said:

The button and analog controls actually look like a significant step up from the PSP and Vita... even the 3DS does not impart as concise and neat an interface layout as this device.

That being said, using a touch screen with a pen stylus in some cases, and a thumb stylus in others, along with the potential for rumble through pseudo surround sound, or panoramic glasses-less 3D effects, is still more interesting than the admittedly conservative control scheme this NVIDIA device has. So it probably won't do anything particularly stylish and interesting, beyond it's technical specs.

Jr-Joe

#21

Jr-Joe said:

very slim chance of success, reminds me of the n-gage. It looks like one of those cheap pocket puzzle games.

GreenDream

#22

GreenDream said:

@207KD The N-GAGE was a horrendous control scheme nightmare; this device looks like anything but. Of course, the user interface, operating system layout, and business scheme have yet to be displayed...

Moshugan

#23

Moshugan said:

Reminds me of Gameboy Advance SP. :D Looks clunky as hell. Well, if the screen isn't heavy, it might be nice.

@Strongo9 Let's not exaggarate. ;) Even if this was a total flop, Nvidia still has lot's of market on other products.

ejamer

#25

ejamer said:

Although I'm not convinced this will be a retail success and don't see it having a strong effect on the current portable market, I bet there are some PC gamers who will absolutely LOVE this device.

Cool idea. Not for me, but definitely a cool idea.

CanisWolfred

#26

CanisWolfred said:

@ejamer You took the words right outta my mouth, man. It'll have it's audience, but it'll likely be a small audience, and I probably won't be a part of it...especially if it costs as much as I think it will...but still, it's cool, and I look forward to seeing where things go with it.

Dogpigfish

#27

Dogpigfish said:

Won't work well. Developers are finding that streaming Internet couples with an Internet interface is very difficult. Recent example is ps vitas remote play using wifi, frame rate and constant hiccups for intense action can be somewhat frustrating. The technology is out there, but fairly low quality compared to a dedicated handheld like wii u.

SirQuincealot

#28

SirQuincealot said:

they should ake a contoller pad like that for the 3ds, it ould sell like hot cakes (who buys hit cakes anymore) and with smash bros on the horizon (at some point) i really do want something thats going to let me play without destroying the circle pad

bro2dragons

#29

bro2dragons said:

I'm at least interested. It wouldn't replace a 3DS for me, but it would complement one. If the price is low enough, I may very well consider it at some point.

V8_Ninja

#30

V8_Ninja said:

Although this looks neat, does this have anything to do with Nintendo? I understand that this product would be competing against the 3DS, butthe Playstation Vita is doing that right now and I didn't see any news of its announcement nor is news frequently reported about the device on this site.

Otherwise, I agree with @WaltzElf on this; this isn't going to sell because it's a premium device and there's no real name brand associated with it. Also, the device is running Android. While I have nothing against the OS, right now it is not an extremely well-supported OS when it comes to gaming, with even OSX getting more support.

ClockworkMario

#31

ClockworkMario said:

I read somewhere that one can't stream from any PC, it has to have Nvidia GTX GPU, which further narrows the possible market.

I don't believe it'll be a success but then again it's pretty early to say.

GreenDream

#32

GreenDream said:

@InternetBowser http://www.anandtech.com/show/6550/more-details-on-nvidias-tegra-4-i500-5th-core-is-a15-28nm-hpm-ue-category-3-lte

"As far as Shield goes, I wanted to correct one thing about how the PC display streaming works. The PC will stream to the display directly, not through Shield. Shield will pass controller commands to the PC. "

http://games.slashdot.org/story/13/01/07/1237223/nvidia-unveils-grid-servers-tegra-4-soc-and-project-shield-mobile-gaming-device

"Project SHIELD has the ability to stream PC games from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC as well."

It will be possible, but it won't be the only option.

"The device can also stream to an HD TV via HDMI or a WiDi-like wireless dongle. In fact, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed Project SHIELD playing a 4K video on an LG 4K TV."

Compatibility with any relatively new PC's won't be an issue. It might also be possible for this handheld device to compensate for a weaker yet relatively recently built PC or digital television, even for 4K displays in the coming years. This would be done wired, or wirelessly through Wireless N.

ThomasBW84Admin

#33

ThomasBW84 said:

I've added an update, as I misunderstood how the streaming will work. Apparently it will use a router to utilise a local connection, which was pointed out to me by our techie overlord here at NL. Lesson learned - don't see Wi-fi and assume broadband connection...

hiptanaka

#36

hiptanaka said:

The concept feels a bit messy, and Android on a gaming device doesn't sound appealing to me. The planned TV out function sounds cool, though. If only DS had that.

GreenDream

#38

GreenDream said:

@Randomname19 I'm betting they're exactly who this device is going to be marketed towards... And the control design is most likely not a coincidence...

ohhaime

#39

ohhaime said:

I know I want one. It will probably be too expensive for me but I have been waiting for a quality gaming-focused android device so if it's affordable I'd get one.

GameLord08

#40

GameLord08 said:

There's not a snowball's chance in the fires of hell that that'll shimmy its way into the mainstream market. This industry needs to stop being lazy and adapt to mobile gaming in its current form - it has much more potential for ingenuity as it is.

UnseatingKDawg

#43

UnseatingKDawg said:

I'm not so sure about this thing giving even the Vita competition. If I play a PC game, it's going to be on the PC with a keyboard. The only way I'd get it is if I could install my PC games directly on the device. Since some of my PC games do not work for my laptop (did not think an integrated graphics card was a problem 3 years ago...), I'm just going to get a new computer. I'll stick with my 3DS XL for portable games.

GreenDream

#45

GreenDream said:

@Dogpigfish Very true, their decision to go with a Wireless-N connector instead of the new Wireless-AC connector completely ruins this thing's chance of streaming through a stable broadband internet connection. Japan, Korea, and China are some of the only places in the world where Wireless-N meets it's theoretical potential of 300 megabyte per second transfer rates, so using Wireless-AC is the only hope right now of even coming close to that in other parts of the world in the commercial sector devices.

Viper9

#46

Viper9 said:

It looks like a powerfull machine but, how much it gonna cost ?
I don't think consumers are ready to pay 500$ for a portable device...

Wonder_Ideal

#47

Wonder_Ideal said:

"Nvidia Unveils the Daunting Project Shield"
A game changer for 3DS?
It's funny, I read that as "game charger" at first. :D

Rapadash6

#49

Rapadash6 said:

Slick hardware designs need not apply, I guess. That thing is one fugly piece of kit.

Drawdler

#50

Drawdler said:

I'll buy it if they add compatibility for Minecraft but it's a pass otherwise.
And what the heck is with all the new consoles lately?!?! Coming up next: LG portable gaming machine and microwave in one! :|

KnightRider666

#51

KnightRider666 said:

Seriously?? Why bother? Any company with half a brain in its head knows that Nintendo has had the handheld market cornered ever since the original Game Boy. When it comes to beating Nintendo handhelds, many have tried; and many will continue to fail. End of story.

SubZer023

#52

SubZer023 said:

-.-......WTH u Putting That thing against the 3dsXL pshh please..... maybe Vita but no 3ds yeah right

Wildfire

#53

Wildfire said:

Couldn't care less about this ugly controller/console "thingy".
As many have said already, it will fail and it will fail miserably!

Savino

#56

Savino said:

Nvidia and valve boarding the VGMarket train... And ppl claiming that this market were going offrails!!

GloryQuestor

#57

GloryQuestor said:

Hate to say it, but it's already been tried many times before, with Gamepark's GP2X and Tapwave's Zodiac being the most notable that never materialized. Not to mention the other not-so-portable consoles that promised personal computer gaming on a device. The fact that it will most likely need a high bandwidth and persistent Internet connection already makes it hard to sell this to anyone but the upper-middle class and above, which is a pretty small share.
There are numerous examples throughout computer & gaming history where these devices have not captured the market, and it's easy to see that this will end up being one of those footnotes. :-|

C7_

#60

C7_ said:

Woah woah woah, the only thing that looks awkward about this would be holding the controller still and looking at the screen from a good angle, every other part of this looks completely fine. The ability to stream PC games onto it as well as all the benefits that come with android are a definite plus, so I don't see where all this negativity is coming from.

Kirk

#61

Kirk said:

It's certainly an interesting entrant into the whole home console and semi-portable space.

From what I gather it's more like a variation of the Wii U GamePad, without the need for a separate console box, than a true portable console. Basically it seems like you can either play on the controller alone with it's own screen, sitting in your room but not necessarily in front of the TV, or you can use the controller in conjunction with your TV to play games directly on the TV (I think that requires a wired connection). You don't appear to be able to just play it anywhere like a true portable, unless there happens to be a WiFi connection. So it seems like it's more of a competitor to the Wii U than it is the likes of 3DS. Or maybe it's kinda like half and half of both.

I think that's very interesting.

nechestriah

#62

nechestriah said:

The idea is great... playing Steam games on the couch on a personal handheld sounds very attractive to me. (too bad the console design isn't as attractive)

They've also said this is meant to work on your wifi network, and won't be something you take with you. The market is niche, but it's there....

GloryQuestor

#63

GloryQuestor said:

@C7_ Firstly, it's tough to sell anything Android to those who have heavily invested in other markets (like eShop, PSN, or even iOS). Secondly, even if this were priced right and you had a ready market of Steam platform games that could support it, it still requires consistent online connection. This is still something not everyone has or can easily afford. Also of note is that to stream games you need a WiFi connection, which effectively makes this not very "portable" yet. If hotspots are reliable and you are willing to pay for the use of a high bandwidth, high capacity stream connection, then this could be a good system. But we're just not there yet. :-|

AVahne

#64

AVahne said:

It looks almost exactly like a phone connected to a MOGA, except not as terrible. But what's the point in this for people who already have an Android phone and/or tablet. Sure, there's streaming capabilities with a PC, but it just sounds like a local version of OnLive. Without that, it's just a phone-sized tablet with a big built in controller, sans the calling capability. I think it'll be better for mobile gamers to just stick to using mobile controllers with their phones. As for PC gamers, this isn't exactly portable for their games so there's no point for them. Not to mention AMD users such as I have to miss out.

Otto-Soq

#65

Otto-Soq said:

I'm sure there will be a market for it. I am not a huge fan, since pc games bore the pants out of me.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#67

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Its interesting but seems very niche to me. The design is a bit archaic as well. More for dedicated gamers. May not sell a heck of a lot, but interesting take on Gamepad. Flattering through minor imitation there ;)

Samholy

#68

Samholy said:

so...its a handheld console that is not really a console.
it plays android games... but who would buy an expansive thing to play androdi games when they can buy a phone or something.

it plays pc games...as long as you are close to your pc?! okaaaay...so...whats the point.

at first i was super excited. an handheld console that can play pc games, imagine de possibilities!!! then...it ends up it only streams your game wife. plus it will stream them from steam,cutting even more options.
there are games like dungeon keeper i would play handheld. looks like it wont happen yet.

LittleIrves

#69

LittleIrves said:

That video of it being built by invisible nano-bots or whatever is pretty funny. Love the swell of dramatic music, like, "It's finally here!! What we've all been waiting for!!"

The ability to stream PC games is neat. And playing that on your TV. But isn't Valve doing something similar with Big Picture mode? I read an article that said this can output at 4K resolution, i.e., a mode that nearly 0% of the TV market supports as of now. So why have all that power and juice if it's just going to 1) make it more expensive, and b) fragment the Android market even more? Will be interesting to see what happens. My guess is we won't be discussing this in 2014, but who knows...

DePapier

#70

DePapier said:

I now know for sure that Sony and Microsoft will copy the Wii U by attaching a screen to their controller, just like the GamePad, and just like this Project Shield is now doing. Probably they'll make controllers that can be bought with a special screen with audio output as an add-on. Sigh... Over the years I should probably be used to it.

Birthday_Boy

#71

Birthday_Boy said:

I think its too little, too late for Nvida to be into the Market. Concidering the Vita isn't in the zone either, and this may be due to being late as well.

Shane904

#74

Shane904 said:

That's pretty sexy. I don't think it will sell too well unless it's pretty cheap, though..

AugustusOxy

#75

AugustusOxy said:

These ideas are great and I'm all for it, but lets be realistic here, execution is everything and above all, when something good comes out, like the MP3 player, no one wants it until some hipster revitalizes it. I.E. iPod, same with ipad and everything else.

Birthday_Boy

#76

Birthday_Boy said:

@AltDotNerd I'm sorry, I think we live in a time where we can accept mobile games as a certain kind of official gaming type. Its kinda petty if you think otherwise by now. Concidering it has from NES games, to 3DS games, and some of the greatest games this generation, including Monster Hunter, Bastion, TWEWY, and illegal Pokemon ports.
Not to mention this can play PC games as well.

Chuie

#77

Chuie said:

cool im interested in this i hope its last unlike the ouya and neogeo x

luminalace

#78

luminalace said:

This system may attract PC owners who like the idea of streaming their games to the hamdheld but I dont see it picking neither traditional tablet users or handheld gaming fans. Still the tech looks awesome but as with the Vita, you need more than just that to succeed in the current climate.

MAXIMUS

#79

MAXIMUS said:

These companies never learn. No one really prefers console gaming on the go. Otherwise, the Vita would be dominating right now.

Gioku

#82

Gioku said:

The 3DS stands on it's own against this; if it turns out to be any good the Vita will be its biggest competition.

KnightRider666

#83

KnightRider666 said:

@MAXIMUS: I do! My 3DSXL gets more play that any home console I have. If the Vita is SO great, then why is it failing to trump the 3DSXL? I love my PS3, but Sony just can't compete when it comes to handhelds.

Klunk23

#84

Klunk23 said:

@MAXIMUS I Prefer Handheld to console. I love consoles but playing on the go has always appealed to me very much.

DarkNinja9

#85

DarkNinja9 said:

meh i get mixed emotions out of this but the way the screen on the controller pretty much ruined it for me xD just ugly that way i think the control it self it ok though

WaxxyOne

#86

WaxxyOne said:

The sunken analog controls look like they may be uncomfortable, and your fingers might get in the way of the screen. Obviously hard to say for sure without the controller in your hands, so we'll see what happens there. The touch screen sounds nifty but because it's the only screen it can't be used as effectively as the 3DS second screen for certain types of games.

I'm also curious about the main selling points of the device. Is it just a souped-up Droid device for playing Fruit Ninja on or can it natively output beefier titles like those shown in the shot above? Is it just a portable screen for streaming games locally? If so, that doesn't sound like a great selling point to me. With a little effort, I can get my PC output to my HD home theater setup and use a 360 controller to play on a full-size TV. This gives you another option for off-screen play I guess (like the Wii U gamepad) but on a smaller screen with more cramped controls and requiring a large chunk of your network to make it happen. Not being able to take those games on the road kills its potential as a true handheld competitor.

I see this being a flash in the pan that probably won't be able to move as many units as the Vita, let alone 3DS. Time will tell.

Skotski

#87

Skotski said:

You know what?
I hope it does well. So it'll shut up the naysayers. Because that's what we hoped for the 3DS, and we should hope the same for the competition.
I personally don't want it, but... that's because I never fell in love with Steam. And I have a laptop, so...

I don't think it'll compete with the 3DS.
Because the PC doesn't really compete with home consoles. It's its own thing. And if this succeeds? It'll be its own thing too.

MAXIMUS

#88

MAXIMUS said:

Actually, I said that wrong. I also love mobile gaming on my XL. I meant to say that most people prefer to play mobile friendly games on their mobile device instead of home console experiences on their mobile devices. For example, NSMB2 or SMB 3D Land, where you can play levels in under 10 minutes at a time instead of full on home experiences. This was what the PSP and subsequently Vita offers and both have failed to over take Nintendo's vision of what mobile gaming should be.

Schprocket

#90

Schprocket said:

So forgetting the specifics and focusing on concept, how is this idea radically different from the Wi U's Gamepad?

crash3386

#91

crash3386 said:

As much as I hate to say it Nintendo may need to watch out as the so called Project Sheild runs play store apps... Nintendo seem to be holding back alot of good games eg Snes support and GBA 2 of there best consoles this has forced me to stop playing there new stuff as im bored of the same rubbish. simply making me play my original snes for fun as I reuse to by an xbox or playstation

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