NVIDIA SHIELD: Designed for the Lazy

SHIELD handheld allows full-size controller play for graphics-intensive Android games, and PC streamed titles through Steam anywhere around the house.

Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcment and Logistics DivisionPsych.In a move that makes me smile like the nerd I am, NVIDIA’s Project SHIELD is now SHIELD; a gaming portable for open platforms. It is the size of a full-sized game controller (and in fact, looks like an Xbox controller that sprouted a flip-screen) with a 5” 720p retinal display, and is powered by the new Tegra 4 processor. It will work with both Android and PC. var adunit_index = 4000; if ((adunit_index != 1000 & adunit_index != 1001) || (adunit_index == 1000 && device_category != 'MOBILE') || (adunit_index == 1001 && device_category == 'MOBILE')) { if (active_ad_units[adunit_index] != undefined) { console.log('Dyn Unit Legacy', active_ad_units[adunit_index], adunit_index); googletag.cmd.push(function () { var adunit_index = 4000; if (typeof(pubwise) != 'undefined' & pubwise.enabled === true) { console.log('Dyn PW'); pwpbjs.que.push(function() { pubwiseLazyLoad([gptadslots[adunit_index]], true); }); } else { console.log('Dyn Direct'); googletag.display('div-sjr-4000'); googletag.pubads().refresh([gptadslots[adunit_index]]); } //googletag.pubads().refresh([gptadslots[4000]]); }); } } AndroidNow, its first function is one that doesn’t really grab me right away. Like the Wii U, NVIDIA is trying to pave the way towards easier ports and better games for phone and tablet game developers. As I pointed out in a previous article, while this may be a handy feature to have, smartphone and tablet users already have smartphones and tablets to play the small casual time wasters that define the current Android gaming platform. At $349 MSRP, the NVIDIA SHIELD is even more expensive than the Wii U.This isn’t to say that Angry Birds is the endgame for this ambitious new handheld. SHIELD is definitely pushing for more intense games and graphics on the Android spectrum, offering SHIELD-optimized Sonic 4 Episode II THD and Expendable: Rearmed preloaded on the system right out of the box. A complete list of additional SHIELD-optimized games can be found here.Between the Wii U (while I may criticize the Wii U for how it is currently doing, I have every confidence that the slow starter will be a long-running success if the catalog is given time to build up) and the SHIELD, it looks like the future of Android gaming is moving faster than ever towards high-quality, high-resource handheld gaming.What is infinitely more exciting, and the primary reason why I believe players would be more willing to shell out money for this baby, is its Play PC function, which will be released as a beta feature at launch.PC StreamingPromising the player “the freedom to be AFK,” the Play PC feature allows PC game streaming; the power to wirelessly access your GeForce GTX-powered computer from the comfort of your couch. It is integrated with Steam Big Picture, allowing you to play PC games on a full-size controller with ultra-low latency thanks to “SHIELD’S game-speed Wi-Fi and the fast performance of GeForce GTX GPUs.”Featured games for the beta are big-name titles that you’d actually want to play: Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2, Skyrim, Dishonored, Left 4 Dead 2, and Portal 2. I confess to my moments of definite couch potatoisms. I have spent many hours twisting into strange positions with keyboard and mouse so that I could AVA in the relative comfort of my bed during the wee hours of the morning when I played Global Agenda. Being able to play my Steam collection away from my computer, simply because I really am just that lazy, has its charm.AestheticsOn an (even) less serious note, how well does the design of SHIELD appeal to you?Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the Xbox controller (small hands, you know?)—it’s never fit right for me, and the SHIELD looks like an Xbox controller. But that’s all right, I can adapt. And seeing the SHIELD closed just makes me smile.Tell me: do you see Batman’s cowl minus the pointy ears, or the top of Iron Man’s head/mask? (I’d have said War Machine due to the color palette, but he doesn’t have those cheekbone lines or as much lidded scowl to his current design and you know it.)Players interested in pre-purchasing the NVIDIA SHIELD can sign up for the email list here. 

Featured Columnist

Avid PC gamer and long-time console lover. I enjoy sneaking, stealing everything not nailed down, and shooting zombies in the face. I'm also a cat.

Published Aug. 5th 2013
  • Reilly C.
    Columnist
    So, it looks like a Ouya but mobile. Welp...
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    A little, but I don't think it's the Android applications that excite people about the SHIELD as it is for the Ouya. If it were for that alone, I'd go with the Ouya.
  • McLain Anderson
    Columnist
    I wonder if it will be able to stream Android games to your TV? That would be detrimental to the OUYA for sure.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    The specs say that its local connectivity includes standard USB, microUSB, and miniHDMI so it really just might.
  • McLain Anderson
    Columnist
    Interesting. If it can, that could definitely help sway me over to the Shield xD
  • McLain Anderson
    Columnist
    Awesomepost Mirroedsakura! I have to admit, I'm pretty excited for the Shield but the price and design of it really throw me off for something I'm only really interested in using for streaming my games, which is probably going to be on many more devices fairly soon if it builds up some popularity.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah, it's a bit hefty to sign away just for the privilege of taking your game to the kitchen table with you. (Of course, my primary use for my laptop is to be able to do internet things from bed, which happens to be about 90 degrees and 3 feet away from my desktop... so it's not like it'd be the first time...)

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