Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nvidia Shields CES from the ordinary...

Well, we're one day into the official start of CES.  Although for gamers it seems the interesting information is coming from the fringes instead of the heart of the show.  Case in point.  While everyone is going to be talking about faster tablets and touch screens on laptops gamers could care less.  What gets my attention as a gamer has nothing to do with updating my Facebook page or realtime access to Gmail. 

PCPerspective has been on the ground skirting the periphery of CES for the past few days and among the most interesting back room demonstrations comes from Nvidia. 

It's name is Shield, and what it is a game controller with a Tegra 4 chip running Android Jellybean and a 5 inch android powered 720P display.  Among its interesting features is the capability to play games like any other handheld device but when in proximity to an appropriately configured PC to actually use the PC's resources instead of the Tegra 4 chip. 
It's been explained as being like a localized version of Onlive or GaiKai without the corresponding and sometimes debilitating lag those services introduce.  When in proximity to the PC, the Shield device becomes a remote controller and display for the chosen game while the PC does all the heavy lifting. 

361259_Buy Direct and SAVE on Mad Catz productsRyan Shrout of PCPer spent some time playing Hawken and Black Ops 2 on the device.  Nvidia reps describe the device as being very close to production.  It's a purpose built device meant for gaming so forget about using it for your GoToMyPC sessions or dropbox syncs.  In fact when the PC is working in concert with the Shield device the display mirrors the activity on the controller and is otherwise unavailable.  So much for virtualization.

Check out the video below.  It's an interesting exercise but like the WiiU may struggle to find enough of a market to become viable.  If you already have a 30' display and powerful gaming PC in the same room why bother squinting at a 5 inch screen?  It is portable but on its own its about as capable as a good smartphone but 3 times as large and not as versatile. 

Time will tell if Nvidia is reading the tea leaves or just trying to be cool.

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