Project Shield. It sounds like something out of a Marvel comic but this is actually NVIDIA’s latest creation. A handheld, mobile game console that is so much more.
Tonight, before NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stepped onto the CES stage to deliver his opening keynote, we were told there would be some surprises. A new GeForce card? The much-rumored Optimus for desktop applications perhaps? How about a closer partnership with ARM? The list was indeed limitless but the actual groundbreaking news was something a bit unexpected: it’s called Project Shield.
At its most basic, Project Shield is a handheld game console that utilizes the new Tegra 4 SOC and Google’s Android Jelly Bean operating system. It also packs a foldable 5” 720P touchscreen display alongside a mini HDMI connector (which can be used to stream Shield display information to an external display), 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD slot and a micro USB connector for charging and data transfers.
Naturally, directional buttons, analog joysticks and all of the other expected gaming-grade input options are included. Internal storage size wasn’t discussed but supposedly Project Shield will last between 5-10 hours when gaming and over 24 hours when viewing HD video.
Other interesting items have been included as well. A customizable back cover is present so every user can have a unique look for their Shield. In addition, NVIDIA has developed a unique audio system that utilizes a bass reflex design to dramatically increase sound fidelity.
With this as a starting point, NVIDIA set out to harmonize the Android experience and PC gaming through the (hopefully) seamless culmination of several technologies. This “best of both worlds “approach may sound like a tall order but NVIDIA GRID, GeForce Experience and Tegra Zone, have been working together to ensure it happens. By utilizing all of these technologies, Project Shield can play games purchased through the Play Store by linking to your Google account while also streaming content from your PC. If NVIDIA’s GRID technology takes off, Shield will even be able to stream games directly from the cloud, through your internet connection and onto the 5” screen. The possibilities really do look endless. It even has the capability to use Steam’s Big Picture service through your home PC.
Project Shield uses GeForce Experience’s presence on your gaming PC (you will of course need an NVIDIA graphics card for this) as a communication and optimization backbone for in-home streaming. This can be done over WiFi or Ethernet.
Some items weren’t addressed like pricing, distribution partners, availability and latency when use to stream from a PC. Those items are likely to slowly trickle out as an official release date approaches.
As more information becomes available, Hardware Canucks will have follow up articles but until then, NVIDIA’s full press release has been repeated below.
CES – NVIDIA today announced Project SHIELD, a gaming portable for open platforms, designed for gamers who yearn to play when, where and how they want.
Created with the philosophy that gaming should be open and flexible, Project SHIELD flawlessly plays both Android and PC titles. As a pure Android device, it gives access to any game on Google Play. And as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its STEAM game library from anywhere in the home.
“Project SHIELD was created by NVIDIA engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer at NVIDIA. “We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love SHIELD as much as we do.”
Project SHIELD combines the advanced processing power of NVIDIA Tegra® 4, breakthrough game-speed Wi-Fi technology and stunning HD video and audio built into a console-grade controller. It can be used to play on its own integrated screen or on a big screen, and on the couch or on the go.
Tegra 4 at Its Heart
At the core of Project SHIELD is the world’s fastest mobile processor, the new NVIDIA Tegra 4, which delivers enormous power from its custom 72-core GeForce GPU and the first quad-core application of ARM’s most advanced CPU core, the Cortex-A15. These, combined with its battery-saver core and energy-saving PRISM 2 technology, deliver hours of gameplay on a single charge.
Windows and Android Games
Windows and Android are the world’s most successful computing platforms, with massive ecosystems of system and software developers. While not specifically designed for gaming, both open platforms have drawn gamers by the millions. Project SHIELD is designed to allow them to enjoy Android and Windows games in a new, exciting way.
Project SHIELD can instantly download Android games, including Android-optimized titles available on NVIDIA’s TegraZone™ game store, which has already delivered more than 6 million downloads to gamers. It can also be used as a wireless game receiver to a nearby PC equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 GPU or higher.
Project SHIELD’s ergonomic controller was built for the gamer who wants ultimate control and precision.
Retinal Gaming Display
Brilliant gameplay and video are provided by Project SHIELD’s integrated 5-inch, 1280×720 HD retinal multitouch display, with 294 dpi. Plus, Tegra 4 with Direct Touch technology gives it touch responsiveness that is a more consistent, accurate and smooth-flowing touch input experience than a standard touch device.
Tuned Port, Bass Reflex Portable Speaker System
Deep, rich audio is critical for a great gaming experience. And Project SHIELD provides fidelity and dynamic range never before available on a portable device, through its custom, bass reflex, tuned port audio system — with twice the low-frequency output of high-end laptops.
Project SHIELD can also access Android apps such as Hulu, Netflix and Slacker Radio, so users can enjoy their movies and music anywhere without expensive, clumsy wired or wireless speakers.
Support by Leading Industry Analyst
Patrick Moorhead, president and lead analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said: “The market has waited years for a breakthrough gaming device that offers the flexibility, quality and total enjoyment of Project SHIELD. Few companies other than NVIDIA have the vision, guts and deep gaming experience to have pulled this off.”
Support by Leading Game Developers
Yves Guillemot, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ubisoft, said: “Ubisoft is always excited about new hardware developments, and Project SHIELD promises to bring both mobile and PC gamers a great new gaming experience. Seeing the PC version of Assassin’s Creed III run on the device is a great example of this, and further strengthens Ubisoft’s long-standing relationship with NVIDIA.”
Mark Rein, vice president and co-founder of Epic Games, said: “With Project SHIELD, NVIDIA brings an uncompromising, high-performance console experience to mobile devices. Amazing games including Real Boxing and Hawken, which utilize the latest Unreal Engine technology, look fantastic on Project SHIELD. This is just the beginning, and we’re truly excited to see what more Unreal Engine developers will do with so much horsepower in such a compact gaming device.”
Bill Wagner, chief production officer at Meteor Entertainment, said: “Coming from the openness of a PC platform, we love how accessible Project SHIELD is, and the flexibility it gives gamers everywhere. Project SHIELD gives us the cutting-edge ability to bring a huge free-to-play PC game like Hawken to the handheld gaming audience.”
Support by Broader Industry
“Shadowgun and Dead Trigger showed how Tegra can redefine mobile gaming on Android. Project SHIELD’s performance has allowed us to bring an even better experience with Dead Trigger 2, debuting first on Tegra 4 devices. Our fans are going to love it.”
- Marek Rabas, chief executive officer of MADFINGER Games
“Project SHIELD has changed how we approach mobile game development. Tegra 4 helped us create Bloodsword – a new game debuting with the highest resolution textures, graphics and shading we’ve ever seen on a portable device.”
- Seunghee Do, co-founder at OneQ Soft
“We are very excited to be part of Project SHIELD, and are quite amazed by the gaming potential of this device. Project SHIELD is by far the fastest mobile device we’ve worked on and it lets us put console quality graphics on a handheld device.”
- Stine Waern, chief executive officer at Ravn Studio AS
“Thanks to Project SHIELD’s performance, we’re able to use the same quality textures and shaders in Rochard as on the PC version. We’re super excited to bring Rochard to Project SHIELD, the first time it’s ever been playable on a mobile device.”
- Jan Achrenius, chief executive officer at Recoil Games
“Put simply, Project SHIELD is an amazing leap forward, enabling us to create console-quality visuals previously unthinkable on a mobile platform.”
- Arden Aspinall, chief executive officer and project lead at TickTock Games Ltd.
More information is available at shield.nvidia.com.