NVIDIA recently announced a new handheld called “Project SHIELD”, a handheld gaming platform that uses some impressive technology to allow you to play free to play Android games as well as stream games directly from your PC to anywhere you might be in your home. Yea, all that I interpreted was “you can play Android and PC rig games while on the toilet” too. Still, that’s pretty awesome.
Let me start off by saying that I DO NOT own an android device, but I DO understand the appeal of this little beauty after playing a few stellar titles on my iPhone that only had one downside for me; the controls. I just hate having to use my thumbs on a touch screen to play a game that’s made for a controller. Motion controls don’t quite feel right to me either, so without a thumbstick and face buttons I tend to lose interest fairly quickly. Modern Combat 4 comes to mind because it’s a game I wanted to get into, but couldn’t because of the touch screen controls. I’d love to be able to play GTA Vice City on the go, but I feel like it’s a lost cause because of the smudge-laden chore that is the smart phone touch screen. Project SHIELD solves that problem and gives you full button/thumbstick control for the titles that you want to play, but maybe can’t enjoy fully because, like me, you can’t stand touch screen or motion controls for more hardcore geared games.
As I mentioned before, there’s a function to allow game streaming from your PC rig straight to your device within your home. The device is completely untethered so it gives you a lot of freedom to play anywhere that you choose. It seems like a rational selling point, but I don’t know if it’s enough to convince the gaming masses. If you’ve spent so much money on a quality rig and monitor in the first place, why fork out the extra cash for some limited mobile functionality? Sure, the device can stream to your HD monitor, but if you’ve already dropped cash on a PC game controller, what’s the point?
On top of that, what hasn’t been addressed enough is that you’ll need a 600 series GPU at minimum. If you’re rocking a decked out gaming rig then that shouldn’t make you flinch, but for someone like me who can’t afford such luxuries, it’s something that I feel should be pointed out a little more clearly.
What about price? Nothing has officially been revealed yet about it, but rumor has it that it could be around the $600 mark. Project SHIELD boasts a retinal quality 720p screen, the Tegra 4 processor, bass reflex stereo speakers, and controls similar to that of a console controller. That sounds like a nice package to me, but is that worth $600? Don’t get me wrong here; it does seem like a really handy little gadget, but if this turns out to not be speculation and ends up accurate then I just don’t see this working out well for NVIDIA. No doubt the hardcore will buy it and they’ll enjoy some moderate success, but if their goal is to reach a broader market I don’t see this going much further than that.
While I applaud NVIDIA on trying to take a bold step in a new direction for gamers, I feel like we need more bang for our buck (if the price turns out to be accurate anyway) in order to warrant a purchase. Could this turn out to be the next N-GAGE?
It’s been said that if you bring up the N-GAGE at NOKIA office parties, you’re denied a piece of cake and receive a pink slip the following day…
Alright…maybe not THAT bad.
Think I’m right? Disagree with me? Tell me all about it in the comments below.