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NVIDIA Project Shield Hands-On


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Showing 1-21 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 8, 2013 7:42:00 AM PST
GarionOrb says:
Interesting stuff...

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/08/ces-project-shield-hands-on-impressions

After last night's surprise reveal of Nvidia's Android-powered gaming platform Project Shield, we couldn't wait to go hands-on with the device ourselves to put some nagging questions to rest. Luckily we didn't have to wait long - today IGN got to poke and prod the console-in-a-controller to our heart's content, as well as demo a variety of gaming experiences.

High Build Quality

The device itself is a bit heavier and a bit bulkier than a standard console controller, weighing in at around one pound. An average-sized pair of male hands won't have any trouble stretching their index fingers to the trigers or their thumbs to any of the face buttons or analog sticks, but it does feel noticeably larger in-hand than an Xbox 360 controller. The four back triggers are set up exactly like the 360's, with two "bumper" triggers along the top and two analog triggers just beneath. The four convex face buttons feel satisfyingly snappy.

In fact, the entire build of the device itself feels solid and responsive. The concave dual analog inputs seem to have no noticeable "dead zone" and feel high quality. Five center buttons (including another obviously Xbox-inspired detail in the central 'Nvidia' button) are used for various key Android functions like returning home or returning to the previous menu.

The non-detachable hinged screen is very thin and adds little to the bulk and weight of the device. Specific screen specs are still forthcoming, but Nvidia has confirmed that it is a 5-inch 720p display. When the screen is flipped shut gamers can access the device's customizable cover plate. Like Xbox 360 face plates, these easily snap in and off the device, presumably allowing gamers to customize their Project Shield with a plate of their choosing.

The only real negative regarding Project Shield as a controller (beyond its size and heft) is the lackluster D-Pad. Classic gamers are once again out of luck - the device's digital D-Pad is wobbly and disc-shaped and seems ill-suited for fine 2D control.

PC Game Streaming

We also got a chance to see Project Shield's PC game streaming functionality - arguably one of its most alluring features. When combined with a gaming PC on a shared local network, Project Shield can remotely access any game you own, allowing you to stream and play HD games directly on the device. The company demoed Borderlands 2 running in realtime on the Shield from alongside a PC in the same room, demonstrating the low-latency streaming between the two devices. The game ran as if it was being processed and rendered right on the handheld. There was no recognizable lag between when commands were entered on the device and when they were reflected on the screen.

There are some caveats, however. In order to access the feature, users must have an Nvidia-based graphics card - 600 series or above - and have the company's GeForce Experience optimization software installed. When the Project Shield is paired, the software detects the optimal graphics settings for its 5-inch 720p display, emphasizing high-framerates to counteract the impact of wireless streaming.

Between the simple cost of ownership of an Nvidia 600-series desktop or 600M laptop and the cost of the handheld itself, there is a considerable amount of effort and funds required to harness half of the device's promise. But then again, Nvidia representatives made no effort to deny that Project Shield is a niche product. This is a product for a very specific audience of hardcore gamers. The question is: is the niche-within-a-niche the company is targeting large enough to make the Shield a growing, successful platform?

Android Muscle

Project Shield's very brief Dead Trigger 2 demo is too short to truly get a feel for what the platform's Tegra 4 chip will be able to do graphically, but given that Tegra 3-optimized games are already approaching a level of visual fidelity akin to current-gen launch title, it's safe to assume that high-end 3D mobile games will look fantastic on the 5-inch 720p display.

Beyond a strange game design choice (in this Dead Trigger 2 demo your gun fires automatically when your reticle passes over an enemy), the entire experience controlled as one would expect. Right and left analog sticks allowed for full freedom of movement. Actions like prev/next weapon swapping and lobbing grenades could be mapped to any face or shoulder button.

Project Shield seems a natural fit for console-style mobile games with complex button inputs. But reaching across the device to interact with the touch screen felt awkward - this is not likely be a platform suited for touch-heavy mobile games.

Many Project Shield details, including a list of supported games, a final name, and most critically, a price-tag, remain under wraps for now. Nvidia plans to ship the device in Q2 of this year, so answers on Project Shield's remaining questions can't be too far off.

The rapid rise of tablet interfaces and touch gaming means that Project Shield isn't likely to disrupt the core mobile games industry in any major way. But at the right price, with the right list of supported games and with the seamless integration of PC game streaming this could be a very powerful console-in-a-controller for a specific audience.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 7:57:57 AM PST
JJ4prez says:
"When the screen is flipped shut gamers can access the device's customizable cover plate. Like Xbox 360 face plates, these easily snap in and off the device, presumably allowing gamers to customize their Project Shield with a plate of their choosing."

Awesome idea.

"The company demoed Borderlands 2 running in realtime on the Shield from alongside a PC in the same room, demonstrating the low-latency streaming between the two devices. The game ran as if it was being processed and rendered right on the handheld. There was no recognizable lag between when commands were entered on the device and when they were reflected on the screen."

So sick!!!

"users must have an Nvidia-based graphics card - 600 series or above - and have the company's GeForce Experience optimization software installed."

Argh, might have to upgrade to a 660ti then :P

This is beginning to sound legendary!

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:00:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:13:57 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
In my excitement over the announcement yesterday in combination with a GPU upgrade being a bit overdue, I bought a GTX 650 Ti on impulse. Hopefully it comes this week.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:04:15 AM PST
JJ4prez says:
Well you needed a gpu to run the games you bought on Steam though :P

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:05:02 AM PST
If you could do this over 4G I might be interested.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:11:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:12:44 AM PST
got mayo?™ says:
Just the thought of PhysX in Borderlands 2 cascading on that high pixel density screen gave me bonage.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:12:51 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
Would you realistically be willing to pay for the separate data plan required?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:14:09 AM PST
With AT&T I can share my data plan across devices and I have a grandfathered unlimited plan.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:15:15 AM PST
got mayo?™ says:
I do wonder if a workaround ...like your Android device connected to your home network (it already does) and used as a hotspot is do-able...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:16:41 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
What if it had to be Verizon? Vita's 3G connectivity is exclusive to AT&T.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:18:10 AM PST
In that case, no. I'm having a hard time seeing the draw of this device in general. The only place I am during the day that I can guarantee a good wi-fi signal is at home, and I have a pretty sweet computer that can output to my TV to play games on. Otherwise this thing would just be an app game player.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:19:06 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
What they've said so far is that it has to stream directly from a PC running the NVidia experience to the Shield through a router. They haven't said anything about the possibility of remote play over the webtubes.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:26:27 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:27:17 AM PST
I was wondering....I know that in steam you can add other games which weren't purchased from steam onto your list such as League Of Legends, Dragon Age, etc.

I wonder if I could add LoL to my steam list and then play it via the shield. If so then this would be an almost guaranteed buy. My router can reach outside so that means that I could play LoL while grilling/smoking meat.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:27:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:44:52 AM PST
jSten says:
Perhaps I'm being cynical here, but Borderlands 2 played by some random dude is not exactly a good test for input lag. Load up a high speed twitch shmup or rhythm game, with a player who regularly clears the game behind the wheel, and let them tell me it has "no recognizable lag".

Sounds like it will be fine for more general gaming at least. Although honestly I can't see myself buying one for streaming purposes unless they make it a package deal with the necessary graphics card.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:27:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:29:07 AM PST
I think the shield streams any games the Kepler chip can push through, not just Steam.

EDIT: "When combined with a gaming PC on a shared local network, Project Shield can remotely access any game you own, allowing you to stream and play HD games directly on the device. "

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:33:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:33:50 AM PST
Well yeah....Definitely going to look into this then. I just hope that it isn't crazy expensive seeing as how I'm fine with gaming on my PC but could see how this could be awesome in certain situations.

For some reason I thought it was just specific to steam libraries...Dunno why.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:34:59 AM PST
The original posts used taglines like, "Steam on the Go" and such.

I'm glad it covers all games though. I think I'm going to pick one of these up next year with a brand spanking new NVidia GPU. I wanted to upgrade for Star Citizen anyway.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:36:21 AM PST
So, uh, to all the people who are excited about this, where do you envision using it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:38:55 AM PST
Bathroom.

Exclusively.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:51:42 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
It's because the new Big Picture mode on steam would work great with the built in controller, and NVidia appears to be trying to convert some console gamers with this and their new NVidia experience that autotweaks graphics settings based on your setup.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:54:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:56:14 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
Couch and bed, mostly.

My desktop is in our office, which my wife works from home in. It gets pretty cluttered sometimes and she doesn't always tidy up after 5 o' clock, so it's usually not the most relaxing or pleasant gaming environment for me. We also regularly retreat to our bedroom on days when we don't feel like dealing with her family that won't be out of our house until March.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  21
Initial post:  Jan 8, 2013
Latest post:  Jan 8, 2013

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