Nvidia’s Shield Out Next Month For Many Moneydollars

By Nathan Grayson on May 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

It's also touchscreen-enabled, but good luck pressing tiny icons like those.

Nvidia’s Shield is technically an Android-based device, but a) what kind of mighty android machine overlord needs a shield and b) we’re a PC gaming website. So then, why am I posting about this rare breed of land-dwelling game clam? Well, because it flawlessly streams just about any PC game you can throw at it – or at least, it will once that feature leaves beta a couple months after launch. Do you feel like an itsy bitsy screen, infinitely twiddle-able thumbsticks, and the ability to play anywhere in the whole wide worrrrrrrrrrrld (as long as your PC is, er, pretty close by) will greatly enhance your experience?  Then stream your eyeballs past the break for details.

According to The Verge, Shield will be out next month, with pre-orders beginning on May 20th. And the price? $349.99, which is quite a bit for a standalone handheld gaming device. It really comes down to what you’re hoping to get out of it, though. If you could see yourself, say, streaming Steam Big Picture games frequently and diving headfirst into the deep end of Android’s ever-deepening sea, it might be worth the entry fee.

Honestly, though, we’re talking about a new hardware launch here. Waiting’s probably your best bet, if only because these things tend to take their first steps about as confidently as Humpty Dumpty. It’s only after the initial bellyflop that hardware makers start picking up all the pieces. Case in point – as I noted earlier – PC streaming isn’t even fully ready yet. For many of you, I imagine that’s pretty much a deal-breaker all by its lonesome.

So yes, watch and wait. Gameclams might seem unassuming enough, but even they can cause some pretty serious trouble when half-baked. I have no idea if Nvidia’s actually will be, but better safe than $349.99 (plus tax!) poorer.

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59 Comments »

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  1. Teovald says:

    Interesting. I believe that Shield is a glimpse into a future where smartphone will have enough computation power to replace consoles but right now ? I doubt that the product or market are ready.
    Particularly, I don’t see the point in streaming a game from your computer to a handheld 5 meters away.

    • Rosveen says:

      The point is streaming it to your TV without dragging the PC to the living room. Which is still rather useless because at this price you’de be better off saving a little more and getting a PS4.

      You’re right in that it’s a glimpse into the future – today it’s a console, but one day it will be just a handle with thumbsticks for our smartphones. And THAT will be the moment when I’ll seriously consider buying one, because playing on a touchscreen device really isn’t comfortable, so combining it with a fullsized controller is a very good idea.

      As a portable console, Shield will fail if it doesn’t have an interesting games library – and right now it doesn’t look good. Android games can already be played on Android phones, so why would I need a console?

    • kilkrazy says:

      batteries need to make the next leap first

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Lol, Red Dwarf. ;)

        But yeah, quite right, I hadn’t even considered this over all of the other points that need raising.

        Batteries will be a bitch.. however, I suppose it ‘may’ not be that big of a deal in the long run, because seeing as you can’t take it outdoors (or at least not past your front stoop) you can probably just keep a charger plugged into it…

        Batteries ABSOLUTELY would be an issue if it’s functionality had a point to it and it was properly mobile.

        • mokdon05 says:

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          (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

    • Corb says:

      Problems I see:
      1) $100 more than a friggin Vtia
      2) If you’re in your house….you probably already have your pc hooked up to your big screen
      3) MK & thumbstick cause I’m a dick
      4) what kilkrazy said
      5) how do you mean it could replace consoles? That thing isn’t going to fit into your pocket very well…not to mention you’d be risking your entire game library by taking it into public.
      6) I really don’t understand the need for streaming…if you could stream it while you were at work from your home…that would be cool…but you can’t do that….

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Seems really quite pointless to me. If I’m in the place where I use my PC, I’ll use my PC.

    If I’m not in the place where I use my PC this doesn’t work.

    • neolith says:

      Oh, I could see some use for such a streaming thingy. But seriously, not for that price. 350$ is quite a lot if for just a little more you can be able to get a decent dedicated machine to plug your TV into. Sure, it won’t be the fastest PC around, but for casual gaming it’ll do.

      • Corb says:

        but you’re right next to your pc….you can just use your pc and if someone is bugging you, you tell them you’re busy and please leave you alone…then you escalate to telling them off :P

      • KDR_11k says:

        Also hackers just figured out how the Wii U Gamepad works, it uses WiFi so I’d expect a PC streaming solution very soon. Since the Wii U bombed you can get it for fairly cheap and it plays some exclusive games as well.

  3. QbeX says:

    Again, why would I want to stream games from my kick ass desktop to 5″ toy in other room over wi-fi ? This just do not compute…

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Because you don’t want to take your desktop into the room you want to be in playing games? Like the bathroom for instance.

      This is more aimed at people who’s lifestyle doesn’t allow them to shut out the world, like parents and people who want to watch tv while playing games but don’t want their desktop in the front room.

      • Lenderz says:

        Does your house only have one room?

        Play in a different room.

        • SominiTheCommenter says:

          If I spend 300$ in a great desktop, a big TV and this 5″ toy, my house will soon have a single room.

          And seriously, watching TV while playing games? What’s wrong with people?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I can multi-task

            But seriously, why does there have to be something wrong with someone who wants to play a game while the tv is on, not every game requires your 100% attention and neither does every tv program! Never ever browsed the web while netflix runs in another window?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          No, you misunderstand – I don’t want to play games in a different room to the rest of the family – right now I am happily playing Anno 2045 while my son plays with his lego and my partner is on facebook. We are chatting, socialising and generally being a normal family. Why would i want to shut the door on that to play my game?

          Not really sticking up for this product, I use a laptop myself, but pointing out that some people like to play games in the same room as other people. Not that hard to understand, is it?

    • Shivoa says:

      Your argument also indicates that laptop sales are 0. No sane person would want to lug around several kgs of low end computer with a crappy, small, usually 720p TN screen when their proper PC is sitting right there.

      Not to say this is a good product but I don’t see why you wouldn’t notice lots of people playing on mobile devices all over the place, including rooms other than the one with the desktop PC (or the same one if that PC is primarily outputting to the TV which may have ball to foot or the like on it).

      • sunkillmoon says:

        what? i don’t know what kind of laptop you own where you need your desktop pc to use it, but mine works fine by itself. it even plays games by itself!

    • wermy says:

      Can you really not conceive of a situation where this would be useful? I sit at a desk working on a computer all day. I don’t want to sit at a desk playing games when I get home, I want to relax on the couch. I also don’t want to take over the TV with playing games, because then my wife and kids couldn’t use it. This would be fantastic.

      • fish99 says:

        I can also see people wanting to take the game they’re playing to bed with them. People read in bed, browse the web, or play mobile games, but with this you can play an extra hour on skyrim while dozing off. Sure you can use a phone/tablet instead, but let’s be honest mobile gaming sucks, and gaming laptop in bed doesn’t work well for a host of reasons – heat, weight, mouse etc.

  4. Screamer says:

    Not another UDraw fiasco please. We might end up with just AMD in the GFX card market! Oh the horror!

    • Stochastic says:

      It’s not like Nvidia’s betting the company on the Shield. They’re just testing the waters at this point.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Rubbish.

        The first non-gpu related consumer product they’ve had to release? Have you seen the amount of punting on the sites they are doing for this? This is all Nvidia are talking about and have talked about for most of the year.. This IS a big deal for them.. it might not have the entire company resting on it’s success, but jobs are certainly at stake here… apart from this Nvidia do not have any other consumer product direction.. this is it folk.. it’s their biggest gamble……………….. and it’s going to fall flat on it’s arse because it’s an utterly pointless product for 99% of pc users.. I mean really.. a 5 ” screen.. what’s the point? You can’t even take it outside, unless you want to sit on your house step.

        • fish99 says:

          It’s not their first non-GPU product, 3D Vision isn’t a GPU.

          The Shield is also, like 3D Vision, a device that ties you into using nvidia GPUs, so there’s extra value there for nvidia beyond whatever money they make from the device itself. Same reason they bought PhysX, it’s about making you choose green for your next GPU.

          Also you can use the Shield outside, to play android games.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      The UDraw was more a case of vastly overestimating demand than anything else. Unless Nvidia has a couple million of these stockpiled away somewhere, there’s probably not much of an issue.

  5. Alex Ball says:

    Ah, I really want one of these. Love the idea of it.
    Shame the pre-order is US only.

  6. Asherie says:

    The streaming is an afterthought, not the proper purpose of this handheld. I don’t see myself getting one as I’ve found most mobile games (android play store) seem watered down because most people wont have a gamepad like that, but use the touch screen instead so the games are catered towards that.

    • Stochastic says:

      Very good point. I think this is the primary challenge that gaming-oriented Android devices will face going forward.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      They were demoing it with some ported-ish games at Pax East, stuff like Max Paine and AndroidBadCallOfDutyClone and one of the newer Sonic games. So they’re trying to get some real games on this thing, at the very least.

      • KDR_11k says:

        Those are probably not NVidia’s doing, there are plenty of games that support gamepads on Android because there are already a few phones with built-in controllers and a lot of easy controller solutions (you can apparently link Android devices to PS3 controllers).

  7. nevarran says:

    So I can sit in my room and stream games from my PC and play them on this device with it’s 5″ display and hear the sound from it’s cool little stereo speakers… wait!… why on earth would I want to do that?!!

  8. ThTa says:

    “$349.99, which is quite a bit for a standalone handheld gaming device.”
    Yeah, but this thing features some awfully more expensive components than your average handheld gaming device, what with the 5″ IPS display and 28nm SoC with (relatively) massive die size, various connectivity options and 16GB NAND, not to mention all the mechanical components (and the completely ridiculous heatsink).

    The only comparable handheld in terms of BoM was the PSVita at launch, and that went for $300 despite having the guaranteed scale advantage and actually making Sony some real money through software sales, allowing them to go for smaller margins.

    That said, this thing isn’t exactly my cup of tea. It seems far too clunky and I’m not entirely sure about Tegra 4. (They’re affording it an insane thermal profile, which means it’s either going to drain the thing in minutes or the device is going to weigh like a brick due to the massive battery they’ve crammed in there.)

    If it somehow were a hundred dollars cheaper (and the battery life was guaranteed to be good), I might’ve considered it just for the wealth of emulators on Android.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, I think the problem is the gap between what consumers are willing to pay for a handheld device (which will compete with the smartphones and tablets that people already own or will buy for other reasons) and what it costs to make.

      I’m more than happy to be proven wrong, but I just can’t see this making a decent dent in the market.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      It’s not a stand alone gaming device.. it NEEDS a PC for ANY of that functionality.. You can use the Android part of it if you want, but what’s the point when your phone will probably end up doing more?

      • ThTa says:

        Your phone won’t, though. Because your phone doesn’t have a full gamepad attached to it (hence my emulators comment) and doesn’t have a heatsink to prevent those ridiculous Cortex-A15s* and that massive GPU from throttling after two seconds at full load.

        Nvidia really is pushing for “WOW SO MANY GRAPHICS” games exclusive to Tegra 4 (as it has for all the Tegras before, though I imagine it’ll be even more important to them now that they actually need that library for their own hardware), so that additional power isn’t theoretical, either.

        This product is exceedingly stupid, yeah, but that stupidity is moreso due to its execution than the ideas behind it. Nvidia intends for this thing to show the power of Tegra 4 on its own and all the streaming tech it’s developed, it’s just that it actually ends up drawing attention to their flaws instead.

        *(Which were never intended for mobile, anyway. The architecture was initially meant for low power servers, only later did ARM introduce big.LITTLE to compensate for the temporary gap in its product line-up. It’s just that unlike Apple and Qualcomm, Nvidia and Samsung don’t really have the ability to create a more suitable architecture themselves at the moment.)

  9. MOKKA says:

    350$ just to play Dark Souls on the toilet. Sounds like a good idea.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      The only problem I can see is that Dark Souls is something of a buttock-clenching game. Especially if you’re getting ready to attempt the Anor Londo archers and you suddenly get an invader to ruining your day… good look passing solids with that level of tension coursing through your adrenaline-fuelled sweaty poo posture.
      Or maybe that’s just me.

  10. Koozer says:

    But…I can already do this with my phone/a tablet with USB, a Wiimote/wireless Xbox controller and an app. Sure it might not be as neat, but it’s sure as hell less expensive.

    /moanmoanmoan

    • Sheng-ji says:

      What app do you suggest? I’ve tried this and I had massive problems with input lag

  11. Lenderz says:

    Hmm interesting device this, I wouldn’t want to stream from my PC to a tiny little handheld, what would make this a more interesting proposition to me would be if Nvidia would come out with a small tv box, like an AppleTV or Roku, which had a separate, wireless Xbox rip off controller. I could imagine streaming console port games from my PC’s Nvidia Graphics card to my TV and playing with a controller, I just don’t see the point in a mobile gaming device for the house.

    This idea would be cheaper than the handheld as it wouldn’t need the batteries or screen etc, and would only need a HDMI and power cable much like a Roku/AppleTV. It seems it would be an easier and more logical approach than creating a mobile gaming system that is anchored to your home wifi.

  12. GameCat says:

    This gonna add immersion in the game. Now you can LITERALLY shat yourself after seeing some huge scary enemy who is gonna murder you in a few seconds.

  13. Cytrom says:

    I’m smelling a massive flop…

  14. bagpuss606 says:

    I’ve been streaming games to my ancient laptop using Splashtop. Shogun 2 and XCOM mostly. Planetside didn’t work too well though you could use it to get your daily certs or update your client. Not tried Skyrim or Fallout because I have broken my installs with too many mods but I think there would be too much input lag.

    I did manage to stream XCOM to an Android phone and though the screen was too small for it to be playable it was still rather cool as a concept. But I don’t see the advantage of the Nvidia device over say a netbook with a PS3 controller.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      This is the point…. you can already get a bit of software that will stream games to a bigger screen on a laptop or such and you’ll have access to far more games to stream because in general a specific compatibility (the shield needs specific compatibility) simply isn’t necessary for other devices. It’s just really dumb.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      A netbook + PS3 controller would be rather unwieldy if you were moving around a lot. Fine if you’re sitting in your living room, not fine if you want to play games during anything remotely mobile (let’s say while pacing a room contemplating the futility of your own existence).

      The proper point of comparison would probably be to a handheld (can’t the Vita do PS3 streaming or something?) or to a phone with a Moga or similar. Though I don’t think you can reasonably say that the PC streaming bit justifies the price, unless you have way too much money or a very specific use case in mind.

  15. Bartack says:

    I would rather have cheese.

  16. uh20 says:

    OS: Windows 8 or Windows 7

    welp, there goes my dreams of having a shield server XD

    not to mention the price is just bonkers.

  17. FlammableD says:

    SIERRA

  18. GooseMunch says:

    Streaming feature sounds pretty cool, but the problem is (aside from gtx600-series requirement and the price) Nvidia has to approve the titles it can stream. If you have a pc game you want to stream to Shield but it’s not on the approved list (because it’s a small indie game that’s under Nvidia’s radar, for example), you’re out of luck.

  19. Merlkir says:

    Meh, I’ll keep my JXD s7300 for half the price.

  20. RProxyOnly says:

    Can we get a show of hand of all the idiots who intend to buy this.

    Why is it that several places consistently announce ‘releases’ for the shield?.. have you not seen this? Someone will say such and such is being released for the shield?.. it’s STUPID.. NOTHING CAN EVER BE RELEASED FOR THE SHIELD BECAUSE NOTHING RUNS ON THE SHIELD.. The games run on the PC which is then streamed to the shield unit (such a fucking stupid and limited idea)

    If you buy this then you deserve all your toys taken away.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      Yup, it’s not like it’s a fully functioning Android device with PC streaming as a secondary feature or anything.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Lol.. that REALLY changes things doesn’t it? A primary feature that’s almost a pointless as it’s secondary. BTW, streaming is being punted as it’s primary feature with the andriod thing being secondary.. read their pr releases.

        • fish99 says:

          It changes things to the extent of making your initial point incorrect. There will be releases for the shield – android tegra 4 enhanced games that work with the shield controls. I don’t think it matters which function you view as primary, but all the marketing I’ve seen has made it clear that the device is also an android gaming device.

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      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      You’re a rather angry chap, aren’t you? Have a cup of tea, eat a biscuit. A cerebral haemorrhage is an unpleasant way to spend one’s afternoon.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        You’re trying to say that you don’t want to see someone cark by apoplectic fit? I’d have though that would be entertainment for the majority..

        TBH though, it does make me angry.. that such a stupid product can be released, and that by the virtue of so much advertising dollar they can actually make it a viable purchases for stupid people who don’t know their arse from a hole in the ground.. People stupid enough to give hard earned for this does make me angry.

  21. RProxyOnly says:

    “It doesn’t have too much of a library yet”

    WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?.. IT CAN NEVER HAVE A LIBRARY.. NOTHING RUNS ON IT!!

    The shield is a ‘dumb terminal’ that you can stream on to.. nothing is actually EVER installed on to it. Seriously, you need to check things out properly to talk about them.

  22. vecordae says:

    I can already do this with a Nexus 7 and splashtop. There are limitations, but the setup is flexible enough for me to play Star Trek Online or Eador on it from whatever wi-fi spot I happen to be attached to.