May 14, 2013
Much-Hyped SHIELD Gaming System Ships June For $349
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The much talked about Project SHIELD, a handheld gaming system from Nvidia that runs on the company's Tegra 4 mobile processor, will be available next month. In a recent blog post, the graphics chip maker said the system will ship in June.
The system will sell for $349, and retailers will include Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computers. Initial pre-orders are only available to those who signed up in advance, according to PC Magazine. Pre-orders will begin on May 20 for the general public at shield.NVIDIA.com.
The borderline portable SHIELD runs on the Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean operating system and consists of a controller with a flip screen attached. SHIELD promises better control of Android games, combining analog and digital controls with the standard touchscreen interface used in most Android systems. In addition to the controllers, the 5-inch screen boasts a multi-touch, 720p retinal display.
Nvidia's Tegra 4 chip powers the mobile processor and delivers graphics with 72 cores, four CPU cores and 2GB or RAM. A fast wireless connection is powered by an 802.11n 2.2 MIMO game-speed Wi-Fi standard.
As an Android-based system, SHIELD will run all Android apps as well as apps built for the Tegra 4 processor.
"SHIELD is the one device that taps into the planet's largest ecosystem of games — spanning Nvidia TegraZone, Google Play and Steam. Rediscover your Android games with the mobility, control and performance of SHIELD. Connect to your Google Play account to enjoy your favorite movies, music and apps," Nvidia's Jason Paul said in the blog post.
Project SHIELD was first announced at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show. The move toward an Android system follows the trend of shrinking PC sales and a growing mobile device market. The company already produces its mobile processor for use in smartphones and tablets.
"Building its own game device to showcase its processors goes a step further and underscores the urgency of finding new markets as Nvidia faces tough competition from Qualcomm in smartphones and tablets," wrote Reuters´ Noel Randewich.
While the SHIELD system was originally touted as being able to stream and play PC and console games, the company said the feature is currently being tested and will not be immediately available at the time of SHIELD's launch.
Nvidia may find a sweet spot in the gaming market for this new device. "At $349, the price will be fine for Nvidia's target audiences, Nvidia GTX PC owners, and hard core Android gamers. If it becomes the device every kid wants for the holiday, then it could expand its footprint," analyst Patrick Moorhead, from Moor Insights & Strategy wrote in PC Magazine.
"The two big differentiators for SHIELD are that it's the only device to play Android games with an integrated gamepad and the only device that extends PC gaming into the living room."
Nvidia's TegraZone currently offers 76 games including a number of PC and Console titles adapted for the platform such as Max Payne, Sonic 4, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and NBA 2K13, PC World reports.