October 29, 2013
Nvidia Rolls Out Massive SHIELD Update, Unlocks Support for Thousands Of Additional Android Games
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Nvidia released an update for its SHIELD Android-based handheld gaming system on Monday. The over-the-air update upgrades the operating system to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Gamers can now access more Android-based games, and play their games on a big screen TV.
The updated software allows for a number of new functions on the handheld device that Nvidia released in June. The details of the update were listed in a post on the Nvidia blog written by Jason Paul on Monday.
One of the main points of the update is SHIELD Game Mapper. The update allows gamers to convert touch-based Android games into ones that can be played with a D-Pad-style controller. This means that Angry Birds, Words With Friends and a whole host of games designed for touchscreen tablets can now be played on the device. While some games will work better than others using the controller, it opens up games that were previously planned, but not accessible for SHIELD. Games available up until now were those developed specifically for the Nvidia system.
"The biggest question marks with any gaming device are always around quantity and quality of the games. Google Play's massive ecosystem of games mean SHIELD had a leg up on traditional consoles. And while almost every touch-based game on Google Play was playable using SHIELD's touchscreen, they weren't able to take full advantage of SHIELD's capabilities," wrote Paul on the Nvidia blog.
Console Mode is a new bonus for SHIELD owners. The new mode allows the portable SHIELD device to be plugged into an HDTV for big screen gaming. The device can hook up to the TV to allow owners to play Android games, browse the web, and watch movies and video content in native HD at 1080p. The controller connects via Bluetooth so owners aren't tethered to the TV.
The mode allows for more than just playing - and playing with - content from the tablet. "Nvidia GameStream is Console Mode-ready. So you'll be able to stream your PC games - and enjoy them on - the big screen," said Paul.
GameStream was previously only available to some in beta. The new function improves the streaming experience. It allows gamers to play PC games on the SHIELD platform, and on the TV when connected. It is optimized for game speed Wi-Fi with ultra-low latency and up to 60 frames per second.
"GameStream coupled with Console Mode means you can now play PC games on your big screen in 720p without having to drag your PC into the living room," Paul wrote.
There are some administrative features that come with the update to Android 4.3. Those include restricted profiles, expandable and actionable notifications and improvements that make the handheld's operations feel more fluid, fast and smooth, Paul said.
The update also expands SHIELD's ability to move select game and app files to SD cards to free up more space on SHIELD's internal storage. Gamers can move both .OBB and .APK files to SD.
The update comes at a price -- that is a price break. "To celebrate the official release of GameStream, for a limited time Nvidia will offer up to $100 off SHIELD plus free copies of 'Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag,' 'Splinter Cell: Blacklist' and 'Batman: Arkham Origins' with the purchase of select GeForce GTX graphics cards," Paul Wrote. Nvidia also recommends upgrading to a GameStream-Ready Wi-Fi router for those taking part in the package.