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Google Plays Up Nexus 7 Tablet Gaming Chops

“Who said mobile gaming has to be casual?” quipped Google’s engineering director, Chris Yerga, at the company’s launch of its first ever tablet this morning. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but the 7-inch (1280 x 800) handheld does have attractive mobile gaming specs: a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a 12-core graphics chip. At $249 in Australia next month, can you see yourself on the train with one instead of, say, a ~$349 PS Vita? Watch the Nexus 7 in action…


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Obviously the two machines are very different beasts. Google’s tablet is pretty much a blown up Android phone (with all the multi-function benefits and touchscreen gaming cons that go with that), and I’m sure you already have one of those anyway. And it looks like those 12 GPU cores aren’t exactly physical; just shader cores (though seriously feel free to correct me if I have that bass ackward). My most lingering impression really, is that Google has gone super competitive with that pricing. And Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) looks like a slick update to the Android OS.

In the video above, Yerga demonstrates Horn from Phosphor Games, who you might remember from the beautiful iPhone action/RPG Dark Meadow. Though Yerga doesn’t actually call Horn an Infinity Blade killer, he gushes that it’s “a detailed world with the kind of environment never before seen on a mobile device. We’ve got lens flares, environmental effects and even individually rendered leaves on the trees.” Is it the kind of experience that until recently you would not have seen outside of a dedicated gaming console? Check out the refracting water droplets in the Dead Trigger demo in the video and let us know what you think in the comments.

Android favourite Gameloft is already on board also. The company will be optimising 10 titles for the Nexus 7, including upcoming games Asphalt 7 and The Amazing Spider-Man. No word yet on Dark Knight Rises though.

Head over to Gizmodo for full Nexus 7 specs.

7-inch 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
Back-lit IPS display
Scratch-resistant Corning glass
1.2MP front-facing camera
Microphone
NFC (Android Beam)
Accelerometer
GPS
Magnetometer
Gyroscope
340 grams