Google Plays Up Nexus 7 Tablet Gaming Chops

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…

Video not working? click here.

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

Google Plays Up Nexus 7 Tablet Gaming Chops


  • Can you see yourself on the train with one instead of, say, a ~$349 PS Vita?


    Cheaper does not necessarily mean it’s better.

    • I have owned 2 tablets (Acer Iconia a501) and a psvita and the Vita shits all over the tablets for train use, a tablet needs network connectivity in my opinion and without it it is just dead weight.

      That said if this had Micro SD and sub 200$ then i would be damn interested.

    • Agreed, I would much prefer a Vita on the train then some touch screen for gaming. Maybe a tower defence would be fine if you’re ok with limiting yourself.

  • Really interested to see the pricing on the Microsoft surface now, if it is less than $750 I’ll go for one of those, if not, this might be next on the list

  • I like my Sony Tablet S… and PS Vita. Vita is great for gaming, and the tablet is comfortable to hold due to its ‘folded magazine’ shape, and is also Playstation Certified.

  • “And it looks like those 12 GPU cores aren’t exactly physical; just shader cores”

    Close, it’s not a unified architecture so there’s 4 vertex pipes and 8 fragment pipes.

    Calling them “cores” is a stretch, the architecture is more like 8 year old PC tech, similar to the PS3.

    • > the architecture is more like 8 year old PC tech, similar to the PS3.

      Still good enough for gaming on the go, in other words? But maybe not. iPad 3 is monstrously powerful compared to the Nexus 7, but the iPad is still only good for tablet style games, or traditional games with controls that have been modified for the tablet. There’s no reason to think the Nexus 7 will be any different.

  • I’ll say the same thing here that I said over on Gizmodo. I really a proper tablet from Google, not a glorified e-reader.

    It’s a pity because this had potential, but I’ll probably give this one a miss. No 3G or 4G and no expandable storage kinda seal the deal for me too. Yes Google are pushing their cloud service but especially in Australia it’s a bit unreasonable to expect users to have gigabytes of data in the cloud. 7 inches for me is still too small for a screen. The device itself also looks kinda ugly with that huge bezel it as.

    I understand they are competing with the Kindle Fire (which isn’t even available in this country) but it still makes me disappointed. When the specs were leaked the other day I was optimistic, but now that it’s been officially revealed, it looks like I’ll need to keep waiting for a decent tablet before I enter the market.

    If they release a more up-market version of this, with say a 10 inch screen, 3G and/or 4G and expandable storage, I’ll say shut up and take my money. But until then I think my wallet will stay closed. I really want to enter the tablet market, but there’s just nothing good out there.

    • Err, I mean “I really WANTED a proper tablet from Google”.


      “that huge bezel it HAS”

      Prood read fail.

      • I’m going to assume that “Prood” was a deliberate typo

        In which case I see what you did there…. Well played

      • To be honest no. The only ones that I had me eye on were this one, which now looks like it’s off the radar, and Surface. I like what’s been revealed about the hardware specs of the surface, but it’s the software I’m skeptical about, with the whole xbox integration thing possibly being extremely annoying considering I don’t have an xbox. It’s possible that could be off my radar too, which doesn’t leave me with much else apart from the lacklustre tablet offerings from Samsung and Acer and the pieces of crap Apple call iPads.

    • I was a bit surprised by some a lot of the negative reactions at first, but after reading some more detailed comments like this it seems it’s just a case of people having different use cases in mind for their tablets.

      “A glorified e-reader” is actually a fair description, and in my case is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m mostly looking to be using this around the home connected to my local wifi so I have no real need for lots of storage or 3g.

      Not entirely sure about the 7″ form factor, kinda felt like I’d prefer a 10″. But the DPI is more important to me and the only real competitor I know of in that regard is the much more expensive iPad 3.

  • I never found the biggest issue with gaming on a tablet to be price or power, the entire issue I have is that touch screens are a shit control system for the type of games I enjoy playing. (Besides adventure games, Monkey Island 2 on iPad is sweet!)

    • Yeah there’s that problem too. That’s why I have an Xperia Play for my mobile gaming needs, so even if I did get a tablet I likely wouldn’t be using it for much gaming. The main motivation is being able to do serious web browsing because try as it might a phone screen just isn’t big enough for that…but besides that there really isn’t anything in these tablets that I’d use that my phone can’t already do.

  • Can someone please tell me if the google tablet is better or more powerful than the new iPad for internet , games , books etc ? My wife and i both have an iPhone 4s and use iTunes quite regularly , thanks.

    • If you mean ‘powerful’ as in spec-wise, then no idea since Apple never officially specifies the details on their processors. You can make some guesses with benchmark programs and the current A4S is roughly about the same as the Tegra 3.

      I’d say the Nexus 7 is about the same in terms of browsing (both with Google Chrome, but Apple restricts the use of non-Safari browsers from being set to default) and books. iPad is better for gaming simply because at the moment, the iOS appstore has a much healthier gaming ecosystem. It might change, but who knows.

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