Nvidia, Out Of Nowhere, Announces A New Gaming Handheld

Nvidia, Out Of Nowhere, Announces A New Gaming Handheld

Nvidia just surprised a whole bunch of people by announcing, of all things, a dedicated gaming handheld during the company’s CES press conference.

Also: Nvidia Also Built Its Own Gaming Supercomputer: The Grid

Based on the new Tegra 4 mobile chip, also announced at the show, it’s code-named Nvidia Shield. There are 5-10 hours of battery life, and it’s based on a clamshell design, sort of like a DS (only without the bottom screen).

Running on Android (they say “pure Android”, so hopefully no Nvidia skin), it’s got a MicroSD slot, micro USB and HDMI output (which supports 4K output so long as your display does). The Shield’s 5″ screen is a touchscreen, and is capable of 720p display at 294dpi (they’re calling it a “retinal display”).

Also: Nvidia Also Built Its Own Gaming Supercomputer: The Grid

A small shield on the back of the top screen is removable and customisable. Below you’ll see a size comparison, facing the Shield off against an Xbox 360 pad and a Wii U Controller.

Nvidia say the Shield has “console-grade controls”, which sounds like they’re actually using the same kind of thumbsticks and buttons you get on proper controllers, not the smaller/lesser kind you get on portable platforms.

Here’s the Shield’s media library UI, which can be augmented by the fact it can access the Android versions of apps like Netflix and Hulu.

In addition to running its own Android games, the Shield can also stream games from your PC to the controller, where you can either play them direct on the small screen or, more practically, output to your TV.

A demonstration showing Need For Speed Most Wanted and Assassin’s Creed III being beamed from a PC to the controller was impressive, to say the least.

Because Steam now has its Big Picture mode, the Shield can be used to navigate the store without having to move back to your PC.

Sadly, there was no price or release information provided.


  • Why are all these companies seeing handheld as a viable business option? Vita is barely making ends meet and 3DS survives off Nintendo franchises.

    • Totally agreed. Smartphone/tablet gaming has pretty much crushed the traditional handheld market… certainly has with me.

      • If this thing can run regular android apps then all that smartphone gaming could potentially be controlled with real buttons!


            I read on IGN that it will also be able to remotely play games that are on your PC (even steam games) via your local wifi network.

          • That info wasn’t originally in the article though which is why I read it elsewhere first 😀

          • The question is why would you choose to play your PC games on a small screen instead of your large monitor while at home?

          • A lot of people use the WiiU to play games from the toilet or bedroom or when the TV is in use so I guess people could do that with PC games?

        • That’s nice, but ignores the second-most fundamental reason that phones killed handheld. I always carry my phone. I never carry my DS. The most fundamental reason is that the games are different, but I doubt that having only mobile games will be enough.

          Mind you, 100Mbps wireless (ideal 4G) makes streaming HD games viable, and that might be enough.

      • gee, i don’t know. maybe it is because there are people out there wants something more than angry birds, cut the rope or killzone?

  • Having HDMI out could make it worth something – but 4k displays? Really? And will it only run Android games, or will there be developers looking to make exclusive IPs? Maybe it’s designed to stream games from Nvidia’s new streaming technology through licensing with publishers?
    I’ll sit on the fence until there’s more concrete info on this one, for sure. Out of nowhere indeed.

  • That post definitely clears things up – all of a sudden I’m interested. No arguments re Android, by the way. My S3 is yet to disappoint.

  • Actually, this could be a very smart move, simply because of the possible (note: I said _possible_) gold rush of high-level Android gaming thanks to the Ouya and the Gamestick, as well as the booming business Android tablets have finally started to do in the last six months. Remember, Android accounts allow unlimited hardware installations, so you can buy a game once and install it on your Android phone, Android tablet, Ouya, Gamestick, and now Shield (not that you’d be likely to own all of them, but you get my drift). More importantly, developers can make a “core” Android version of a game, then easily adapt it to Ouya, Gamestick, and Shield versions. I mean, they’re already adapting it to hundreds of Android phones and tablets, so three more devices with static hardware specs will be a snap.

    This isn’t risk-free, by any means, but it’s a reasonably smart gamble.

  • That “retina display” screen is useless when their own guys in the pictures aren’t even looking at the damn thing.

  • Something I can definitely see myself using, but at the same time it sounds like it will be expensive as well. Will be interesting to see what it’s like when it comes out.

  • Am i the only one who doesnt really see the point of this? It plays Android games… So does any Android handset. It plays Steam games… I wouldnt read too much into it, yeah it shows Battlefield 3, Assassins Creed 3 and Borderlands 2 but doesn’t actually show them playing it and playing PC games on the TV, you are pretty much just using it as a controller.

    4K video really wouldn’t mean much for the next few years once there is more 4K content and 4K sets come down to a price where us mere mortals can afford them.

    At the moment i am just a little skeptical, Nvidia are making some big promises here and more often then not these sorts of things are too good to be true.

    • Agreed, how are hey streaming the data to the controller? Nintendo has been rumoured to be developing the game pad for the Wii u since the GameCube. It works great but has limited distance (playable 70% through my house).

      Is this thing going to use wifi? Will it screw up my games or have issues relating to my triple wide setup? How light and comfortable will this thing actually be considering it looks top heavy? Why should I use this over a 360 controller which is lighter, cheaper and depending on the scenario more convenient?

      I’m just not overall impressed. I think they should have at least ripped the Wii u game pads design, it is he’ll comfortable.

  • PC GAMES ON A PORTABLE DEVICE!!! (inside your house) which is still pretty damn awesome. i’m excited!

    ever since the vita, i’ve been wanting more quality games in a portable manner, while playing on my bed with the lights off and headphones on. i find it much more immersive and intimate than my 30″ monitor with surround sound.

    i can’t wait for this!

  • Hmmmm, lets wait and see how the Steambox will turn out. Guys…. I think we may have witnessed a paradigm shift in gaming. Nvidia is teaming up with both Android & Valve…. don’t you guys see what’s happening here? Mobile gaming (Android/iOS) is a booming market, could you imagine Steam somehow merging with Android later down the road? Since Windows 8 is failing – Linux is on the rise with Ubuntu with them bridging the gap between the PC & smartphones/tablets.

    Ubuntu just so happens to be in the direct path along side Valve as Linux is being supported by them. If Google was smart, they would find a way for Ubuntu + Steam + Nvidia to create a cooperating ecosystem that benefits everyone.

  • Ok that’s all cool and stuff but I’m now coming up to an age where I think I’d get laughed at carrying an X-STREAM-GAMERZ looking controller in public transport. Gaming on a phone or ipad seems totally acceptable though. I don’t know, is it me or are game controllers so 90’s?

  • LOL no we haven’t. And there is no way I’d choose a steam box over my gaming rig running windows 8. Steam needs a major overhaul as it is, browsing and using the website is faster than using steam, not o mention the bugs.

    Android has enough issues now with a fractured ecosystem and hardware. Linux currently plays a handful of games from steam. It is NOT a good combination. Do either of these options allow me to use my quad monitor setup? And how so better than win 7/8?

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