Project Shield, an Android-based gaming handheld

NVIDIA announced at the Consumer Electronics show that it was entering the handheld gaming market at this year with its upcoming Android based device Project Shield.

This is a bold move for NVIDIA, because the gaming market is already saturated with new Android-based consoles. So what set Shield apart from the competition?

Shield will be powered by the newly-announced quad core Tegra 4 chip. The Tegra 4 promises to be the fastest processor yet designed for mobile devices.

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Shield is slated to launch with Android 4.0 Jellybean and will be capable of running all the latest and greatest games for Android such as Hawken Android and Arma Tactics, a new turn-based Arma designed for tablets. Many people play casino games on their phones or tablets, if you play online casino games you can get Aussie Casino Bonuses at www.EasyMobileCasino.com. It uses a 1280×720 retinal display attached to what appears to be an Xbox-inspired controller.

But NVIDIA is presumably really hoping sets Shield apart is its ability to play games installed on your PC by streaming them over Wi-Fi.  Shield can hook up to your Steam library of games and allow you play them using either the Shield’s display or by hooking the Shield into your TV.

NVIDIA’s demonstrated this feature by playing Assassin’s Creed 3 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted through the device at CES.  Both games ran smoothly with little lag.

The downside? 

You need a powerful Kepler-based graphics card inside your PC in order to stream to the Shield.  Since Shield’s target audience is presumably hardcore gamers with pretty serious gaming rigs anyway that may not be too serious a problem. You will also need to hook it up to speakers or some headphones, take a look at some Gaming Headset Reviews before you buy though, some can be lackluster.

Will this be enough make the Shield a success?  Sony’s PS Vita already allows gamers to play console-quality games on mobile devices, and despite being highly rated by gamers and critics the Vita has shown lackluster sales.

There are also a whole slew of Android-powered gaming devices that are going to compete with the Shield, although not many of them have the backing of a giant company like NVIDIA.

The Ouya, which got its start on Kickstarter, promises to be affordable, open console that will most likely ship for under $100.  The MOGA, while not technically a game system, allows you to connect an Xbox-style controller to your Android device via Bluetooth.

At the pricier end of the spectrum is the Razer Edge Pro gaming tablet.  The Razer will set you back a cool $1300 and ships with two vertical controllers that attach to the side.  The Razer runs Windows 8 and can play any game or app that supports Windows 8.

The Razer can be used as a PC by attaching a keyboard docking station, and you attach up to two console-style controllers. It was announced as a concept device at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show and became a reality this year’s event.  It’s available for sale now.

Is there enough to beat the competition?

It’s not clear that Shield’s selling point, that it can stream your PC games, will be enough to beat the competition. Streaming games from anywhere over 4G would be a game-changer.

But Shield requires that you be on the same Wi-Fi network as your gaming PC. Is it really worth the Shield’s likely hefty price tag to be able to play your PC games from your couch rather than at your desk?- Especially when most PC gamers prefer mouse and keyboard to a console-style controller anyway.

The Shield is slated for release in the second quarter of this year, but NVIDIA said little about pricing.  It’s unclear how successful this device can be, but when one of the world’s biggest names in graphics teams up with one of biggest names in PC gaming, Steam, people are bound to take notice.

About the Author: Jason Phillips

Author Bio: Jason Phillips is a guest author and a freelance writer. He has worked for Zombie Games 365 for a long time. His leisure includes playing soccer and gardening.

The DNetWorks Team