Nvidia Shield: Everything you need to know about the new microconsole

Nvidia Shield: Everything you need to know about the new microconsole

Tech giant Nividia revealed its living room iteration of Shield at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2015 in San Francisco.

But what is it, why should you care, and is it more than just another Android streaming console?

What is it, exactly?

Shield is an extension of Nvidia’s portable and tablet-line of video game consoles.

It’s built for living room use, and is described by Nvidia as being a “streaming device on steroids”. Precise.

Put simply, it’s a media streaming device.

What can it do?

When it launches in May in North America for US$199, it’ll run a number of controller-optimised games from a selection of 50 Nividia-curated titles.

The Android TV-based, Tegra X1-powered machine will also play games from the Google Play store, meaning you’ll be able to play games that already run on Shield tablet and Shield handheld platforms.

What’s under the hood?

Shield is a Android TV-based, Tegra X1-powered machine.

Nvidia has hinted at the possibility of games that take particular advantage of the X1 chip, which it compared to the power achieved by Apple TV and Xbox 360.

Nvidia showed off Doom 3: BFG Edition running at full 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second to demonstrate Shield’s power.

The company also showed Crysis 3 saying it is hopeful to port CryEngine 3 to Android for use on Shield.

What about the games?

Nvidia and Gearbox announced during the presentation that

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel would be coming to the console alongside the Xbox One and PS4 versions.

The Nvidia Grid service is a streaming service that will offer a number of Windows PC games running remotely on the company’s server farms.

While it’s currently free to subscribers, it will introduce two paid tiers in June: a 720p base subscription (which will require a minimum 5 Mbps connection, 15 Mbps recommended) and a 1080p premium subscription (15 Mbps minimum, 50 Mbps recommended).

Gamers with a GeForce-powered PC will be able to stream their entire Steam library to Shield.

What else can it do?

Nvidia claims Shield is the only set-top streaming device on the market powerful enough to handle full 4K video at 60 frames per second.

At this stage you’d only be able to watch the limited amount of YouTube videos that stream at that resolution and frame rate, but Nvidia is hopeful that in future-proofing the device, it might encourage studios to release more video at those specifications.

It has native Chromecast support, so it will be able to stream a number of online services.

It’ll also have built-in Twitch support for online streaming during film and gaming.

It will support four controllers over Wi-Fi Direct, with one controller coming bundled with the console and extra controllers available at US$60.

More on the console

Controllers can last up to 60 hours on a single charge.

There’s 16gb of external storage, which can be extended via a microSD card slot.

7.1 surround sound support, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, bluetooth.