Chipmaker puts its faith in cloud tech to compete with GameStick and Ouya

Nvidia to launch Android-powered portable console

Graphics chipmaker Nividia is developing an Android-powered portable gaming platform, by the name of Project Shield.

Shield will have the capacity to play both Android and PC titles, and will have access to apps via the Google Play.

As wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs and access titles from a user’s Steam game library.

“Project Shield was created by Nvidia engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play,” said Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, who unveiled the console at the chipmaker’s press conference at CES 2013.

“We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love Shield as much as we do.”

Nvidia’s new console is now the third Android-powered games console that’s on the horizon. The others include, GameStick, a stick-shaped console that slots into a controller, which received its crowdfunding just last week, and Ouya, a hackable console that was also crowdfunded and is due to arrive this spring.

Project Shield is powered by the new Nvidia Tegra 4, custom 72-core GeForce GPU and the first quad-core application of ARM’s CPU core, the Cortex-A15. It has integrated five-inch, 1280×720 HD retinal multitouch display, with 296 dpi.

With Tegra 4 Direct Touch technology, Nvidia claims its touch response is three-times faster than any other touch device, and will deliver “hours of gameplay on a single charge”.

Ubisoft, Epic Games and Meteor Entertainment have expressed their support for the new console. Games demonstrated during Nvidia’s press conference included Hawken, and the PC versions of Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Assassin’s Creed III.

Yves Guillemot, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ubisoft, commented: “Ubisoft is always excited about new hardware developments, and Project Shield promises to bring both mobile and PC gamers a great new gaming experience. Seeing the PC version of Assassin’s Creed III run on the device is a great example of this, and further strengthens Ubisoft’s long-standing relationship with Nvidia.”

Nvidia is yet to reveal price for the system. On its product website, it lists Q2 2013 as the anticipated release date for the console in North America. Other regions are due to follow later.

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