While many non-members of the big three have made attempts at developing home consoles or home entertainment systems, few have found much success. The Ouya, for example, made a play for the console crowd with its Android-based infrastructure, but by and large the tiny device was considered a failure.
Those failures have seemingly not fazed popular graphics card manufacturer Nvidia, who today announced a new, console-like device at GDC 2015. The device will carry the company’s Shield name and will retail for $200.
Performance-wise, the new Shield will feature Nvidia’s Tegra X1 Super Chip, which is said to offer twice the processing power and six times the RAM of the Xbox 360. The device will also support DirectX 12 for running high end games and will be the first 4K Android console on the market.
As far as what those games might be, Nvidia showed off Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Talos Principle, and the Android port of Crysis 3, among others. All three games were running at 30 frames per second, and loaded directly from the console. According to Nvidia, the device will feature around 50 Android games at launch.
Shield will also support game streaming through its GRID streaming subscription service. Through the service, players will be able to “stream triple-A games at 720p” with no extra charge. Nvidia does say that GRID will have a store for additional game purchases, on top of the GRID subscription fee.
However, it’s worth noting that the GRID service will carry an approximate response time of 150ms, which while not game-changing can be significant depending on the game. Latency is a major source of contention for streaming games and services, but Nvidia is willing to bet that their response time won’t negatively impact gameplay.
There’s currently no release date for the Nvidia Shield console but we know that it will retail for $200 and come with one Shield controller. It's an intriguing proposition, no question, but as far as whether gamers might be interested, that's another question entirely.
The Shield is obviously a much cheaper option when compared to a PS4, an Xbox One, and even a Steam Machine, but the device is also fairly limited in terms of what it can and can’t do. Nevertheless, Nvidia remains confident that the Shield will be a hit.
Does the Nvidia Shield console interest you? What would the device need to offer for you to buy it?