Mobile gaming will have a new sheriff in town


Photo Jordan Sweidan/The Skyline View

Earlier this month at CES 2013, a portable game console known as the Shield, was shown off by Nvidia, a global technology company that manufactures GPUs (graphic processing units).

This device just about resembles an Xbox 360 controller, except there are a few more buttons, integrated speakers, built-in Wi-Fi, along with the left analog stick and d-pad switching places.

In between the trigger buttons of the controller are a micro SD card slot for expandable storage, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a mini HDMI port, and a mini usb port for syncing and charging. The Shield is run by Google’s popular operating system Android 4.0 (Jelly Bean). Attached to the controller is a 5 inch multitouch display with a 720p resolution, which folds up like a laptop. But that’s not all, the greatest spec lies in the hardware itself, and that is Nvidia’s latest and greatest Tegra 4 quad core processor. This piece of tech currently powers up Google’s Nexus 7 and 10 devices, and is the fastest mobile processor on the market.

From what has been displayed, the Shield is going to be a heavy streaming device as it plays and streams games from the Steam store, as well as multimedia from apps like Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu Plus. No specific release date has been given yet, but it has been projected to be in quarter 2 of this year. Pricing is a bit uncertain as well, however it has been stated that it will be priced as a mobile gaming device.

One question that arises with this handheld is “Is this product too little too late?” I think not as this hybrid is the first of its kind. Gamers should know by now that the mobile gaming community is expanding everyday with portable devices and games such as Temple Run, Infinity Blade, and other hit titles that are available on a majority ofsmartphone and tablet app stores.

When it comes to competitors, the Shield will most likely go head to head against Nintendo’s Wii U, and/or Sony’s PS Vita, which was released in the U.S. last February. The Vita looks similar to Sony’s previous PSP, except it now sports a 5 inch touch screen, touchback panel, dual analog sticks, and front/rear VGA quality cameras.

As much as Nvidia has shown off with preproduction units, it looks like we’ll have to wait and see just how much potential the Shield will have in the industry it may take over.