Alongside the release of its Shield gaming console, nVidia showcased its GRID game streaming service – thought of as similar to on-demand TV services – in a more final form. The service has been known to exist for a number of years now, but hasn’t advanced beyond internal and partner beta testing phases. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of nVidia, demonstrated cloud gaming using the GRID service and Shield console simultaneously.
No -- this isn't Maxwell news, though I do have some comments on that below. GPU manufacturer nVidia announced today the unveiling of its new "Shield Tablet," an addition to the existing Shield family. NVidia calls its new tablet "the first tablet for gamers," shipping with LTE and wireless PC game streaming, 720p Twitch broadcast, and GRID integration.
The Shield Tablet fills very similar use case markets as the Shield intends to, though it adds a few features for more non-gaming implementations. One of these includes a graphics-accelerated painting and tinkering application (Dabbler) that shows pigment and paint mixing in real time, along with bleeding and light source adjustment.
Ultimately, though, the new Shield Tablet is targeted at "mobile gamers" who'd like a toy on the go. And I am still of the opinion that tablets are primarily just that -- toys. Let's look at the specs.
In my many years working on the journalism side of this industry, I've never seen nVidia put forth such an aggressive stance as exhibited during last week's press conference. We'll start this post with some rapid-fire catching up from the last few months.
The past months have been very AMD-intensive. AMD's Mantle API fronted momentous marketing outreach, touting a bypass to DirectX's performance overhead that has historically been a drain on CPU and GPU output. The hardware has been held back by the API, we were (somewhat accurately) told by AMD, and Mantle was the proposed solution to put developers "closer to the metal" -- or closer to the hardware-level -- similar to console development. This news came to be during a period of silence for Microsoft's DirectX API, which hadn't seen noteworthy development since 2012 with Dx11.1 (at that point). It was the ideal opportunity for an emergent API to make a big splash without significant, refreshed competition.
While at GTC 2014, nVidia passed out a free SHIELD to every attendee willing to pick up the 4-pound box. After figuring out how to get the thing home, I've finally had some hands-on time with the SHIELD in the comfort of a home (read: not pressured by PR from all sides on a convention floor). I'm not ready to write a full review just yet; actually, I haven't tested the remote rendering functionality yet -- the biggest feature -- but I've had some fun with Android games.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.