It's not the VR device some gamers were hoping for, but it's a solid attempt by chipmaker Nvidia to disrupt the gaming and electronic entertainment markets. The company has just announced Shield, a 4K #Android TV console for the living room that doubles as a gaming console and has its own game streaming service, Grid. The best news about the sleek-looking device is that it will retail for $199 in the US, where it will be launched first, starting May.
"We have been waiting for this day for many years", Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced, moments after he stepped on stage at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, in San Francisco.
The crowd cheered and he described what he was about to show us: "a revolutionary televison, a game console and a supercomputer."
Nvidia wants Shield to be "the Netflix of videos", as Huang put it, and that will be made possible with the Grid games streaming service. "It's click and play. It will leverage the power of mobile cloud and do for gaming what Netflix did for videos, what Spotify did for music, and expand the reach of gaming," he stated. The Shield Store App will come with over 50 Android games at launch in May, featuring high-profile titles like Batman Arkham Knight, The Walking Dead, Shadow of Mordor or Resident Evil 2. There will be a basic subscription and a premium one, with plenty of free games.
The device also comes with a controller that is engineered for "serious gaming", lasting up to 40 hours between charges. Not that anyone should try to play for 40 hours non-stop, though. Huang made a joke about it that was received with laughter and furious clapping.
Then, he introduced a number of demos for over half an hour. From "Borderlands the pre-sequel" to "The Talos Principle" and "Doom 3", all the demos were live. At the end of the show, part of the 2015 Game Developers Conference, I overheard Nvidia staff celebrating the fact that "no backups were used" during the presentation, which was being streamed live online.
This foray into the living room follows Nvidia's Shield Tablet, an Android-based gaming device. But Huang wants to go further. "People want to enjoy apps and share with the family and play in a much larger screen, the television." He believes the new breed of smart TVs will shape the way we'll consume #Television in the future, and the revolution will come via the cloud. So that's what Shield does: it's a set top box that allows you to enjoy the wealth of Android's apps and content, as it is based in the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. Voice interaction through a tiny remote is all you'll need to watch TV in what Nvidia calls "a revolutionary way".
To power all of this, Nvidia designed the Tegra X1, a mobile super chip that is 35 times faster than Apple TV. "Everything was obsessively designed", Huang said. "Engineered for performance, made to game" is the tagline. #Videogames