Two exciting pieces of news have recently emerged from graphics card manufacturing powerhouse Nvidia, whose GPU hardware powers a majority of PC gaming rigs and the PlayStation 3.
First, they have announced that they are taking a bold step towards breaking into the handheld market with a product code named ”Project Shield“.
- A 5 inch 720p “retinal” multi-touch screen (possibly detachable)
- Full size game pad with dual analog sticks, four face buttons and shoulder triggers
- WiFi game streaming from a GTX card equipped PC with Steam integration.
- Android Jellybean Operating system with full Google Play integration.
So a handheld with a dual analog stick controller with an HD touchscreen that can stream games from your PC library as well as play Words with Friends and Angry Birds from the Android Market?!
It will be interesting to see how this console develops. Nintendo 3/DS currently possesses the lion’s share of the “hard core” handheld market and it’s more powerful rival PS Vita is having a tough time keeping up.
Is the world ready to embrace another high powered handheld or will smartphones continue to be the go to source for portable gaming?
Second, Nvidia has also unveiled a new brand of “super computer” that would make SkyNet blush.
Dubbed GRID, this new paradigm in network technology appears to be their own take on cloud gaming similar to the approach OnLive pioneered a few years ago.
Each GRID server rack would contain 240 Nvidia GPUs that service up to 720 concurrent “game streams”.
The benefits of cloud gaming are numerous. By not requiring each individual user to purchase hefty (and often faulty) hardware every few years and being able to actively upgrade technology over the course of a platform’s lifetime, a cloud gaming service can provide superior gaming quality for significantly reduced overhead.
This is assuming that lag isn’t an issue. Which off the drawing board becomes a significant detractor for potential user’s not living in a major metropolitan area.
Both are very exciting developments from a company with the business acumen and deep pockets capable of pulling it off.
Imagine a near future where Triple A titles like Crysis IV or Quake V are streamed to your PC through proprietary cloud technology than transmitted via proprietary WiFi technology to you’re handheld in real time while you’re in the bathroom.
That is the kind of future I want to live in.