If you've been following PC gaming, you know that Valve has big plans for its Steam platform. NVIDIA wants to leverage the new "Big Picture" mode (a TV user interface, designed to make a gaming PC work more like a game console) with the brand-spanking new Project Thor Shield mobile gaming device. At the CES press conference, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed off the Shield Hardware streaming live PC games from a local machine running a high-end GTX 680 graphics card.

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The interface allows for launching both individual games and Steam itself, in a solution that doesn't look like it was built around Steam specifically. After a bit of technical difficulty, video streaming to the Tegra 4-equipped Shield device looked practically instantaneous. High-quality graphics in games like Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Assassin's Creed 3 looked pretty much exactly like they do on a gaming PC, on both the fold-out screen and on the demo 4K television. In case you're wondering, it looks much, much better than OnLive and other current game streaming solutions like Spashtop's Gamepad THD.

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Based on a few quick glances at the Windows 7 desktop, it looks like the streaming function can handle just about anything, though all the games were presented in an attractive "Grid" UI. Steam's Big Picture Mode should allow you to browse the store and social functions as well. The demo was running over Ethernet, but it should work just fine on WiFi, and there were hints that the VNC-type software could work over mobile connections.

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Since details on Project Shield are achingly scarce at the moment, there's a lot that we don't know about the potential connection between Shield and gaming PCs. It's a safe bet that you'll need an NVIDIA-powered discrete graphics card to take advantage of it. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on these developments.

Bonus: Here's the official Project Shield promo video:

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://www.facebook.com/nabillist Nabil Shaikh

    Love this, completely makes tablets and laptops redundant! I'd throw out 'Smart tvs' too

  • http://www.facebook.com/nabillist Nabil Shaikh

    Love this!!! Absolutely what i was wishing for! Makes tablets and laptops useless!

    • PINJ

      Yes Because You Can Properly Type On This Like You Can On A Laptop. Use Your Head... Ah I Give Up.

  • Sean Lumly

    I really like the sane resolution of the shield. As wonderful as the Nexus 10 is, the Mali is reduced to the frame rates of current mobile devices in that it has to push a ridiculous 4 megapixels per frame. As an owner of a Nexus 7 with a 1 megapixel display, I can confidently assert that there isn't much visual benefit in game with the higher resolution -- certainly nothing that MSAA 4x couldn't solve...

    OK, game devs don't have to render at the full resolution, but outside of beach buggy blitz, I don't know of too many games that allow for lower resolution rendering. Most of them just default to the native res.

  • Knlegend1

    Please can fans submit ideas as far as designs?

  • VoiceofSky

    This is gonna be dope.. I'm always down for new things and cloud gaming as well has peaked my interest ..I just hope the price is right,google and Amazon have showed that price is the biggest factor (then again apple showed that sheep will go for anything,so yea) ..This year is going to be INSANE!

  • New_World

    Man when I have kids they'll have a load of things they'll ask for on birthdays and xmas!
    When I was little you needed to be damn rich to get a damn console!
    Well not rich, but dammit you ha to behave for a whole damn year or you weren't getting anything better than connect 4 or jenga! :/

  • titomalo

    Interesting can I play snes games here or the graphic card will explode?

  • training tank

    Tetris online 3D plzz