After explaining why the GPU in the just announced Tegra K1 was awesome from an architectural standpoint, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang went on to reveal that Epic Games would be bringing Unreal Engine 4 to mobile devices via the Tegra K1. Nvidia is keen on getting game developers to include improved graphics for Tegra devices, but Unreal Engine 4 support could take Tegra gaming to a whole new level.

As Huang pointed out, the capabilities of mobile devices and consoles are very different, but Tegra K1 is powerful enough to close the gap. The Unreal Engine is one of the most widely used engines in game design, which should make it easier for developers to port content to Tegra-powered devices. The Unreal Engine demos shown on stage were, of course, very impressive. Unreal Engine 4 supports realistic light scattering effects, higher resolution textures, HDR lighting, and global illumination. Basically – stuff looks more real.

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The lag time in bringing game engines from the desktop to mobile has traditionally been measured in years – it took eight years for Unreal Engine 3 to come to mobile in the form of Infinity Blade. Not so with UE4. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney was quoted as saying, "We can take absolutely anything that runs on PC or high-end console and run it on Tegra [K1]." Expect some big Unreal Engine tie-ins with the Tegra K1 launch.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Lookatthemonkeys

    Next headline: New Tegra K1 phone lasts 5 minutes on a full charge....

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      ..........after bursting into flames.
      This thing is going to be hot, and I can't wait. I love my Titan, and I'd love to see Nvidia fix their Tegra 2/3 issues. I honestly never tried Tegra 4.

      • Cheeseball

        Tegra 4 doesn't heat up as much as Tegra 2 and 3. This is on a Tegra Note 7.

        • Steven Shearing

          My Tegra note 7 is an amazing but it has got major heating problems.

    • Lookatthemonkeys

      On a serious note, we are really moving closers to having one device in our pocket that can play current level 3D games and no ,longer needing consoles. Now all we need is an open source wireless screencasting technology.

      • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

        Current consoles have much more power, not to mention the games becoming more intense to fit the new hardware.

        • Lookatthemonkeys

          Very true, but in 5 years there may not be too much need for consoles if the technology keeps the way it is going. There will probably always be a console market, but just having one device that can do it all will be appealing to more people.

          • WestSiide

            The death of the console have been predicted everytime something similar comes along.. it's not happening.

            Other things that aren't happening:

            - PC's arent killing off consoles.
            - Tablets aren't replacing or killing off the PC.
            - Phablets aren't killing off tablets... or regular sized phones.

          • bob newhart

            The death of consoles is upon us(thank god) in a good 5-10 years. Plus PC's came BEFORE consoles, tablets are supposed to replace laptops, and phablets are just tablets that make phone calls and have a gsm slot, they arent supposed to be killing off jack.

          • A_Noid

            Substitute PC for cons

      • joser116

        There is an open source wireless screencasting technology. It's called Google Cast, which the Chromecast uses, and so will many upcoming devices once it gets finalized. It hardly gets mentioned anywhere.

        • Leonardo Farage Freitas

          Or perhaps, the OEMs could finally attain to a standard for once :P

          From what I heard, Samsung's AllShareCast implements Miracast, but only for Samsung's devices =/

          I hadn't heard about Google Cast before, looks nice..

          • didibus

            Miracast needs to become more ubiquitous, just like wifi. There's some TVs that claim to support it, yet it only works with some devices.

          • joser116

            I know, I hate Samsung for that.

        • didibus

          It's actually called DIAL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIscovery_And_Launch
          This is what the chrome cast uses, and it was co-developed by netflix, youtube, sony and samsung.

          • joser116

            Google Cast is called DIAL? ...Im guessing the Chromecast uses both DIAL and the Google Cast API for separate purposes.

          • didibus

            DIAL lets DIAL clients discover DIAL servers over a network. But it also allows a DIAL client to query, launch and optionally stop applications on the DIAL server. The Chromecast uses DIAL to launch chrome and have it navigate to the url of your video. It then uses DIAL to query that application for control commands, like pause, play, stop, etc.

            So, from what I understand, Google Cast uses DIAL, it builds on it, but it's like a specialisation of it. Where it provides the DIAL code to easily have a DIAL client in your app, and it provides the UI things for the Google Cast icon and the basic messaging for play, stop and pause. It probably also encapsulates the commands specific to launching what Chromecast needs.

            But in theory, with DIAL, anyone could make a Chromecast like device.

          • joser116

            OK, so basically Google Cast API is just Google's added layer to DIAL to allow developers to easily add Chromecast support.

          • didibus

            That's what I understand at least.

  • Stian

    Time to cancel my nexus 5 order and wait for one of these?

    • Mado

      One of what? They just announced chips, not devices. It could be months before a device using this chip would be announced.

      • Cheeseball

        Yeah, it would probably irk me if they released an updated Tegra Note 7 so soon. LOL.

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      You will always get better specs for the same price, if you wait a year or two before buying.

  • DeWitt

    Here's to BioShock infinite being able to be played here...

    • joser116

      You can by streaming it to your Shield device.

      • Faiz Abideen

        Maybe, but that requires a high end GTX card, no?

        • joser116

          Probably. If you live in Northern California and a current Shield owner, you can stream games from the Nvidia cloud.

        • renz

          not really. minimum requirement for streaming was GTX650. and that's is entry level gpu

          • Franco Rossel

            So, would it work with my GTX760?
            The SHIELD clearly is a niche device, but it has very nice tricks.

          • renz


          • Cheeseball

            Your GTX 760 is a bang-for-buck mid-high range card, so yes it can handle it.

          • Franco Rossel

            I'm highly satisfied with the card performance and price. Nvidia is getting my sympathy.

          • someone755

            Check GeForce Experience. It says there what features you can enable (also game settings boost).

  • Cheeseball

    Port Unreal Tournament '99 and 2004 to Android (and/or iOS) damn it.

    • mcshea

      I'd prefer Epic port all of their Gears of War series to Android.
      That would be truly 'Epic'.

      • Cheeseball

        This would make sense considering the success of Shadowgun and its multiplayer sequel.

      • monstercameron

        it has a microsoft exclusivity like infinity blade to apple

    • Franco Rossel

      With touchscreen controls? No thank you.

      • Cheeseball

        There are other options to play them, such as a Bluetooth/OTG gamepad, or OTG a standards-compliant USB hub and hook up a mouse and keyboard. This works well for the id Tech ports that are on the Play Store.

        • Franco Rossel

          Yeah, it would work, but that's not exactly mobile. If i want to play with mouse and keyboard, I turn on my PC.

          • Sean Lumly

            A mobile controller is quite portable (eg. small bag), and also very fun to game on. Moga has some nice controllers, some of which that also holds phones/phablets for an Nvidia-Shield-like experience (Moga Pro).

            Full disclosure: I have played FPSs primarily via keyboard and mouse, and only recently started to acquaint myself with the controller. It's *very* awkward at first, and I don't believe it to be as effective as a keyboard and mouse, but it is just as fun to play with and you can get quite good with it!

    • someone755

      I want a Wii simulator.

  • mcshea

    Tegra is good but I still don't like their exclusivity approach..

    • http://portablegamingregion.com/ PortableGamingRegion

      Well, it would be naive to expect any other kind of approach from them.

    • renz

      they have been doing that a lot longer on pc. i don't think they will change that. it has both it's good and it's bad

    • Cheeseball

      That all depends on the developers who bite.

  • Sean Lumly

    I'm sorry, but I'm not terribly impressed. Managing 2.7x the performance of the A7 (and by implication, the current gen Mali and Adreno) is certainly a great feat, until you consider that this chip is rated at 5Watts (under load), which is WAY too power hungry for a mobile phone (though ok for a tablet). I have my doubts that the K1's performance per Watt will be competitive with current mobile devices (@ an assumed 28nm).

    Based on the die-diagram, the GPU is also HUGE -- it looks to take up almost half of the chip (I will have to measure this). This is in stark contrast to most modern mobile SoCs where the GPU accounts for around 20% of die area, yet attain incredible performance. If you triple the size of a current-day mobile GPU, you may end up with something similarly sized as the GPU in the K1, and almost certainly better performance. And next year's mobile GPU archs will be introducing yet more efficiency boosting technologies to improve their performance even more. So I suspect that the K1 will also perform poorer when considering performance per mm^2 (@ an assumed 28nm).

    Also pushing the idea that OpenGL 4.4 as a major selling point is misleading at best. What systems will plausibly have access to the API? Android officially supports OpenGLES3, and while windows could use the Direct 11 support, the ARM CPU cores of the Tegra K1 limited it to Windows RT, which has minuscule penetration. Sure you could *possibly* use this chip in a low-cost steam machine (if they support ARM arch), but there are likely more convenient Intel options. The only machine that could plausibly target GL4.4 is Nvidia's own Shield and I have serious doubts that many devs will go out of their way to to exclusively release games for that system based on its tiny penetration. GL 4.4 or even Direct X11 as major selling features is quite silly.

    My guess is that the Kepler architecture has been developed primarily with PC in mind, and performance per mm^2 and performance per Watt were not primary concerns. I have little doubt that by the time that this core is released into the market, competing next generation mobile GPUs they will perform similarly with better power consumption, better die utilization, and have an ace-feature that is missing from the K1 announcement -- ASTC texture compression, which is MONUMENTAL for doing away with a texture-format-fragmentation which is very real for Android game devs.

    • renz

      even as a dekstop part kepler performance per watt is one of the main focus of the architecture. saying performance per watt is not primary concern for kepler is just wrong. with kepler nvidia was able to dominate all the top 10 spot for greenest super computer which a feat that only IBM was able to do in the past.

      anyway with tegra K1 nvidia were using updated A15 core that has been optimized on power consumption aspect (much like the improvement made by qualcomm going from snapdragon 600 to 800). some of early analysis of tegra K1 architecture can be found here:


      the power consumption aspect is interesting. to be honest i'm not that impressed with K1 as well. yes it can have impressive performance in gaming but from what i can see at mobile gaming (android) it is hard for developer to utilize all that raw performance. but it might be different if nvidia can convince developer to port their existing game on 360 or PS3 on android. but it will not be an easy job. so far i'm only interested how well their denver will fare against apple and qualcomm custom ARM core

    • don681

      Therefore Shield 2.

      It seems to me that they are not really targeting mobile phones. They want to push android into non-cellphone form factors. A laptop-ish form factor maybe? Gaming handhelds?

    • Grahaman27

      A7 uses over 11 watts according to anandtech.

      Also, those aren't die shots. Nvidia ftw.

  • monstercameron

    tegra k1 is looking good but epic is such a hypocritical company, they dont want to support AMD mantle but they will support this even smaller niche of mobile gaming on the tegra k1 via opengl4.+