NVIDIA’s SHIELD is a gaming device that defies classification. The full-sized controls and Android software make it more than a portable gaming device, at least on paper, but it doesn't compete with (or complement) more conventional mobile form factors. SHIELD is something entirely new.
The only way to evaluate a gaming machine is on how it plays games, and in that respect, SHIELD is amazing... at least in a few specific circumstances.
NVIDIA's Android-powered SHIELD gaming device launches tomorrow, after a shaky start with a month-long delay. But the boys in green have put the time to good use, wooing a huge list of developers to create an impressive library of titles compatible with SHIELD from day one. Here are our picks for the best SHIELD-compatible games, and the full list of 127 free and paid games available at launch.
A lot of the games in the official NVIDIA list are a bit off: there are duplicates for free and paid games, Tegra versions and non-Tegra versions, and "free" games that require in-app purchases for access to the full title.
Most of you are probably familiar with NVIDIA's Tegra line of system-on-a-chip boards - Tegra 2 was behind most of the first wave of Honeycomb tablets, Tegra 3 powered the Transformer Prime and Nexus 7, and there's this little thing called SHIELD with Tegra 4 coming next week. But their latest promotional efforts take the spotlight off of a fully integrated solution to focus on NVIDIA's bread and butter: the GPU.
After a last-minute delay for NVIDIA's risky SHIELD gaming device, the company has just sent out an email to those who pre-ordered it. The delayed launch date is next Wednesday, July 31st, just barely making the company's revised commitment to a July launch. Pre-order hardware will be shipped out to customers on Wednesday, and NVIDIA's retail partners will have at least some units that day as well, at the new $299 price tag.
NVIDIA doesn't want to take any chances with its first portable gaming product. After receiving feedback from prospective customers when the initial $349 price for SHIELD was revealed, the MSRP has been lowered to $299 - a big deal for cash-scrapped gamers and hardware junkies alike. Those who have already pre-ordered the hardware will be charged the new price (with whatever funding source they specified) when it ships. NVIDIA has also officially set next Thursday, June 27th as the launch date for SHIELD.
Madfinger Games is hard at work on the follow up to one of last year's blockbuster mobile games. Dead Trigger 2 is nearing completion and the developers have decided to release a few new details and drop some impressive gameplay footage on us. The video demo shows the stark difference between Nvidia's last generation mobile chip and the new Tegra 4.
Dead Trigger 2 is going to behave more like a massive online RPG by encouraging cooperation with other players.
Stylus inputs for smartphones and tablets have become largely obsolete, with the exception of devices packing an integrated digitizer and active stylus, like Samsung's Note series and a few others. But some of us love our styli, as millions of cheap, plastic passive pens lining iPad accessory bargain bins across the country demonstrate. NVIDIA is hoping to boost the capability of passive stylus input on Tegra 4 hardware with its DirectStylus solution, a way for a standard capacitive touchscreen to more accurately emulate pen and paper.
Watch out, Transformer fans, ASUS is about to give you something pretty great to drool over. As part of its Computex 2013 announcement, the OEM gave away details of the shiny new replacement to the once reigning king of Android tablets, the Transformer Pad Infinity.
Virtually every spec will see a significant improvement as part of the refresh, owing quite a bit to the equipped Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip. Most notably, the display resolution will rival Samsung's current leader, the Nexus 10, at 2560 x 1600.
Armchair generals, take note: tactical games are making a comeback. This top-down micromanaging genre was once dominated by the likes of Shining Force, Tactics Ogre, and Final Fantasy Tactics (and just recently by XCOM: Enemy Unknown) but it's surprisingly perfect for touchscreen devices; see the Great Little War Game series. The ARMA series is known for painstakingly realistic shooters, but it's stepping back for Arma Tactics THD to give the player a bird's eye view of the battlefield.
The time has come, ladies and gents – NVIDIA's Project SHIELD (henceforth known only as SHIELD) is ready for pre-order for users who previously signed up to receive SHIELD updates via email. Everyone else will have to wait until May 20th to secure their own directly from NVIDIA or from NewEgg, Gamestop, Micro Center, or Canada Computers, which teaches us one thing: always sign up to be notified of device updates.