Nvidia’s Project Shield Gets Android Focus At PAX East

Stay tuned for more of Game Front’s ongoing Hardware coverage from the PAX East 2013 floor.

My first stop during the PAX East 2013 bonanza was the Nvidia booth. There’s some information that has to wait until Tuesday (yay for embargos!), but I did get to spend more time with the shield, Nvidia’s upcoming Android console.

The hardware hasn’t changed at all since the Shield and I first met at CES — Tegra 4 under the hood, all the controls you’ll find on a console controller, and Android 4.2 on board. The focus in the Nvidia booth seemed to be on Amdroid gaming this time around, as there were a bevy of Tegra-optimized titles. Shadowgun is still the go-to, although it’s “only” optimized for Tegra 3 at the moment. I spent some time with Star Wars pinball, too, which played a lot like Zen Pinball, albeit with Darth Vader, lightsabers directing balls around, and mini Ion Cannon turrets.

Hardware and Android games aside, Nvidia also confirmed some streaming-related details for us. In order to stream games from a PC to the Shield over a local network, the GeForce Experience software has to be involved. Since GFE is free, and will find a home on any PC with an Nvidia GPU soon anyways (it’s being bundled with driver software), this doesn’t appear to be a serious hurdle at the moment.

Streaming will also use H.264 for shipping video from one machine to another, which Nvidia says will help keep battery life reasonable. Streaming speed seems to be another big selling point, as the latency between the Shield and a wirelessly-connected PC will be “better than a console controller.” Reaction time between the two devices will be faster than communication between an Xbox 360 and its wireless controller, supposedly.

It was difficult to confirm in an loud convention environment, but Nvidia is pushing the speaker tech on the Shield pretty hard, too. They’re comparing it to the Jawbone Jambox, which is a sizable boast for a gaming console.

Expect more Shield details to pop up over the next several months, leading up to the official release in late Q2 2013.

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