Nvidia Shield adds Console Mode

"Massive" update for portable introduces new mode where players can connect a Bluetooth controller to play games on TV.

Nvidia today released a "massive" update for Nvidia Shield that introduces, among other things, "Console Mode" for the $300 Android-powered system. To enable Console Mode, users can connect their Shield to an HDTV via HDMI and pair it with any Bluetooth controller.

Today, October 28, also marks the official arrival of GameStream, Nvidia's streaming service that was previously in beta. GameStream--compatible with Console Mode--allows users to stream games through the Nvidia Shield to their television set at 720p, 60fps. Nvidia plans to support 1080p sometime later.

Nvidia Shield's GameStream service supports more than 50 games in all, including Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Players who wish to stream PC gameplay to their Nvidia Shield need to have a rig setup with a GeForce GTX 650 card or better.

Lastly, the Nvidia Shield update today introduces Android 4.3, which brings restricted profiles, expandable notifications, and other various tweaks. What's more, a new Shield Gamepad Mapper is featured, which allows users to create custom controls for Android games.

More information about today's Nvidia Shield update is available at the company's website and in the video below.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

105 comments
ahmadalsarraj
ahmadalsarraj

Okay i have a question and please consider the language barrier.. so answer in the most simple way lol 

I just want to use the SHIELD as a regular controller for PC games. is that possible ? And i mean Games like Skyrim and Battlefield and Splintercell etc...  Thank u 

omar_q
omar_q

This flop still around?

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

This only thing it allows you to do is play your PC games remotely , but even then you have to be  on your own network. So If you really want to compare it to something then it is somewhat comparable to the PS VITA which is $100 cheaper and can play games remotely from th PS3 AND PS4.  This Shield will fail within a year. Anybody that thinks otherwise is dreaming. Sorry

ExtremeBanana
ExtremeBanana

Why can't we just plug our PCs into our TVs?

obsequies
obsequies

this can't even stream everything. That was the best part of this ugly thing. Now it's just a beefy  handheld ouya

lyncer777
lyncer777

I Knew IT! Gamespot really loves NVIDIA !

hmm...

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

It would have been a worthy portable if it wasn't running on android.It should have had games of its own like the Vita or DS.Besides,Valve's developing some technology to stream games directly to your TV from your PC.I'd prefer the big screen to the puny Shield.

Jwash16
Jwash16

Android consoles will replace traditional consoles in 5 years. 

senjutsu
senjutsu

I don't see the point of this "console". If wanna play PC games, I'll play on PC, if I want them on TV, I'll plug my PC on my PC, and I don't ever want to play normal games on a portable device. Portable games are different, they let you play for less time and stop without being frustrating. Anyway.

ahpuck
ahpuck

I'm all for innovation, but this and the ouya are just bad ideas.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

The tech nerd inside me loves this. Technology is just plain cool. 

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I guess this is a good thing. Being able to use the Android portable in console mode. It is unlikely that many people would use Nvidia shield in public as a portable system. So at least people can use any bluetooth controller. Dualshock 3 or even a wii U pro controller and play on their T.V

But would not most PC gamers just hook up their gaming computer to an HDTV if they really wanted to game in the living room?


rarson
rarson

Why would anyone want to do this? My PC is already hooked up to the TV, but even if it wasn't, I'd do that before using a Shield. There's nothing that the Shield offers as a console that my PC doesn't, and my PC doesn't have to stream its games, either.

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

I'm not going to knock this product.  If someone finds this a value for their gaming habits, then hey, that's good for them.  I see no reason to express agitation about this product.  I am left a bit wondering about the appeal of the product, though.  I hope it doesn't come off as bashing this.

One thing I don't get is that if most PC gamers play PC games a good part due to the visual fidelity of the games, as well as to access the keyboard/mouse for certain kind of games that revolve more suitably around those as controls, why would they want to stream those games onto a smaller, weaker, and none-keyboard/mouse device?

If one wants to play on their TV, many high-end HDTVs now support WirelessHD or you can buy a Wireless HD kit to wirelessly connect to your computer, which are just about the price of a Shield anyways. And if the games even play well with console-style controls, seems like most PC gamers already own a USB controller for that, too.

Another thing I don't get is that if you already have an Android device, assuming you would buy a Shield to play those games, wouldn't you just be cheaper and probably more practical in terms of portability to just buy a physical-button controller peripheral built specifically for the Android mobile device?

If you mobile-game THAT much that you want console-style controls for it, seems like you might be better offf buying a dedicated gaming handheld like the PS Vita for the same price, which will plays its own (bigger) games and can stream between a PS3 or a PS4.  Or you could just buy a $35 peripheral for your Android device for physical-button controls.

And the 4K thing, I think, is a bit overrated.  Realistically, there's very little noticeable difference between 4K and 1K displays, if you've ever been near one.  There's a difference, but not NEARLY as significant as the just from 480p to 1080p was.  Also, there's not much 4K content and hardly anyone owns a 4K TV or display (and probably won't for several years, as they're ridiculously-expensive).

One can claim that it's best to be "future-proof" but, realistically, 4K won't be anywhere near consumer-level for probably a good five years or so--at least.  And even then, I think that most consumers will fail to see the big difference enough to justify buying a new 4K display--it'll look like a slightly-crisper 1K HDTV to most.  Not to mention, a 4K TV feels like it's as large as a whale in your living room.

I think 4K will turn out the same way 3DTV has been--aficionados aside, nobody really cares.  1K will be to the 21st century what the new 480p was to much the 20th--sufficient to most people for decades.

I sincerely doubt the 4K content is TRUE 4K content experience anyways, seeing how a streamed 2-hour 4K movie amounts to tens of gigabytes in size, HDMI bandwidth will be a problem anyways--esp. for such a small device. So I doubt the tacked-on "even 4K" feature will be that big a deal.  It just seems to me the Shield doesn't seem to have a strong point anyways.

I get the aspect that this device allows one to play their such games and movies from away the computer, but if you're going to spend $299, it seems like you have better options that utilize what you already own.  Perhaps if NVIDIA hired some developers to make some solid exclusive titles that best utilize the Shield to compliment those other features, that'd give it some exclusive value you can't find anywhere else.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

nvidia playing catchup with AMD on cool stuff, and yet this isnt really cool at all.

jcknapier711
jcknapier711

I don't understand the point of streaming your PC or console games onto Shield?  Sure, it sounds neat, but not very practical.

blutosan
blutosan

Every story that I read states that you can pair "a" Bluetooth controller with the Shield. Does anyone know if the limit is just one controller?

angrycreep
angrycreep

I have everything but the video card. I have a Pentium 4, 3.4 mhz with a turbo boost to 3.8  I have 32Gb of ram, but only 16Gb Of are recognize because I have windows 7 home edition which only recognize 16GB of memories. My video card is not bad, but still not the one they talking about in here. The one I have is the (Nvidia GTX 550 Ti 1GB  975GHZ)

zk85
zk85

@spartanx169x I dont know man, been pretty fun using it, Vita has like 4 hours of battery life (I own one), the shield is 10 hours... plus I can play on the shield games from android (there are some really awesome ones, I was pleasantly surprised), and u can use it to play emulator games (from Atari all the way to ps1 and N64)  u can even play psp games on it.

The speakers are amazing and very loud if you want them to be. I dont know man I really like it and think it has a good future ahead of it if they market it well, I man streaming HD movies on it if u have XBMC installed is pretty fun as well.

obsequies
obsequies

@spartanx169x it's also limited to certain games and it has to be desktop gtx's. Yet devs on XDA have created cracks to run it on more powerful imac and notebook GPU's. I'm pretty disapointed in nvidia. They should leave incompatibility up to crashes, not peoples wallets. 

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@ExtremeBanana you can obviously, and if you want to use a controller both the PS3 controller and Xbox 360 controller work well at least with game that have controller support.

zk85
zk85

@gamefreak215jd I disagree man, this is meant for a different market :) android games are getting really far ahead now with really awesome graphics... but once you add that android lets u use emulators then you have a CRAZY amount of games... u can play on it ps1, sega, psp, and N64 games for free.

not to mention u can stream HD movies to the device with netflix if u are in the states or XBMC if ur out.

TwilightPhoenix
TwilightPhoenix

@Jwash16 That's what they said about Onlive.  Granted, it still has two years to go before it misses that date, but I've not heard a thing about it since it launched.

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

@senjutsu Not everyone wants to run cables throughout their house to connect their PC to the TV in the lounge. Depending on how your house is set up, this could be quite useful.

Gle4se
Gle4se

@Megavideogamer Yeah that's what we do, I have a gaming PC and for competitive gaming I use my mouse and keyboard+monitor, when I play games like Assassins Creed for example I plug in to the TV that's on top of my monitor and play with an xbox controller. Now the cool thing is for the people that already own the Nvidia Shield System :p

rarson
rarson

Regarding 4k, it's a noticeable improvement in image quality. I have been gaming on high resolution PC monitors for many years now, so when I see 1080p resolution blown up to 42 inches or more, it doesn't impress me in the least. Don't get me wrong, HD looks good and is fine for most people (at least for now), but at big screen sizes, it's pretty poor. At 80 inches, it looks like crap.

You can buy a 39" 4k TV right now for $700. So it's already affordable. It just doesn't make much sense beyond use as a computer monitor, since the content isn't there yet. But considering movies are already being filmed in 8k and downsampled in mastering, it's only a matter of time. That's probably why you didn't notice much difference, because the source material was crappy.

HDMI has enough bandwidth for 4k resolution at 30 fps. Which is meh. HDMI is a fairly crappy standard. Other standards exist that can actually support 4k at reasonable refresh rates, but 4k bandwidth is currently a problem since the industry standard is HDMI. AMD is working to help overcome this as well. As to what 4k has to do with Shield, I'm not really sure because even if it does support outputting at 4k in some format, it won't be rendering anything at that resolution. I doubt it could even process video at that resolution. At best, it'll just take the output and upscale it. In which case, who cares.


By the way, 4k refers to the horizontal resolution. Hence, 1080p could be considered 2k (1920 pixels), not 1k. 4k is double the number of pixels of 1080p in both directions.

rarson
rarson

@MacroManJr  

Things that Shield is good for:

-Emulators

-Android games that support it

-Streaming PC games if you've got a newer Nvidia GPU 650 or higher.

Things that Shield isn't too good for:

-Android games that don't support it (most of them)

-Streaming PC games if you don't have a newer Nvidia GPU (there's no technical limitation here, Nvidia simply wants you to buy a new GPU).

As awesome as I can see it being for various things, not to mention that it's got vanilla Android on it, the fact that Nvidia has hamstrung its most awesome feature (streaming) in a lame attempt to get people to buy more video cards really damages the value of the device. Yes, there are several different potential workarounds for this, but they all have their issues and none of them really work as well as the factory option. Consider the price, the weight, and the fact that this thing really isn't actually all that portable, and I just don't see the allure anymore.

And in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that this is an Nvidia device, which means it'll probably suffer from heat-related issues.

MetalDragon199
MetalDragon199

@jcknapier711 i used to think just like that
but after i got a vita i changed my mind i can see the usefulness of it
playing while lying down on your bed is a whole different feeling
i mean i was just playing Soul Sacrifice and only stopped because the battery ran out

randalmcdaniels
randalmcdaniels

@blutosan almost all bluetooth devices these days support more then one link, its just a matter if the software/driver allows it. I would be pretty confident that it would support more then one controller. Even the 99cent bluetooth dongles i order on ebay all support multiple controllers up to 4

obsequies
obsequies

@spartanx169x @ExtremeBanana theres plenty of programs dedicated to mapping mouse and keyboards to buttons and sticks too. Therese also sites which cater to pre configured saves for these programs.

cashandcarry
cashandcarry

@bbq_R0ADK1LL @senjutsu for $300+graphic card, i am sure you can find much cheaper way to connect your PC to TV with less complicated setup and better latency.

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

@rarson

My last reply, I'm afraid--I'm fatigued.  @_@

* * *
1st Paragraph: I know there is a noticeable difference from 1080p with 4K resolution on larger screens, though my overall point there (which I probably stated too tersely) is that even on an extra-large screen (such as an 80" screen, the overall experience differs very little to what 1080p (or 2K) resolution offers on an average-sized screen.  I was saying how most people would see it--for anything under 42" (which the majority use), most people will see it as just a slightly-crisper HD display.  Even an 80-inch 4K screen won't seem like anything but a "larger 1080p experience"--maybe even too big.

* * *
2nd Paragraph:
You're right that outside computers, 4K has little usage.  But even when more content is created for 4K TVs, there's another issue they'll face--there are only two options for watching 4K movies: highly-compressed bandwidth-heavy streaming service or highly-compressed movies on 100GB+ 4K Blu-ray discs.

8K movies downsampled to 4K can expect potential issues with the compression such as halo artifacts, f
rame rates issues and maybe text size issues.  And uncompressed 4K movies take up tens of TERABYTES for a single movie.  We're going to need the new HDMI 2.0 to deal with it, but even then, many homes just have decent-enough Internet for high-end Netflix, let alone 4K streaming.

Netflix themselves said 4K service from them will require at least 15 Mbps, which is twice the U.S. average, apparently
.  Streaming or hard media, that's going to cost you more money than it may be worth for quite a long while.  The average consumer will instead probably just stick with a $600 50" 1080p HDTV over even a cheap $700 4K TV, seeing little value in investing in 4K altogether.

* * *
3rd Paragraph: They just recently developed HDMI 2.0, which does 18Gbit/s.  It's a significant improvement to HDMI.  But unfortunately, it doesn't seem Shield will be using HDMI 2.0 (as far as I know), making any effort of 4K (outputting?  viewing?) rather useless.  Yeah, it's almost certainly an upscaled 4K, which, as you said, won't concern anyone.

* * *
4th Paragraph: I know how resolution works and it's measured.  Thus how I was able to arrive at an general estimate of the 4K's data size.  I'm just overwhelmed with fatigue reading the wall of text (which sadly, I'm contributing to), I'm rushing through reducing through it, and it's been a long-ass day.  Just go ahead and consider them read as "1.
92K" instead.

Anyways, thanks for the exchange.  :)

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

@rarson BUT 4 times the pixels. so you can say 4 time sharper picture, or 4 times more details. 

every 1 pixel in a 1080p signal will now be shown using 4 pixels, so you can get 4 times the picture detail. 

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

@rarson @MacroManJrThose are reasonable concerns.  It does seem to be more about NVIDIA marketing their GPU business more than actually settling on satisfying any real particular gaming need.

I mean, emulators are on anything.  (Someone's even managed to put a game emulator of a TI-83 Plus graphing calculator, believe it or not.)  Emulators aren't selling factors much anymore.

Streaming PC games onto an mobile device with a console controller seems to be counterproductive means of means of playing PC games (unless you're playing indie games on Steam that can use a controller--many of which being on Android anyways).

Spending $300 on a controller for mobile games would be like a grievous way to spend your money just to achieve such the means.

And yeah, as a gamer with an NVIDIA PC myself, I myself know well the issue of heat-related issues with my GPU.

The product does seem to be a promotional effort for more their new Tegra 4 and high-end PC graphics cards than the actual Shield device.  It doesn't seem like that strong a product.

Though, if they had some games that somehow exhibited the "advantages" of the Shield, at least it might add some intrinsic value to the product.  Maybe not $300-worth, though, which still seems to keep the product's value behind to me.

blutosan
blutosan

@randalmcdaniels That's good to know, I hope you're right. The console mode seems like something more than a novelty if it enables multiplayer on a single Shield.

angrycreep
angrycreep

@rarson @angrycreep Yeah you right, wasn't paying attention, to what I was writing. Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost)

zk85
zk85

@gamefreak215jd @Jwash16 @rarson  check Ravensword: Shadowlands,Modern Combat 4, AND Blitz Brigade - Online FPS.

They will REALLY change ur mind... they did for me :)

rarson
rarson

@Jwash16

I love the idea of an Android console. I hate the current execution. It's not even close to the quality of gaming experience that any current console gives. Hell, Android as a gaming platform PALES in comparison to a PS2! For one thing, it requires a decent controller! 

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

@Jwash16 @rarson Face it games on Android are completely shitty.You enjoy them for like 20-30 minutes and then its the same shit over and over again.Its only meant for noobs.No way it'll replace consoles.

rarson
rarson

@inaka_rob

Twice the resolution in both directions, four times the pixels. Yes. But "4k" refers to the approximately 4000 horizontal pixels (1920 * 2 = 3840), not four times the number of pixels.

rarson
rarson

@MacroManJr

As far as I can tell, the only reason Shield exists is because Nvidia needed something to put T4 into. Certainly the phone manufacturers don't seem to want it, and I don't think the size and heft of Shield is a coincidence. All of Nvidia's SoCs have been under power and over heat spec. And delayed. No surprise that Tegra design wins have drastically dropped.

Emulation would be a great selling point, if the price were lower and the console was more portable. As it is, you've got two better options: the PC, or the phone that's already in your pocket. The Shield is like the worst of both worlds. Maybe not that bad, but not as good as it should be.

For PC games, the majority of them support the 360 controller out of the box. I game mostly on PC, and I mostly use a controller. So I don't see that as a problem, but I also don't like the layout of Shield as much as a real console controller. Streaming is cool, it just doesn't work nearly as well as it should and is gimped by design, which is a shame.

On the whole, both Shield and Ouya really make me question the viability of Android as a serious gaming platform. It's a tinkerer's dream, and a great platform for casual cell and tablet games, but how can anyone expect to sell a $99 standalone console or a $299 handheld to the mainstream? It's ludicrous; the software support is all over the place and the quality is fiercely inconsistent. Anyone expecting a refined gaming experience is going to be sorely disappointed.

As it stands, the only market for Shield is techies. It can do most of what they want, but takes some effort to get it to work. Average consumers can't be bothered with that.