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Project Shield unveiled at CES

NVIDIA have announced Project Shield at CES, a portable gaming system concept that can run both Android and PC games…

Created with NVIDIA’s philosophy that gaming should be open and flexible, Project Shield plays both Android and PC titles. It  play the full library of Google Play Android titles thanks to the built in Jellybean OS. Plus, and much like Nintendo’s Wii U Gamepad, it acts as a wireless receiver and controller, allowing you to stream games from any PC – powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs – with access to titles on Valve’s Steam store from anywhere in the home.

At the core of the device is NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 processor, with custom 72-core GeForce GPUs and the first quad-core application of ARM’s Cortex-A15.

As you can see from the screens here, it has a clamshell design like the DS, albeit with only one screen. Flipping the top open reveals a 5-inch, 1280×720 HD retinal multitouch display, and below it a full gamepad controller with D-Pad, Twin Analogue sticks, four face buttons plus shoulder triggers. This allows the controller to work with AAA PC titles like Assassins Creed III, Borderlands 2 and Skyrim, as well as Android games that support it. All other Android games will of course be playable via the touchscreen.

It’s certainly an interesting concept, with NVIDIA clearly noticing the way people are now playing games in other ways than traditional PC or Console play, such as streaming (like OnLive), touchscreen gaming (like iOS and Android) and second screen play (like iPads and Wii-U). However, this could be just a proof of concept of what NVIDIA can do, and so it probably won’t see the light of day any time soon, at least in its present guise. For one the design needs some work. It’s not exactly pretty – with a bulky AlienWare look to it. And, while the controller is no doubt ergonomic, it doesn’t look like it would be comfortable to hold while using the touchscreen.

So, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below. To start you off, here are some thoughts from right here at TouchGen towers:

Nacho: “Fascinating. I would love to see this wirelessly stream to my TV as well. “

Kevin: “Initial thoughts – why didn’t Apple think of this?”

Matt: “Why? Why do we need another handheld gaming device? Why do we need something else that can stream to our TV when we already have normal game consoles that play games on the TV? I really hope the price point is right for this, because I can’t imagine it doing well in a market that is already saturated by iOS devices, consoles, and the 3DS/DS.”

Andy: “I’m sure it will be a competent device, but I really can’t see it getting all that far in the market.  Like Matt said, there’s just too much competition.  Honestly, the screen itself does nothing for me, but the idea of a wireless gamepad that was able to fling video to the TV from a gaming PC has some potential.  That part definitely interests me. As a standalone gaming system, I dunno.  Not really for me, and I’m not sure who it would be for.”

Nathan: “I don’t know if video is being transferred via WiFi, but I would need to be able to play games at a greater range than the Wii u to want one of these.”

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