Nvidia has come up with something genuinely exciting in the gaming world with the announcement of Project Shield, a totally Android-based games console that looks like an all-in-one game controller.
The real trick of the Shield though is its interaction with the PC. Nvidia has turned the controller into a media streamer that lets you play games from your desktop on your TV.
So your desktop streams the PC game over Wi-Fi to the controller, which in turn plays it on your TV or the attached 5-inch screen. The controller even runs Steam. Think of it like a Wii U for the PC gamer, making it finally possible to easily hook up your PC to your big screen TV in the living room.
The controller is the console, with a Tegra 4 chip inside and a HDMI out on the bottom of the device so it can connect it to your TV. The controller can also be used with a 5-inch, 720p display that plugs into the top of it. There is also a microSD slot and an audio out, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack.
Inside is a set of batteries to keep the whole thing ticking over, providing 5-10 hours of gameplay. The controller sports some powerful speakers which Nvidia says are on par with something like a Jambox.
The controller console combo runs on a pure version of Android. It was demoed hooked up over HDMI to a 4K LG TV. You can use all the normal Android functionality with the controller, such as listening to music or browsing on the Android store. Nvidia even played a 4K video using the device and it ran without a hitch.
The 5-inch display will mirror whatever is shown on the HDMI out and is touch sensitive, making for a tablet-like Android experience. The console is essentially a replacement for the set-top box or Apple TV, but with Android gaming thrown in and a proper controller.
This is a real first for Nvidia, though we doubt Ouya is going to be hugely happy about it. This, Tegra 4 and Nvidia Grid, a cloud-based gaming system, make for quite a show from Nvidia at CES. No pricing or release dates yet on the Shield, but we can't wait.
UPDATE: Nvidia tells us the device is running on Jelly Bean and that it should start turning up around Q2 this year in the US