Nvidia made a surprising announcement at CES 2013 earlier today as the company, mostly known for its graphics cards, has revealed a handheld gaming console called Project Shield that can play both Android games as well as PC titles, which can be streamed to the device via Wi-Fi.Nvidia has catered to gamers worldwide by providing not just graphics cards for PC and laptops, but also special mobile chipsets in the Tegra family for Android-powered mobile phones and tablets.
Now, the company has decided to properly blend these two aspects and has just revealed a handheld console called Project Shield.
As you can see above, the device is quite striking to look at, as it looks like a regular console controller with a display that flips out.
"Project Shield was created by Nvidia engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play," said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO at Nvidia, in a statement.
"We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We hope other gamers love Shield as much as we do."
The device is powered by Nvidia's latest Tegra 4 mobile processor, which makes games shine on the integrated 5-inch 720p HD multitouch display. No word yet on battery life but, thanks to special energy-saving mechanics, it can deliver "hours of gameplay on a single charge."
By far the best selling point, however, is that the portable device can not only work as an Android-based games console, like the Ouya, but it can also act, via wireless, as both a controller and a screen for PC games, provided the computer that's sending the footage is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 GPU or higher.
"Created with the philosophy that gaming should be open and flexible, Project Shield flawlessly plays both Android and PC titles. As a pure Android device, it gives access to any game on Google Play. And as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its Steam game library from anywhere in the home."
Nvidia has also offered feedback from various gaming companies that are excited about the device, ranging from high profile ones, like Ubisoft or Epic Games, to Android-focused studios, like Madfinger Games.