Nvidia Shield Console Launching In June for $350

By Mike Andronico , Updated May 14, 2013 11:21 AM EDT
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What if you could take your home console gaming experience anywhere? That's what Nvidia was likely pondering when they developed the Shield, a portable device with the ability to play some of today's biggest console and PC games.

Those anxious to get their hands on this innovative hybrid device can rest assured knowing the wait is almost over. The Nvidia Shield will be officially launching in June with a price tag of $350. Pre-orders for the console will begin on May 20.

How does this new-age portable gaming system work? At first glance, the Shield looks like a modified Xbox controller with a tablet screen attached to it. The 5-inch multi-touch screen can produce 720p images, and the mobile console can be plugged into a television for the full HD experience. The Shield operates on Android's 4.1 operating system, otherwise known as Jellybean.

According to PC World, the Shield can play titles from both the Google Play marketplace as well as popular digital outlets such as Steam and Nvidia's own TegraZone. The latter marketplace contains titles such as Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and NBA 2K13, so the Shield should be able to handle the past few generations of game software.

Wondering what your $350 will get you if you decide to splurge on a Shield? According to the official website, the console will come pre-loaded with two titles: Sonic 4 Episode II THD and Expendable: Rearmed. The device is Wi-Fi ready, and the main interface looks very similar to what you see on an Android tablet or smartphone. Twitch TV and Hulu Plus apps are available right out of the box, with tons of others available for download.

"If Nvidia can get some AAA titles and a good experience connecting to an HDTV, I could see a small segment of consumers choosing Shield over a new console," says Moor Insights president Patrick Moorhead in an e-mail to PC World.

While hardcore gamers might not be interested in taking the pricey device on the road, those without a current-gen console might be attracted to its diverse functionality as a portable console, home system, and mini-tablet. Do you think the Shield will make a splash this year?

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