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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Almost Here!

The Nvidia SHIELD has been officially announced! Via Nvidia's website, you can now pre-order the hottest new portable gaming console. As of May 20th, 2013, you can also pre-order at stores such as GameStop according to Nvidia's website.

It's such exciting news to report as I've been waiting for this moment since this was announced a few months ago. It's about time that we get some more open, user-friendly devices running OSes like Android. This portable gaming system has it all. But there are some concerns...

At the announcement, Nvidia announced that the system would run a full Android version (currently said to be Android's Jelly Bean OS) and be able to wirelessly connect to a computer to play PC games directly onto the console. But now, the official pre-order page says that this feature will be in beta and that this will only work on certain PCs. According to the website, notebooks are excluded. It also appears that you will only be able to use Steam purchased games as well. While you will be able to play hot titles like Dishonored and Borderlands 2, you will only be able to play these if you have bought them through Steam. If you have gotten these games from anywhere else such as a CD from the store or downloaded from another website such as EA or Bethesda's websites, you will not be able to play these games on your SHIELD. The website has not said whether or not this will be changed in the future.

Even though many gamers, like myself, who do not own a desktop computer or purchase all games through Steam will not be able to use the PC function at launch, Nvidia has made the system to run on Android. This will allow gamers to buy pretty much any game that can be used on any 5 inch Android tablet and play these on the go.

The system certainly does not disappoint in other areas where gamers have been crying out such as including an HDMI-out port for playing over the big screen. Nvidia has also included high quality speakers, familiar gaming buttons, and much more into this neat little device that will please many gamers.

However, while this is all good and all, I'm highly skeptical. Seeing as this is Nvidia's first gaming console and  the part about this not being officially supported to run all PC games puts me on the edge. For $349, I expected a little more. While this is about $100 more than other portable gaming devices like the PS Vita, it still doesn't grab me enough. Android is a good operating system and it gives me hope knowing that Nvidia has not made it hacker-unfriendly but it just isn't enough. For that same price, I can purchase an Android tablet or even an iPad and do just as much.

The best thing about this is yet to be seen. Who knows what the community has in store for this device? Hackers may be able to make this device do some really awesome things that even the company who made it never thought possible. They may even be able to perfect the device and make it so that it can run all PC games. Who knows? Only time will tell. I'm a little worried about putting so much money into such a piece of equipment seeing as it is their first system.

Has anyone pre-ordered the console yet?

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