The Consumer Electronics Show of 2013 just kicked off today. But even before today, starting yesterday there were a few stage announcements. Specifically let’s take a look at Nvidia’s Project Shield and what we all like to call the Steam Box. Which is currently actually being code named Piston, which has a nice ring to it if you ask me. Personally I’m not the most techy person around but I’ve had a large variety of consoles and handhelds so I’m most certainly interested in these two and so should you be!
Is Project Shield another Ouya rival?
Let’s discuss the Nvidia Project Shield first. This is also a codename at the moment, rather than the official name. Project Shield is a new portable gaming device / handheld that can play Android and PC titles. Alone it can play Android titles on Google Play & Nvidia TegraZone as well as access several Android apps like Hulu or Netflix for example. But it can use Nvidia’s GeForce GTX GPUs or higher if streamed from a PC on Steam, allowing you to hop onto some really awesome games.
One of the things that bothers me about it right now is that you have to be streaming from a PC nearby to play those higher setting games. It makes sense easily, but it almost defeats the point of going out of your house with this handheld. Granted you can get your Android use out of it and it holds a great charge. Apparently it can hold up to 10 hours of gaming and 24 hours of video playback. A few of the big shots that were shown being on stage being played on the Project Shield were Assassin’s Creed III, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and none other than Hawken. Of course Khang Le the Creative Director of Adhesive Games was on stage duking it out in Hawken with someone else. He got most of the kills, in fact, all of the kills! Anyway, it manages to run it relatively well without lag which is definitely neat. They were able to connect it to a TV on stage using a HDMI cable leading to one of them taking advantage of the TV, while the other using the 5 inch screen on Project Shield. A neat idea that was thrown around on stage is that you can have players playing a game on the handhelds in a living room while connected to the TV giving people not playing a spectators view. So imagine you’re racing against someone in Most Wanted and on TV you’ve got those crazy replay views. People are watching as your car speeds right past the other player in intense perspectives. That could be neat, but this just makes me think we’re looking at this being more of a controller than a console. In the scenario that we’re running games that need to be streamed that is. Nvidia’s Project Shield sounds cool, but seeing where it actually leads to should be interesting. So far from what I’ve been hearing most people don’t think it’ll make it too far, any thoughts?
Le Steam Box
Then we’ve got the Steam Box. That’s right, the box that boils water and steam rises from it, yeah... yeah, let’s go with that. That’ll work! If you’re still reading, then the Steam Box has been something rumored about for a while now. Every now and then a patent, blueprint, or rumor in general has been popping up around the internet on Valve looking into creating consoles or hardware. We’ve heard things such as a PC for every living room, the way people have consoles. Now that CES 2013 is here we finally have word on what they’re calling Piston.
While we don’t know too much on it yet and probably more will be unveiled later this week, it’s still interesting to see think about what can come from it. As far as we know Valve has made their way into the hardware scene by investing in the company Xi3Corporation.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for Xi3,” stated Jason A. Sullivan, President & CEO of Xi3. “This new development stage product will allow users to take full-advantage of their large high-definition TV displays for an amazing computer game experience. As a result, this new system could provide access to thousands of gaming titles through an integrated system that exceeds the capabilities of leading game consoles, but can fit in the palm of your hand.”
As to the specs of the Piston we only know that it can support up to 1TB of storage and has a modular motherboard for upgrading.
It’s always interesting to see what companies try to step out into the spotlight each year. We’re all desperately waiting for information on the upcoming PlayStation 4 or the Xbox 720, whatever it may be that’s coming next. But they’re not the only ones anymore as indie dreams are becoming a reality and ideas like these are coming out of no where. 2013 is going to be an interesting year and I’m certainly curious what will stick and actually succeed. We can look forward to Ouya, the GameStick, Project Shield, Piston, and even more neat stuff currently at CES that I haven’t heard of yet. Technology is always improving, making gaming better and better every day.