Many were astonished that NVIDIA decided to drop Project Shield at CES 2013, and some were giddy right from the get-go. In trying to satisfy people’s hunger to know more about NVIDIA’s Android-based handheld game system, the folks over at NVIDIA has posted a lengthy (and perhaps even over-romanticized) blog post as to how Project Shield came about and the steps it took to become a showroom prototype.
Naturally, for something to become tangible it must be conceptualized through ideas and brainstorming, and according to NVIDIA Senior VP of Content & Strategy, Tony Tamasi, they were “talking on and off about building something for more than 5 years, maybe 10.”
Fast forward several years and finally NVIDIA became serious about making a console of its own. Add that to the fact that the Android ecosystem is now saturated with followers, and NVIDIA saw a perfect business opportunity. Now it was time to get to work on the actual hardware.
The people that brought us graphic cards that contributed to global warming began slapping a few parts together to see if the thingamajig could “revolutionize” the video game industry. One of the first contraptions was basically just “a game controller fastened to a smartphone with wood.” Interestingly enough, the smartphone, controller and wood combo made sense to the engineers and voila, Project Shield was born!
Skipping straight to the months that led up to CES 2013, and we found out that the engineers worked 14-hour days to mold the controller plus smartphone (sorry wood, you never had a chance) "thingy" into one unit. Finally, Project Shield was ready to be unveiled, and it was fun for us to see NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang show off the cool little Android toy (at first I thought it was a dummy unit when I awoke from my slumber during the previous announcements).
Project Shield is no doubt a highly anticipated product, but NVIDIA is not the only firm to be conjuring up Android gaming consoles as of late. Startups have been working on Android consoles and handhelds like the Ouya, and even established firms like ARCHOS have released its Android-based GamePad (slated for US in February). So the idea of a controller attached to an Android smartphone is nothing new, but perhaps NVIDIA’s cloud gaming solution on Project Shield will give it a boost. The addition of Project Shield to Android’s vast open network is sure to be an interesting one. Will we see NVIDIA dominate the gaming sector of Android, or will Project Shield become just another antiquated novelty right off the shelf? We'll find out soon enough.