NVIDIA saw the future of gaming years ago, before Tegra 2 ushered in a new age of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets.
“Several years ago we started this endeavor to create a single chip mobile application processor because we saw the future of computing would come in all kinds of varieties,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer at NVIDIA. “We thought everything would very likely become connected through your computer, cel phone, tablet, car, LG television. And all of these devices need to be powered by sophisticated, low-powered processors. We felt performance was important, so we took the lead in building faster mobile processors.”
Following its dual core Tegra 2 chip, NVIDIA introduced the quad core Tegra 3. With each generation, the company took a performance leadership position. Huang said Tegra 4 utilizes 72 custom NVIDIA GeForce GPU cores -- or six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3. It includes the first quad-core application of ARM's most advanced CPU core, the Cortex-A15, which delivers 2.6x faster web browsing and breakthrough performance for apps.
Tegra 4 is at the heart of the new SHIELD gaming device, which features an integrated 5-inch, 1280x720 HD retinal multitouch display, with 294 dpi. The technology also opens up NVIDIA Grid cloud gaming from the PC.
“NVIDIA Grid brings a 3D gaming experience that isn’t possible on even a Transformer Prime today to mobile devices,” said Huang. “NVIDIA Grid is our first integrated product. Cloud gaming is an industry that is about to come to fruition. We’re enabling technology that’s taken five years to create to allow companies to deploy cloud gaming in a global way.”
Huang said the consumer electronics industry has been radically changed with music and movie cloud services that can be streamed to multiple screens. NVIDIA is hoping to do the same thing for cloud gaming. “The GeForce Experience app allows the end-user to enjoy the latest PC games with console simplicity, while taking full advantage of the latest computer technology,” said Huang.
Andrew Fear, product manager for NVIDIA Grid, demonstrated the technology during the press conference by starting a game of Trine 2 on an LG 55LA6900 Smart TV, pausing it, and continuing the game from that save point on SHIELD.
“You launch the client and magically the exact same UI shows up,” said Fear. “Cloud gaming allows you to go on the road and pick up where you were on the TV with your tablet or SHIELD and play your PC games on any device.”
Huang believes SHIELD and its Android and cloud gaming capabilities will impact the game development community moving forward.
“Imagine each one of your Shield are used to see driver cockpit view, while others see a spectator view on a TV,” said Huang. “There are all different ways to create games as a result of this model.”