Nvidia’s New Game-Streaming Service, GRID

As a staunch enthusiast of gaming, this is so much welcome news for me and the species of the GAMINGVERSE. Nvidia just announced a game-streaming service, Grid, which purports to stream top-noch titles up to 1080p and 60 frames per second. Nvidia’s capitane Jen-Hsun Huang declares the service — which is supported by Nvidia Grid supercomputers worldwide and Amazon Web Services — can stream at 150ms, or “half a blink of an eye.” The service will launch in May alongside the fresh Nvidia Shield home game console. However, it’s still not clear Grid will be available on anything but Shield at this juncture. By the way, since we are speaking matters SHIELD, Nvidia announced a new addition to its Shield lineup of devices, an Android-based living room device capable of 4K playback and capture, during its Game Developers Conference 2015 press event. So, the console packs up neatly with the launch of the streaming service in May. The set-top box and console hybrid packs a Tegra X1 processor, which sports a 256-bit Maxwell GPU with 3GB of memory. Its body features a MicroSD slot, a Micro USB 2.0 port, two USB Type-A 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet port, and HDMI port. For a total geeked up gamer like me, it means my butt is going to become permanently plastered to my gaming chair!

The Nvidia Shield supports Android Bluetooth 4.1 and dual-band 801.11ac Wi-Fi connections, 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound over HDMI and an IR receiver.

Nvidia will offer two strata. One is the free subscription service that has 50+ games, whilst the premium will let you buy titles à la carte. Mr. Huang says many titles will be on the service day and date with their release.

On stage, Nvidia showed off handful of games it’s reportedly streaming from miles away, including twitch-racer Grid 2 and new titles like Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and The Witcher 3, which so far seem to be very smooth with no noticeable artifacting, say garbled up processing during movement of a character. The visual fidelity seemed to be slightly lower than it would if the games were played on a high-end PC or next generation console, but some games like Witcher 3 can be played in a higher-detail mode over Grid.

“What we need is a great store. Well, Google Play will have thousands of games. We created a store to curate the best of the best games, the ones designed for Shield,” declares Huang.

Game streaming as a service has had varying degrees of success. One of the early forerunners Gaikai was bought by Sony and became the much loved PlayStation Now, while OnLive had a rather not-so friendly fall.

Spring is here and it comes with good tidings for us gamers, can’t wait for May.


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