Nvidia is really keen on getting their game streaming service up and running and at the core of its goals is the product driving everything – the Geforce Shield, a handheld Android-running console powered by Nvidia’s fourth-generation Tegra hardware. The game streaming service was in beta less than two months ago, but Nvidia feels that it’s working well enough to finally become a selling point for its products and to that end, they’ve finally revealed who their hardware partners are for “Nvidia GameStream”, the title they’ve finally settled on for their service. Do you want to get in on this hotness? Hit the button to find out more…
Nvidia says that their GameStream program is designed to allow manufacturers and system builders to tailor machines to an approved specification set by Nvidia, allowing them to market it as a “GameStream-ready” computer or network device. Nvidia hopes to create an environment for users through the use of approved hardware to give them the best game streaming experience possible.
First up is a list of routers that Nvidia has qualified for use in home streaming to the Geforce Shield. These routers have been personally tested by the driver and development team handing GameStream and are available in most markets. These routers don’t come cheap, mind you, and it looks like Nvidia is concentrating purely on wireless performance for the best possible results.:
- ASUS RT-AC66U
- ASUS RT-AC68U
- ASUS RT-N56U
- ASUS RT-N66U
- Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1200
- Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1750
- D-Link DIR-860L AC1200
- D-Link DGL-5500 AC1300
- Netgear Nighthawk R700
- Netgear R6300
- Netgear R6250
- Netgear WNDR4500
Some requirements for streaming games to the Geforce Shield handheld console are a little stringent. The limitations of the Sheild’s hardware means that if you want to send a 720p stream over Wi-Fi to the console, you’ll have to accept that the framerate will drop to 30fps due to bandwidth restrictions. Despite this, most games appear to be pretty playable.
Nvidia says that when the handheld is hooked up to a wired network in console mode and displaying the game on a second monitor using the HDMI port that the full 1080p resolution is available and, if the hardware is capable on your desktop computer, at 60 frames per second as well. Because it’s in console mode, though, you’ll need to link up a Bluetooth-enabled game controller to be able to play anything.
Nvidia also says that system builders and OEMs making up gaming PCs to qualify for use of the GameStream-ready brand need to adhered to specific hardware requirements. They are as follows:
- GPU: GeForce GTX 650 or higher desktop GPU (Notebook GPUs are not supported at this time)
- CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz or AMD Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz or higher
- System Memory: 4GB or higher
- Software: GeForce Experience™ application and latest GeForce drivers
- OS: Windows 8 or Windows 7
That’s pretty low-end, all things considered. Getting a PC that is capable of running most modern games isn’t that expensive these days and when compared to a console at a similar price, the PC is a more capable solution because it can do a lot more than just play games. Speaking of games, not all of them work well with the streaming software and Nvidia is working together with several studios to make sure that some older and upcoming titles will be ready to utilise the streaming service.
The graphics giant does, however, have over 60 games already working flawlessly with the service and has published the list (which they promise is growing daily) on the Geforce website. Some of the latest titles compatible with GameStream are Batman: Arkham Origins, Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Metro: Last Light and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. More games are being added onto the list every day.
Its clear that game streaming is going to be the hottest topic on the minds of gamers in 2014 and companies like Nvidia, Valve and Sony will all be leading the charge. Will it be another gimmick, or a feature that actually sees some use? We’ll have to wait and see. The entry point is costly, though, and the Geforce Shield isn’t available locally. At least here, it has little chance of taking off to any degree.
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