NVIDIA is rolling out some major changes for its Shield handheld game console. While the company’s not ready to update the hardware yet, NVIDA is cutting the price to $200 through the end of April, launching a major software update, and announcing one of the most popular PC games is coming to the Android-based game console.
The NVIDIA Shield is now available from Newegg for $200.
First up, thanks to the $50 price drop, the Shield now costs less than a Google Nexus 7 (2013) tablet. That’s a pretty good deal for a device with an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5 inch, 720p touchscreen display and a console-style video game controller.
While you can use the Shield for web surfing or other activities, what sets it apart from the Nexus 7 and other tablets is the purpose-built design. The NVIDIA Shield is meant for gaming, and that doesn’t just mean Android gaming.
You’ve always been able to use a Shield to stream PC games from a computer on your home network. Now the GameStream feature is coming out of beta and adding support for notebooks with NVIDIA’s recent mobile graphics chips. That means you can turn on a notebook or desktop with your favorite games installed and then plop down on the couch with the Shield to play the games.
You can also now stream games even when you’re not on your home network. As long as you’re connected to any network that gets 5Mbps upload and download speeds you can login to your home PC remotely to wake it up and then stream PC games on the go.
NVIDIA is also rolling out a software update based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and adding new features including support for a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard if you want to use PC-style controls while gaming on a Shield.
At launch Portal will only be available for devices with Tegra chips, but it could eventually run on Android devices with other chips as well.