NVIDIA’s Shield handheld game console may have hit the streets in July, but NVIDIA keeps improving the device with software updates. In October the company rolled out button-mapping software to let you use the game controller buttons with Android games that normally require touchscreen input and improved features for letting you stream content from your mobile device to a big screen TV.
Now NVIDIA has another software update, and this time it improves both experiences.
The December update now lets you use physical buttons to replace motion-based gyroscrope movements as well as taps and swipes. For example, games that normally let you move left or right by tilting your phone or tablet can now be controlled by pressing a left or right button.
There’s also an option called “accelerated cursor” for games like Angry Birds which you can control with a cursor. Instead of having the cursor automatically move back to the center of the screen after an action, you can have it stay where it was to save you time on your next move.
What’s probably the coolest thing about NVIDIA’s button-mapping software is that you might not have to do anything manually at all. When you want to play a popular game that doesn’t officially support gamepad controls, NVIDIA will download pre-configured button maps so you don’t have to configure one yourself. There’s also a community portal for downloading or sharing mapping profiles.
The other big change in the December update is support for streaming some PC games to your TV at 1080p resolutions and 60 frames per second. If you have a PC with a supported NVIDIA graphics card you can stream games to your handheld device — and then use an HDMI cable to view those games on your TV. This basically turns the Shield into a remote control and media extender for your PC, letting you play PC games anywhere in the house (while they’re still actually running on your gaming PC, wherever it is).
Up until now you’d only been able to stream Android games to a TV at 1080p resolutions. PC games were limited to 720p.
The NVIDIA Shield handheld game console normally sells for $299, but there’s a Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion that lets you pick one up today for $249 while snagging a few free games and a carrying case.