Android and Linux are not known for gaming. Although you can play games through android powered Tablets, but no self respecting gamers would call Angry Birds a ‘real’ game. Ouya, Steam Box, and Nvidia’s Project Shield have therefore been dismissed by some critics, because it is a common perception that platforms such as Android and Linux do not go along with gaming. However, that is about to change.
If Nvidia’s Project Shield proved one thing, it’s that a powered up Android machine can handle any gaming engine as well as Xbox, PlayStation, or a Windows powered PC. Although the open platform is currently known for Tablets and Smartphones, they are constantly growing and expanding into new areas.
With the launch of Linux powered Steam Box, we now have not one but two high spec devices that can handle all major gaming engines, can connect to HD TVs, and can provide a complete gaming experience on the big and small screen alike. Gamers are a bit skeptical about Android and Linux powered devices, but we are moving towards a world where the consoles will simply be means to an end, and the service being provided will hold greater value.
In the gaming world, the hardware’s only job is to be able to run the game without any glitches, and to provide gamers with a thoroughly satisfying experience. The gaming console industry has so far been dominated by PlayStation and Xbox (no disrespect to Nintendo), and any new entrant would find it difficult to turn that around. However, with technological advancements, devices such as Steam Box and Shield will most definitely give Sony and Microsoft a run for their money.
Nvidia is also offering a grid cloud computing, through this the gamer can use Shield’s streamlining feature and play the game as long as they are connected through a high speed internet connection. You can simply connect the device to your TV, enjoy the game, save the game, and take your Shield with you. You can take it anywhere you want and play it on the built-in small screen; your progress would still be saved through cloud computing.
While Steam Box is not out yet, it is being advertised as “all-in-one streaming, gaming, and browsing server that travels to multiple gaming displays”. For now we are expecting a product similar to Shield, but may be Steam would surprise us.
Both Shield and Steam Box were extremely popular topics in the CES 2013. Representatives from Microsoft and Sony have come up with politically correct answers when asked about new entrants in the gaming industry, and it is difficult to speculate if the big two are worried about Nvidia or Steam.
The two devices will need a lot more enhancements and upgrading if they are to take away from Xbox or PlayStation’s market share. However, with increased concentration on cloud computing, streaming, and built in browsing and online shops, both Steam and Nvidia are destined to change the gaming industry forever.