Nvidia’s press conference at CES wasn’t just about the company’s upcoming (and very cool) portable gaming console Project Shield. The company also talked about GRID, which is a new streaming service that lets you play PC games just about everywhere, including on a tablet, Smart TV, or even smartphone. Project Shield is one of the most talked-about new contraptions coming out of CES this year – a portable Android device based on Tegra 4 that lets you play both Android games and stream full-scale PC games to a handheld controller and display. However, Nvidia is also gearing up to compete with OnLive, the service for gaming “over the cloud”.
The new competitor’s name is Nvidia GRID and seems to be working in roughly the same way, by rendering the game’s graphics remotely and streaming it to your device. According to Nvidia, this service allows you to play a PC game on your tablet, pause the game and continue playing right where you were on your PC. All of this is of course accomplished using a host of GeForce graphics card that power the games inside a remote data center. Games are streamed to your device in the form of H.264 video.
You do not need to purchase any additional hardware when the service is released in the U.S. likely sometime in 2013. Considering that this is Nvidia running the service, it’s possible that the graphics are better than OnLive, but it is unlikely that this solution is sufficient for gamers looking to play games like Battlefield 3 and CoD:MW3 online with minimum lag. Although Nvidia promises that the response times will be minimal, this physically requires close proximity to the data center.
Besides, Nvidia will want to continue selling hardware to regular gaming PCs and laptops, so it seems probable that GRID will target casual gamers rather than enthusiasts.