Nvidia's "Project Shield" System
Just when you may have thought the playing field for video game systems was becoming constrained, in "walks" another system to vie for your gaming dollars. Just introduced is a handheld console by Nvidia called "Project Shield." With this device, you can not only play games, but you will also be able to stream games wirelessly to your television. The system has a 720p retina screen with a 5" display, and looks very similar to a game pad complete with the curve-like handles. The portable console is said to have "stunning high-definition video and audio."
Nvidia "Project Shield" in closed position
Nvidia is not a stranger to the tech world. If you played video games within the last twenty years or so, you have probably played on a system that uses Nvidia hardware. In fact, the company got into the chip business side of things back in 1993, then moved on to processors in smart phones, mobile devices, as well as other PC ventures. The company even has its hands in powering the MacBook Pro Retina and gaming PCs.
"Project Shield" is a hand held portable device.
To date, it has not been revealed if the system will launch with its own set of games. It is known that "Project Shield" is an android based console, touting games available from Google Play and Nvidia's own TegraZone.
Release date and price information were unavailable at press time.
Sony's Patent to Block Used Video Games
Bargains can be had by buying used video games. However, what if you cannot play your used video game on the latest generation of the PlayStation when it is released? Herein lies the possible fate of used video games. Currently you can visit just about any establishment, buy a used video game, and enjoy it on just about any video game console you have. However, if Sony has its way, you will not have that freedom -- that is -- if you want to play games on its latest - upcoming console, the PlayStation 4/Orbis.
Some Used video games could go the route of the space ship in the above graphic.
Since September, 2012, Sony has had a patent pending at the U.S. Patent Office that will restrict used games being played on its console. How will this be done? The technology will evolve around a radio frequency tag and a type of programmable chip that are paired with each game disc, which can communicate wirelessly with the gaming system. Since the tag and chip can store unique information about the system including "use permission" data, if there is any type of mismatch, the game will not play. On the plus side, this data match-up can be a positive mechanism to prevent pirating of video games.
Will Sony's patent to block used video games be a fight to the finish?
WIth all of the above being said, to date, there has not been any confirmation that the blocking feature will be on the next generation PlayStation video game system. And even if this is the intent, Sony could leave it up to the individual publishers to implement the used video game blocking feature. Additionally, Sony Computer Entertainment America Executive Jack Tretton has stated that he is "totally against blocking used video games."
The prospect of blocking used video games can be described as a double edged sword. On one end the video game industry may be seeking to protect their revenue streams which are drained by the sale of used video games. On the other hand, gamers may not be eager to buy a system that will not play used games, or to buy games they may not be able to resell.
Until this patent comes to fruition (if it does) and if you currently purchase used games for bargain prices, I recommend you continue to do so. I know I certainly will.
Lara Croft of Tomb Raider
If you had any speculations about Tomb Raider possibly having multiplayer options, you can push those suspicions aside. It's true. Krystal Dynamics Global Director Karl Stewart has announced via Twitter that Tomb Raider will definitely have multiplayer options. The multiplayer options will be broken down into three modes: (1) Predictable, where characters are pitted against scavengers in fight matches in small maps throughout the game. (2) Rescue, where survivors bring medpacks to certain designated points within a required time frame and (3) Cry for Help, where there is a strong emphasis on discovery and collection.
Scene from Tomb Raider
To bring more challenges to the game, the multiplayer option will have a large array of characters, and diverse weaponry. To fight against enemies, weapons will include a primary firearm or bow, a sidearm, a grenade-like projectile, and a climbing apparatus ax to assist with characters traversing the sometimes mountainous terrain.
Tomb Raider on the cover of XBox Live Magazine
You can get more details about the Tomb Raider multiplayer option by picking up the January, 2013 issue of XBox Live Magazine where Tomb Raider is featured on the cover.
Tomb Raider is scheduled for a March 5, 2013 release date and will be playable on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.