At one time, OnLive was the king of streaming games to devices with console quality graphics. The company provided a number of games that customers could rent, purchase, or consume in an all-you-can-eat monthly subscription service that could be streamed to desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. That company is gone, but don't worry: the idea still lives on with Nvidia's GRID streaming service for the SHIELD handheld, the SHIELD tablet and the SHIELD set-top-box.
Nvidia launched the GRID game streaming service back in November 2014. At the time, around 20 of those games were streamed at a 1280 x 720 resolution running at 60 frames per second. Now it's May 2015, and the company has bumped up the resolution to 1920 x 1080 at 60 frames per second.
For gamers, that means a game streaming experience on SHIELD devices like no other. The GRID service is currently free for SHIELD device owners until June 30, 2015.
In addition to owning a SHIELD device, gamers wanting to stream GRID games will need a broadband connection of at least 30 Mbps and a "SHIELD-ready" router if they want to stream at 1920 x 1080. Nvidia actually recommends a 50 Mbps broadband connection, given that there may be other devices in the household that could be streaming video or playing multiplayer games online.
"Most people don't mind when you press 'play' to watch a movie and it takes a little time to buffer and start," said Nvidia's Brian Burke in a blog. (opens in new tab) "But you can't buffer gameplay. Streaming games requires the response time from button press to screen action to be in milliseconds. We've spent years perfecting cloud gaming. As a result, we're now the first company to stream games at 1080p60."
In addition to announcing 1080p 60fps streaming, Nvidia also added a new game to the GRID library: Bionic Commando. This game joins a library (opens in new tab) of around 50 popular titles including Borderlands 2, Ultra Street Fighter IV, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Dead Island: Riptide, LEGO Batman, Street Fighter X Tekken and loads more.
To access these titles, gamers will need the SHIELD Hub app installed, as the GRID beta app was discontinued. This app also provides access to the latest SHIELD-based news, installed Android games, media apps such as Netflix and Hulu, and the Nvidia Shop, which essentially lists Google Play games that support the Tegra chips.
News of streaming in 1080p arrives after Nvidia launched a new GRID server in California, aka USA Southwest, last month. This server joins two others that are located in Oregon and Virginia. Nvidia will likely launch additional servers throughout the United States in the future to provide better connectivity for gamers located in the central part of the United States. Nvidia is actually launching a data center in Central Europe this month.
Currently, Nvidia has six data centers serving up GRID to SHIELD customers in 20 countries, Burke indicated in his blog. He also said that more than 35 games support 1920 x 1080 streaming at 60fps, such as Devil May Cry 4 and Batman: Arkham Origins.