Another way to play games is through Nvidia’s GRID service, which streams games from a server straight to Shield. Until recently, all of the games on GRID were running at 1280x720 resolution and 60 frames per second. Nvidia recently upgraded GRID ahead of Shield’s launch so that it now supports a 1920x1080 resolution at 60 frames per second. However, the full HD gaming experience requires pretty high bandwidth, with Nvidia recommending a constant 30Mbps! Those with at least 10 Mbps will still be able to play at the 720p resolution, though.
In my home, the highest bandwidth I had available was around 23Mbps, and that’s with no one else at home using other connected devices. At that speed, games like Dirt: Showdown, Batman: Arkham Origins and Saints Row IV were very smooth and didn’t have any stuttering issues. Latency wasn’t a noticeable issue either.
That quickly changed when other family members used up bandwidth for browsing, social media and Netflix. At one point, I only had 13Mbps for GRID, and while it’s still within Nvidia’s acceptable range for GRID at 720p gameplay, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Stuttering became slightly more apparent, and a few rendering issues came up, such as a disappearing section of the road or a streak of black emanating from the player’s character. Latency was very noticeable, especially with a few audio delays, but the controls still worked. I was still able to move around and the character would respond almost immediately. However, the decreasing quality and latency in other areas would become too big to ignore at some point.
With the limited storage space inside Shield, GRID is a necessity to gamers. The ability to stream games is still fairly new to the market, and Nvidia is trying to capitalize on it by providing well-known titles without having to deal with issues such as installing large games in the small device. Of course, you’ll need to have the necessary bandwidth to actually play these games without any problems. On top of that, GRID is turning into a subscription-based service at the end of June, so consumers will eventually have to pay a premium to play games at full HD. At least you’ll have a whole month to decide if GRID is the best choice or whether a console or PC is still the way to go.