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NVIDIA SHIELD OTA brings crowd sourced Gamepad Mapping, Android 4.3, Apps to SD, and more

The NVIDIA Shield launched in July and immediately became the premiere Android gaming device. With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One launching next month, gamers have several exciting options in terms of new hardware. NVIDIA’s making quite the case that SHIELD deserves a spot on your shopping list, bringing a massive OTA update with a load of new and improved features.

Here’s what the OTA brings:

  • Android 4.3
  • Apps to SD
  • Gamepad Mapper lets anyone map touch-based Android games to the SHIELD controller, for use by the masses.
  • Console Mode lets you play the SHIELD on your big screen TV with a bluetooth controller
  • GameStream let you play PC games on your SHIELD

Let’s take a look at these improvements in a bit more detail.

Gamepad Mapper

This is hands-down my absolute favorite new feature of the SHIELD OTA and you can use “hands down” in more than one way. Nothing is more irritating than being forced to use touchscreen controls on a gaming device with a magnificently crafted console quality controller. Games like NBA JAM, Beach Buggy Blitz, and Temple Run are fun, but they’d be so much better with controller support, which is half the reason the SHIELD exists.

NVIDIA has come to the rescue, offering a pretty brilliant service that crowd sources the solution. The introduction of Gamepad Mapper means anybody can map the touchscreen controls to the gamepad simply by dragging and dropping directly on the device. Even better, you can e-mail your mapped configuration to mapper@nvidia.com and if it checks out, they’ll add it as a default support option.

You can set your SHIELD to automatically update and use these Gamepad Mapper configurations from the cloud. Or, if you’re particular, you’re able to set and tweak based on your liking. Right out of the gate NVIDIA is offering mapped support for over 100 games.

This really extends the value of the NVIDIA SHIELD. Part of the SHIELD’s joy is that it runs Android, giving you access to thousands of games, but if they’re not optimized for the shield you could be less than fulfilled. The Gamepad Mapper pretty much ensures an increased level of enjoyment across Android’s huge library of titles.

Apps to SD & Android 4.3

These might seem more like housekeeping than anything else, but don’t be fooled, they’re most definitely not. SHIELD runs console quality games and the assets for these games can cause the downloads to be HUGE. Allowing users to put games on their SD card ensures they can load it up with a much larger library of titles and SHIELD owners can now move both .OBB and .APK files to their SD card.

There are some limitations worth noting:

  • Only certain apps and games can be moved to the SD Card, but this is a choice made by the developers themselves.
  • Android – and by extension SHIELD – only supports FAT32 formatted SD cards.
  • 64GB cards (or higher) cannot be written to but the device will read files from it if they’re already on the card.

The upgrade to Android 4.3 is also a nice perk, but it also illustrates NVIDIA’s commitment to continually improving their product.

Console Mode

The SHIELD’s “Console Mode” lets you connect it to your big screen TV using a wired HDMI connection (or wirelessly with Miracast).  You’re instantly playing high quality Android games on a big screen TV as if it were a next generation console! And now you’re able to pair a bluetooth controller to your SHIELD so you can lay down on the couch get  your game on with even more efficiency.

NVIDIA says the SHIELD has been optimized best for the Nyko PlayPad Pro Bluetooth controller. We’ll likely demonstrate this in an upcoming video.

GameStream

Formerly called PC Streaming, NVIDIA has renamed this feature to GameStream and removed the BETA tag. With GameStream you’re able to stream over 50 PC games directly to your NVIDIA SHIELD through WiFi. With 720p resolution they’ll play at 60 frames per second: pretty impressive.

Perhaps best of all, you can combine GameStream and Console mode to play your PC games directly on your big screen TV. Just set up GameStream to stream the game to your SHIELD, connect it with HDMI to your TV, connect your bluetooth gamepad, and you’re off to the races!

What’s the Verdict?

I view the NVIDA SHIELD as the runaway winner for best Android gaming device. It’s certainly a premium Android handheld, and that’s what is most important to me: the handheld experience. Console Mode and GameStream may garner strong appeal from PC gamers, but personally, I mostly view these as value added propositions.

Most important are the features that add to the handheld gaming experience, and in that regard, NVIDIA has hit another home run. Their Gamepad Mapper instantaneously improves the gaming experience across tons of Android Games and allows the community to actively and continually solve the controller mapping problem .

The upgrade to Android 4.3 and Apps to SD inclusion bring the SHIELD up to date, adding some functionality and capabilities that turn former complaints into current assets.

Overall, this NVIDIA SHIELD update is nothing short of impressive, taking an already great device and making sweeping improvements in a number of key areas. But have they done enough to earn your purchase? If not… consider that they’re now offering a special deal to pull you onboard.

Special Deal to Celebrate

To celebrate the official release of GameStream, NVIDIA is bundling together a special offer when you purchase select GeForce GTX graphics cards. Buy a graphics card and you get $100 off the NVIDIA SHIELD and free copies of some pretty great games: “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” “Splinter Cell: Blacklist” and “Batman:

See the NVIDIA website for official details

Oh you want a full list of games that are supporting Gamepad Mapper on launch? No problem! Keep in mind that you can map and share ANY game with onscreen keys… if you do, make sure you share!

A Space Shooter Blitz
Absolute RC Heli Sim
Absolute RC Simulator
Acceler8
Age of Zombies
Age of Zombies Lite
Amazing Alex
Amazing Alex Free
Amazing Alex HD
Anger of Stick 2
Angry Birds
Angry Birds Friends
Angry Birds Rio
Angry Birds Seasons
Angry Birds Space
Angry Birds Space HD
Angry Birds Space Premium
Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds Star Wars HD
Angry Birds Star Wars II
Angry Birds Star Wars II Free
Angry Gran 2
Angry Gran Best Free Game
Angry Gran RadioActive Run
Army Sniper
Avenger
Bang Bang Racing HD
Beat Hazard Ultra
Beat Hazard Ultra (Demo)
Bike Extreme Free
Bike Race HD
Bike StrikerBike Stunt Racing
BMX Boy
Bubble Witch Saga
Bunny Skater
Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies
Candy Crush Saga
Contra: Evolution
Crazy Snowboard
Crazy Snowboard Pro
CSR Racing
Dark Night Avenger :Magic Ride
DEER HUNTER 2014
DEER HUNTER RELOADED
Dirt Bike Pro Free
Drag Racing
Drag Racing 4×4
Drag Racing: Bike Edition
FIFA 12 by EA SPORTS™
FIFA 14 by EA SPORTS™
Fish Live
Flow Free
Fun Run – Multiplayer Race
Granny Smith
Granny Smith Free
Greet Fighting IV
Gunman Clive
Guns
Guns’n’Glory WW2
Helidroid 3D : Helicopter RC
Helidroid Battle: 3D RC Copter
Hill Climb Racing
Hockey Nations: Shoot-out
Homerun Battle 2
Hungry Shark
Hungry Shark – Part 2
Hungry Shark – Part 3
Hungry Shark 2 Free!
Hungry Shark 3 Free!
Hungry Shark Evolution
Hungry Shark Free!
I Must Run!
Ice Rage
ILLUSIA 2
Jetpack Joyride
LEGO® Speedorz™
Lep’s World
Lep’s World 2
Line Runner (Free)
Line Runner 2 (Free)
M.A.C.E. Free
M2: War of Myth Mech
MADDEN NFL 25 by EA SPORTS™
Mahjong
MASS EFFECT™ INFILTRATOR
Minecraft – Pocket Edition
Moto X Mayhem
Moto X Mayhem Free
Mountain Bike Simulator
NBA JAM by EA SPORTS™
Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit
Need for Speed™ Most Wanted
PAC-MAN +Tournaments
Paradise Island
Pet Rescue Saga
PewPew
PewPew 2
PITFALL!™
Raiden Legacy
Real Racing 3
Skater Boy
Slot Casino – Slot Machines
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
Stick Stunt Biker 2
Towelfight 2
Toy Truck Rally 3D
Truck Parking 3D
Zombie Terminator

Now, let’s send you on your way with a humorous little promotion video:

Don’t forget to visit our NVIDIA SHIELD Forums!

Continue reading on the NVIDIA Shield forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • pr0xidian

    Very excited that streaming is out of beta. I use the shield to play games from my huge gaming desktop all the time. Lately I’ve been playing batman ark
    am cit in bed haha.

  • Daniel

    The Game Mapper is awesome, this was in the Archos gaming tablet from awhile ago too, I would love to see something like this used for all Android gamepads, cause I’ve bought 2 now and they’ve both been a nightmare to set up.

  • Paul Lightfoot

    still cant move app’s to sd card with my 64gb formated to ntfs. and after 4.3 update my wifi no longer works.