NVIDIA TEGRA 2: Changing the Way PC Gamers Play

January 6, 2011

By John Gaudiosi

LAS VEGAS – Over 140,000 industry and media representatives gathered in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011). NVIDIA kicked off a new preview of the latest gadgets, PCs, video games and 3D HDTVs with the next generation of mobile gaming. Jen-Hsun Huang, President, CEO, and co-founder of NVIDIA, said that CES 2011 will be remembered as the year the mobile computer revolution kicked into high gear.

NVIDIA is bringing the power of a PC from just a few years ago into a new line of “super phones” – the next generation of smart phones powered by NVIDIA TEGRA 2. Five years ago, Huang entrusted a team of NVIDIA engineers to develop a super chip that would be as powerful as a PC but run 50% more efficiently and come in a compact size. TEGRA 2 is the size of a dime and delivers on all of these promises.

“This new 'super phone' has been designed for content consumption – movies, games, digital magazines, Web streaming – you want to do it more,” said Huang. “The early generation of games were simple and the experience was crude. One of the experiences that has been lacking in the mobile space is PC or console quality games.”

NVIDIA offered two unique games during the press conference, highlighting a pair of developers that has been working with TEGRA 2 technology on original mobile games. TEGRA 2 games will offer exciting visuals, but they’ll also open up new opportunities for PC gamers to interact with mobile, and even console gamers.

Jeremy Stieglitz, co-founder of Trendy Entertainment, showed off Dungeon Defenders, a new Unreal Engine 3 game designed to play across platforms – PC, PS3 and TEGRA 2 devices. Gamers know Unreal as the engine that drives titles like Unreal Tournament, Gears of War, the recent iPhone hit Infinity Blade and the upcoming PC game Bulletstorm.

“With the advent of TEGRA 2, we’re able to create the same content for the same game and have a console online multiplayer experience wherever you go,” said Stieglitz. “We don’t want people to stop playing games if they have to go to work. Start playing on your PC and then continue the action on your phone.”

The tower defense game allows three players to play in the same environment across platforms. Stieglitz said TEGRA 2 is sufficiently powerful and advanced enough that developers can use the same content as the PC version without having to scale anything back.

Afterward, developer Mobile Bits showed off a new action role-playing game called SoulCraft running on a TEGRA 2 super phone. Karsten Wysk, CEO of Mobile Bits, said his company came from the PC gaming space. “We made PC and console games where we were used to using polygons and shaders and two years ago we switched over to Apple and our engineers were disappointed because they couldn’t do what they were used to,” said Wysk. “Now they’re happy again because they can do that SoulCraft and it looks like a GeForce PC game, but it’s on a portable device.”

With some cool new games showcased, the only thing left to show was a super phone. LG Mobile debuted the Optimus 2X Tegra 2 Super Phone on stage. Yongseok Jang, vice president of LG Mobile, called the device beautiful on the outside, but a monster inside.

“Our goals was to make a phone that the average Joe can walk into a Verizon store, pick up, and feel a great design,” said Jang. “But the powerful engine allows people to do things that previously they could only imagine.” Huang plugged the new phone’s HDMI connector into both an HDTV and a large HD screen and played Angry Birds on it. The phone was multitasking and running 10 apps at the same time, which did not slow down the phone. While NVIDIA is supporting the PC gaming space, it’s also looking to a future of connected devices that have the power to bring PC gaming experiences on the go.