2013 is the year of hardware. We're still in the first month of the year and we've already been introduced to a handful of upcoming devices. From surprise announcements to speculations, we're expecting a big year. Let's check out what we know so far.
Nvidia's Project Shield:
Nvidia has been a vital part of the gaming scene for some time now. This year though, they've taken a few matters into their own hands and brought us Project Shield. Project Shield is a handheld gaming device that is based with the Tegra 4 mobile chip that boasts 72 GPU cores and a quad-core A15 CPU. It's got a foldable screen on the top and features console grade analogue sticks and it's about the same size as the Xbox controller. Project Shield can actually stream your PC games directly on the foldable screen or display it on a larger TV.
When it comes to PC gaming, I don't think there is a name bigger than Valve. Their award winning games accompanies the biggest gaming platform, Steam, perfectly well. They're not stopping there. Valve wants to take PC gaming to the living room and the Steambox, codenamed Piston, will do just that. Designed to be used with Valve's first step, Big Picture mode. The Steambox will be Linux based with up to 1 TB of data and a modular motherboard with one Ethernet port, optical audio ports, two display ports, one HDMI port for 1080p display, four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports and four eSATAp ports.
The Oculus Rift is a big step towards the stuff we see in movies. An FOV(field of view) head mounted display that has been endorsed Gabe Newell and other industry giants. The latest prototype will feature a 7 inch screen as opposed to the older 5.6 inch screen. Oculus Rift has a resolution of 1280×800, which is split between both eyes This could change the way we game.
Razer is one of those companies that are vital to the industry. Their award winning mice and keyboards have put them on the map. The Razer Edge isn't their first step into the hardware scene, the Razor Blade lead them in. The Razer Edge is a Windows 8 tablet, portable console and laptop. Complete with a console dock, an optional keyboard and a controller dock. It features a 10.1" screen, Intel Core i5 or i7, 8GB of DDR3, Nvidia GT 640M LE 2GB graphics. Kind of sounds like a full on PC huh? A smaller, more affordable solution to the Razer Blade. They've got my money.
The Ouya is a console that will feature it's own version of the Android operating system. It can play games, specifically indie games. It also has its own store and features apps like the TwitchTV app and also works with the OnLive streaming service. Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 8 GB of internal flash storage, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0 enabled, one USB 2.0 port, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Ethernet connection, and an HDMI port for up to 1080p HD.
The GameStick is an upcoming console that is pretty similar to the OUYA. An Android-based console with a small USB-looking stick which plugs directly into your TV's HDMI. The system has an Amlogic 8726-processor, 1 GB DDR 3/ 8 GB Flash and runs the Android's Jelly Bean.
Next Generation Consoles:
Most of the above devices were announced at CES(Consumer Electronic Show) but we're expecting an even bigger E3, especially when it comes to hardware. We expect the next generation consoles to be revealed at E3 this year and we've heard enough speculation to believe it will happen. Within all the speculation, it's rumored that the Orbis(Playstation 4) will ship with Radeon 7970 clocked at 800 MHz. Where the Durango(Xbox 720) will also pack a GPU at 800 MHz. Nothing is confirmed yet, so take this with a grain of salt.
We can expect a lot more to be revealed in the coming few weeks and even more when E3 comes along. I'm leaning towards the Razer Edge when it comes to the handhelds, the fact that it has three different aspects is more than enough for me.