Nvidia Shield Devices offer some of the best Android game graphics around, but they also have the added ability to stream games directly from a desktop or notebook system equipped with a compatible Nvidia video card. It's called GameStream, and with this feature, you can take your PC gaming experience - complete with stunning graphics - on the go. Liberate yourself from the computer desk, and play games from anywhere in the house. Or, with a cellular LTE connection, almost anywhere at all. Here's how you do it.
Before you can stream games to your Nvidia Shield Tablet or Shield Portable, you'll need to check for compatibility. For GameStream to work, you'll need:
• A GeForce GTX 600 series or higher graphics card (GTX 660M or better for notebooks) • 4 GB of RAM or more • Windows 7 or later • GeForce 344.48 Driver or later • Intel Core i3-2100 3.10 Ghz or AMD Athlon II X4 630 CPU or higher • An 802.11a/g router (802.11n dual band router recommended)
The easiest way to check whether you're ready for Gamestream is to use the Nvidia Experience tool. Launch the program, click on the "My Rig" tab on top, then click on the GameStream tab on bottom to see if you have everything you need. If the GameStream box on the bottom left shows "Ready," then you're good to go. If not, the screen provides an overview of your system, along with a checklist, so you can quickly see what needs upgrading. More information about GameStream and Shield devices can be found under the Shield tab.
Once that's done, all you need to do is pair your Nvidia Shield device with your computer. To do that, use open the Nvidia Hub app from your Shield device. If you are using a Shield Portable or Shield Controller, you can launch the app by tapping on the Nvidia button at the top center of the gamepad.
(Note: Make sure your Shield device is connected to the same WiFi router as the computer you're pairing with.)
Using the Hub app, touch "Settings" on the bottom left corner. From that screen, touch "GameStream-ready PCs." The device will automatically scan your home network for compatible computers. Select your computer from the list. Doing so will generate a unique pairing number, and a small box will appear on the bottom right corner of your PC. Input the number into the box, and they will be linked. Repeat this process with other computers you want to stream from.
(Note: If it cannot find your computer, make sure your Shield is updated with the latest version of Android, and touch the Plus icon on the top right corner to manually enter your computer's IP address. It has to be the computer's address on the router, so check your Network & Internet settings in Windows to find it.)
You should be ready to use GameStream immediately. Your "My PC Games" menu on the Shield should list all the GameStream compatible games you have installed on your computer. This list is created by scanning your games folders using Nvidia Experience. If you don't see a game that you have listed, go to the Nvidia Experience and see if it's listed there. You may have to refresh the list. You may have to adjust the Nvidia Experience settings to make sure it's looking in the right folders.
Tip: If the game you want to stream to your still doesn't show up on your Shield device, it could be because it's not GameStream ready. A full list of GameStream ready games can be found here, but don't worry if your game isn't on it. There's an easy work around.
Using the Nvidia Experience, go to the Preferences tab. Then click on the GameStream menu listed on the left side. From here, you can customize options like whether or not to limit GameStream to your home network, allow streaming over the Internet, or turn it off altogether. You can also use this tool to "Forget devices," which will un-pair all Shield devices from the computer.
To add a game, click on the Plus icon on the right side. Then browse through your folders and find the file that launches the game you want. If it is a Steam game, they are generally located in the "[Drive]:\..\Steam\SteamApps\common\.." folder. The Edit icon changes how the title will be displayed on the Shield device, and the Minus icon will remove a game from the list. Games added in this way will have a blank box instead of cover artwork when you're browsing through your PC games from the Shield.
(Note: Manually added games may not perform or play as well as those that are officially listed as compatible.)
To stream a game, go to "My PC Games" from the Nvidia Hub on the Shield device. Then browse through your library and pick the game you want to play. The game will launch on your PC, but you'll be able to play it from your Shield device. For a bigger experience, hook your Shield up to your HDTV using an HDMI cable (purchased separately) to play your PC games from a large screen television.
A two-fingered tap on the Shield screen will bring up a virtual keyboard, if you need it. The mouse pointer can be controlled using either touch or the right thumbstick on the gamepad, while the left and right bumper buttons zoom in and out. Both Steam and Origin overlay features (Friend's List, Screenshots, etc.) can be accessed from this screen. Be aware that GameStream will automatically resize your game to 1280x720 resolution for better streaming performance. Your gaming experience will be interrupted if anyone tries to use your computer while you are streaming. When you're done playing, use a two-fingered tap on the Shield screen and use the "Quit Game" command at the top. Alternatively, you can return to the Shield Hub and quit the game from there. Just remember to save first, or else you'll lose your game progress.
Tip: You can use all of the Shield features on games streamed from a PC, including Shadowplay to record your best moments, and live streaming on Twitch, if you have the Internet bandwidth.
Tip: In the case where none of your games are listed on Nvidia Experience, and you don't want to go through the trouble of manually adding all of them, there's one last workaround. You can launch Steam and browse Big Picture mode directly from your Shield device. This way, you can launch any game you have listed in Steam through GameStream. However, be aware that this is the least reliable approach, and there's no guarantee that your game will launch or play correctly.
That's it! Now you can play your PC games from anywhere with a strong WiFi or LTE connection. This includes the living room, cafes and restaurants, the park, or when you're waiting on line. No matter where you go, you can bring your PC gaming with you.