When Nvidia released the October software update for its Shield handheld, it said that the ability to stream PC games at 1080p and 60 frames per second was coming — and now it's finally here. The handheld's December update brings the ability to stream 1080p, 60 fps PC games to your television using the device's console mode and a wired ethernet connection; previously the Shield could only stream PC games at 720p. And a number of big titles already officially support the feature — you can play new releases like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Battlefield 4, as well as slightly older titles like Bioshock Infinite and Borderlands 2, while Nvidia says that more officially supported games will be added weekly.
Minecraft is nearly playable
On the Android gaming front, there's some very welcome additions too. Nvidia's making it easier than ever before to play games designed for touchscreens with the Shield's console-style controls, thanks to a huge update for its Gamepad Mapper software. Now, in addition to mapping buttons on your controller to virtual buttons and gestures on the screen, Nvidia's figured out a way to let you look around with the right analog stick in first-person shooters designed for touch alone, or even let an analog stick act like a gyroscope in games where you'd normally be constantly tilting your phone.
You still have to build or download profiles for each and every game you play, but that'll be easier now that Nvidia has opened up its crowdsourcing effort. The update allows you to grab controller mapping profiles built by the community, tweak them, upload your own, and vote up the best ones so they remain in perpetuity. Minecraft: Pocket Edition is still a little finnicky to control, but it's nearly playable with the new improvements.
All these features are solid additions to a rapidly improving device, and great news for those who picked up a Shield for cheap on Black Friday.