Nintendo and Nvidia’s relationship is extending beyond the latter company providing the guts for the former’s so-far successful Switch. In an unprecedented collaboration for Nintendo, it’s working with Nvidia to port a selection of Wii and GameCube games to the Android-powered Shield TV for today’s release in China.
If you pick up a Chinese Shield TV, you’ll be able to play New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Punch-Out! right away, with other games including Super Mario Galaxy set for future release. All of these games have been remastered in 1080p, meaning they should look a lot better on modern TVs than they did back on the Wii, and they sell for 68 yuan — about $10. The Shield TV itself costs 1499 yuan, or about $225.
This is gameplay of New Super Mario Bros Wii running at 1080p on Nvidia Shield.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 5, 2017
It is said that Metroid Prime for Wii will also come to the system in the future. pic.twitter.com/FKYFFoPB2R
Though these releases are limited to China, the very fact that first-party Nintendo games are up and running in HD on the Shield TV will no doubt intrigue fans elsewhere. The Switch, after all, uses the same Tegra X1 system-on-chip as the Shield TV, and this could be a sign of what’s to come. Nintendo is yet to offer its Virtual Console service, which offered a wide range of downloadable games from the company’s extensive back catalogue, on the Switch.
Nintendo hasn’t released the Switch in China, and historically doesn’t directly offer its consoles for sale in the market; a subsidiary called iQue has handled China-specific variants of handheld consoles as well as a version of the N64 back in 2003. This, then, is a significant step into Chinese living rooms for Nintendo.
Nvidia is making similarly major efforts to adapt its product to China. The Shield TV sold in the rest of the world runs Android TV and makes use of Google software like the Assistant and the Play Store, neither of which can be used in the region. As such, Nvidia says the Chinese Shield TV will have “completely localized” software with a different store, content from major video platform iQiyi, and Baidu’s voice assistant.