Grid, a “Netflix for games,” coming to Nvidia Shield tablets and consoles

Long known for its graphics prowess, Nvidia is set to combine its Shield tablet and game console with Grid, a cloud-based gaming service. Starting with twenty titles, Grid will run the games on Nvidia servers and stream the interactive playback to its portable devices. The idea is that gamers will pay one fee and have access to a large game library without having to purchase individual titles — a “Netflix for games,” the company said in a blog post on Thursday.

nvidia shield products

While the [company]Nvidia[/company] Shield tablet and joystick-like console have powerful graphics chips on their own, Nvidia says it has created a far more robust cloud-based infrastructure together:

The enabling technologies of GRID are super-low-latency from controller streaming to graphics to game streaming. And, virtualization so that many gamers can share the Geforce cloud gaming supercomputer.

The next step: putting thousands of GRID GPUs into data centers around the world. It’s an effort that’s put 20 petaflops of graphics processing compute power into the cloud. That’s equal to the fastest supercomputer in the U.S.

Available in the U.S. on November 18 with rollouts following in Europe and Asia, Grid will be free for Shield tablet and console owners through June 30, 2015. Titles will include Batman: Arkham City and Borderlands 2 to start, with 18 additional games at launch.

Nvidia says it plans to add more games weekly. It has not, however, mentioned what the monthly service fee will be after the free period expires. The new Grid service will arrive with Nvidia’s software update to Android 5.0 for the Shield tablet.