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NVIDIA SHIELD Receiving Major Update – Brings Gamepad Mapper, GameStream, Console Mode, and Android 4.3


This morning, NVIDIA announced an OTA update which will be available for all SHIELD owners, one that will increase the device’s functionality by an incredible amount. Not only is NVIDIA introducing a ton of new and interesting features, but the device is being bumped up to Android 4.3, sticking to their plans of having the most current versions of Android running on the device. That is something we as the Android community appreciate immensely. 

In the update, owners of SHIELD can now play almost any game title off of Google Play, using the newly introduced GamePad Mapper; software that will allow you to program a game’s onscreen controls to the built-in control buttons and trigger found on SHIELD. One of the key issues that we had with SHIELD was that many titles weren’t playable from Google Play. With GamePad Mapper, we can finally stop complaining about not being able to play Need For Speed: Most Wanted and N.O.V.A. 3. Probably the coolest thing about GamePad Mapper is that any profiles you set for your games, can then be shared with your friends so they don’t have to go through the pain of making the profiles themselves. In addition, NVIDIA has already set up a ton of titles with GamePad Mapper controls, so a lot of the big titles you already play will come with preset controls. To top it off, if you have some sweet controls for a game that NVIDIA hasn’t released, you can send your profile to NVIDIA, which will then be reviewed by their team, which they will then publish for all other SHIELD owners. Pretty nice of them, right?


The next big addition is Console Mode. With Console Mode, you can plug your SHIELD into your HDTV using a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable, and then play your games on the big screen in full 1080p resolution. When SHIELD enters console mode, the device’s display turns off (to conserve power), and you then use a separate Bluetooth-enabled controller to play your games. It effectively turns SHIELD into a standalone console, which will allow you to play all of your favorite games from Google Play – or your PC using GameStream – on the big screen in your living room in full HD resolution.

GameStream is also included in the update, which was announced earlier last week, which is the same PC-streaming software that launched with SHIELD initially. The only difference is that now the software is out of beta, and a few other optimizations have been included.


Last, but not least, users can now place all of their bulky .APK and .OBB files right onto inserted microSD cards. No more wasting valuable internal storage. For now, this is still only available for select apps and games, as it is still up to the developers if they want to allow their apps to be placed on removable storage cards. NVIDIA sent along these few notes on moving data to the your cards, so be sure to look at this if you plan on doing so.

  • Only apps that the developer opted-in as moveable to external storage can be moved.
  • SHIELD only supports writing to FAT32 formatted cards. This is a limitation of Android.
  • 32GB cards (or lower) will need to be formatted FAT32. Most cards come pre-formatted FAT32, but for the few that aren’t, they will need to be formatted in a PC.
  • At this time, 64GB cards (or higher) cannot be written to because they are either NTFS or exFAT formatted. Users can still read files, including music and movies, from their 64GB cards as long as they are NTFS formatted. exFAT is currently not supported on SHIELD.

You can see how with this update, SHIELD’s worth has been bumped up quite a bit. Is it enough to make you take the $300 plunge, though? And for all of you current SHIELD owners, how are you liking the update features?

  • rutgersjaffo


  • AbbyZFresh

    Interesting. i never expected them to pay attention to updates like that. If only they had more compatible games.

  • Mr E

    Please, someone tell me the Console mode setting is titled “Yo Dawg, I herd u like controllers…”

    • rutgersjaffo

      Well played, sir. Well played…

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  • Godzilla

    Who honestly wants one of these when we have PS4 and Xbox ONE coming out? I mean seriously.

    • Milind Shah

      CHEAP GAMES!!! some people rarely game, and when they do want to, they could surely use this, the games in the play store are extremely cheap!

  • acejavelin

    Can’t you just format the 64GB card in FAT32 with a third party tool? I mean, that is what we do to use 64GB cards in other Android phones and tablets, it works just fine in most devices…

  • fauxshizzl

    As great as some of the games really are getting graphically, the IAP have completely turned me off to Android gaming. I actually want one of these, but can’t bring myself to pick one up knowing I am not going to be happy with the experience with software as I would hardware.

    • BobButtons

      It’s something I would love to own but don’t see myself using it too much once I have it. I’m very interested in the technology and want to play with it but just for like a week. I wish someone I knew had one so I could borrow it.

      • fauxshizzl

        Yep, a week would be enough for the novelty to wear off.

  • Josh Flowers

    so what’s the incentive of this over, say, a PS3 controller paired to my rooted S4 (which i can mirror to my tv)? I’m genuinely curious.

    • fauxshizzl

      Playing computer games through it, flying a drone with it, bringing only one device instead of two for travel. Just off the top of my head.

    • Milind Shah

      hmm, let us see, playing computer games while lounging on your sofa, nope can’t think of anything else :-/
      i will have to say that the shield is definitely made for people who want the complete experience and moreover ready to pay the $300 price tag…
      Also, maybe just maybe the shield controller is better than the ps3?

  • I actually just started playing with the NVIDIA SHIELD yesterday, and i was like “I like playing the games its compatible with, but what about all these other games in Google Play”. To see they are adding mapping is excellent and might sway a few more buyers.

  • Rob

    Wait, I got a question on the 32 vs 64 GB cards. I have a 64 GB card in my SHIELD currently and I have been able to view and load ROMs for the NES, SNES, and Genesis, but it won’t show my N64 ROMs. Is this due to the lack of writing on a 64 GB card? When you have in game saves on the 16-bit titles are you not changing the game file at all? I assumed I was.

    So glad to read this post this morning, as soon as I get home I’m grabbing this update. 4.3, console/1080p mirroring, moving game files to SD card (I’m assuming I can’t do this with a 64 GB card though since it won’t write??), and most importantly button mapping is SO FREAKIN’ AWESOME. Now I don’t have to play Chrono Trigger via SNES emulation and can play the HD title (that didn’t support controls) that I bought from the Play store. Suh-weet.

  • michael arazan

    It’s about time with the mapping. That really helps a lot for those who are already invested in google play games. But with other affordable controllers and apps that allow any device to play on, $300 is still hard to justify even with pc games. This seems to be a niche market. I hope it does become successful, the more it moves forward the more the price will drop. Maybe make a unit without a screen and allows you to pair your own device and save money too

    • Michael Thompson

      One can buy an Ouya controller new for 50 dollars.
      With its touch pad it bridges the gap nicely for Android devices and will pair with no difficulties.
      I’m currently using one with my Note 2 for a great gaming experience.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    I’m just not big on handhelds …. shoot if Nintendo wants to release one of those mini gameboys again i’ll buy one but I can’t justify spending $300 on this… I might as well fire up the Xbox

    • BobButtons

      I had a straight-black Micro that I loved to keep on me at all times. It fit perfectly in a suit-coat pocket to get me through boring formal events I’ve had to attend. I loved having the physical buttons which is why a smartphone emulator won’t do. Unfortunately I made the mistake of jumping in a pool with it in my swimsuit pocket. I can’t bring myself to spend the money on another one.