Ouya console plays Borderlands 2 via Nvidia GRID

The folks behind the indie-friendly Ouya gaming console thought it was too expensive to pay for a booth at last week’s E3 expo, so they set up shop in a parking lot across the street. That move appears to have irked the Entertainment Software Association responsible for the show, which allegedly tried to block Ouya’s display with a semi-trailer. A couple of LAPD officers showed up on a weird, Segway/tricycle hybrid, and the Ouya Park was allowed to stay open. Score one for the little guy.

As it turns out, the $100 console also infiltrated the show floor. The Tegra 3-powered machine was on display at Nvidia’s booth streaming Borderlands 2 from a GRID server. AndroidCentral captured the demo on video:

Nvidia claims the H.264 stream offers a console-quality experience, but it admits latency can be an issue with cloud-based services. That virtualized gaming session has to make a lot of hops between the server and client. The ability to stream PC games with such an inexpensive Android device is pretty neat, though.

What’s really exciting about the Ouya’s potential for game streaming is the fact that the underlying technology is the same as what’s employed by Nvidia’s Project Shield handheld. That system enables game streaming from GeForce-equipped local PCs, which should involve much lower network latency. Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether Shield-like PC streaming is in the Ouya’s future or when cloud-based providers might support the console.

There is, however, a promising alternative. YouTube user Toastless has posted impressive videos showing the Ouya console streaming Far Cry 3 and World of Warcraft via Splashtop remote desktop software. The console comes out June 25, and I think I may have to get one just to see how well the PC streaming stuff works.

Comments closed
    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    Entertainment Software Association is a POS for trying to block a small startup business that cant afford a booth.

    • Bensam123
    • 6 years ago

    I thought GRID was going to be exclusive to Nvidia shield? That was the whole debbie downer about it… That and the technology was exclusive to their tech and you couldn’t buy it as stand alone software (which I still think they should do).

    Either way, the latency isn’t going to make this a playable experience for any real time sensitive programs, like a FPS or MOBA (there is no way around this). So that just leaves you with RPGs and casual titles (which run on slower systems anyway).

    There was a interesting take on this. One of the members of the OBS forums was attempting to do this with a combination of streaming software and remote software with a little bit of success. He still ran into a few seconds(!) of lag though. Really any sort of implementation of this has to be a low end solution, rather then a streaming solution.

      • fr500
      • 6 years ago

      No GRID is not exclusive, streaming from PC might be, NVidia hasn’t been clear on that. Also read my post. With some proper work on drivers it should work well. I have a few ms at most and it’s not really bad.

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        You aren’t going to just get a few MS of latency out of a solution like this, especially if it’s used across the net.

        A few MS on a local network would mean that there essentially no latency outside of the time it actually takes the packet to get across the network and we both know that’s simply not going to happen.

          • fr500
          • 6 years ago

          I meant with local streaming

    • fr500
    • 6 years ago

    This post made me excited so I had to try it. Short story, it works.

    But it’s more complicated than that.

    I tried splashtop 2 with my PC (Intel Core i5 2500K, 16GB RAM, GTX570, gigabit network) and an Asus Nexus 7 connected over 802.11n. The access point is within 4 meters.

    First I tried RetroArch with serveral cores. For those that don’t know RetroArch is frontend for libretro which in turn is an abstraction layer for emulators and games, I tested the Finalburn core with serveral SNK games, I tried some CPS3 games, I tried the NES core and BSNES. RetroArch is available on Android and works well on my N7 but I thought it would be a nice test.

    Everything worked fine but I noticed frame drops that normally don’t occur when not using the streamer which is weird, it might be the way RA keeps things in sync. Platformers such as Metal Slug and Megaman play well, video latency was not really an issue on these games, SFIII works nicely too except for the frame drops. Also while latency is good movement didn’t feel as fluid on the the tablet as it did on the PC, maybe the video bitrate is too low.

    The I tried Borderlands 2, you have to configure it to use a fullscreen window, it works I played with a controller and I have always played borderlands 2 with V-Sync so it felt alright but there were huge framedrops on the tablet that were not apparent on my monitor. Video lag was really noticeable at certain moments.

    Lastly I fired Team Fortress 2. I play TF2 a lot so it’s a good test, had to use the -sw -noborder parameters and then it worked fine, Looks good on the N7 too but input lag was horrendous with mouse + keyboard, with the gamepad it felt fine but it’s just because I’m not used to it. I don’t use V-Sync on TF2 but that’s how it felt on the tablet, mouse movement was slow and frame drops where noticeable.

    So while the tech is getting there on the playback side I guess the improvements are needed on the streaming side.

    – Real fullscreen is not supported, I’ve always found windowed fullscreen laggier somewhat (TF2 again and I haven’t found a way to test if true or not)
    – The CPU/GPU have to work more encoding the stream
    – There is no driver level support for streaming, I guess splashtop hooks at D3D or something. Maybe this is what NVidia is doing, hooking at driver level something like that and feeding the encoder directly without going thru D3D or GDI or whatever

    Maybe it works better with the OUYA since it’s got a wired connection, I don’t own one but I might borrow one and an RPi and do some further testing.

    I’ll try to shoot a video with both screens showing at the same time so you can get a feeling on how does it feel.

    Also a good read on this matter: [url<]http://spazzarama.com/2011/03/14/c-screen-capture-and-overlays-for-direct3d-9-10-and-11-using-api-hooks/[/url<]

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 6 years ago

      +10 for details

      • fr500
      • 6 years ago

      Hadn’t seen this: [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/7060/hands-on-with-the-final-nvidia-shield-hardware[/url<]

      • fr500
      • 6 years ago

      Test 1: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yhRrAihR0Y&feature=youtu.be[/url<] Test 2: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1g2Uh3JXWI&feature=youtu.be[/url<] Admitedly... my camera sucks and it was late so no sound no lights either but you get the idea. On a wired connection and with direct streaming from the driver or something this could really work. I hope they make tegra 3 and 4 a target for this. When I checked my network it was connecting at 65MBps and it was getting choppy at times, lots of people at home now so I guess it wasn't under the best conditions... I'd like to try on an OUYA by myself but can't afford one nnow.

    • Growler
    • 6 years ago

    I get the feeling that the Tegra 3 isn’t quite enough to make these things (the Ouya and all the other similar boxes) work right. Things may change when the Tegra 4 comes out. I’d liken this to the way that the Tegra 2 based tablets left a lot to be desired while the Tegra 3 tablets work well.

    • NeelyCam
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]it admits latency can be an issue with cloud-based services[/quote<] And this is why these things will never work.

      • JohnC
      • 6 years ago

      They might… But definitely not today or any time soon.

        • cynan
        • 6 years ago

        There is a new god at Nvidia and his name is Cloud Gaming. And there is only one thing we say to Cloud Gaming:

        ‘Not Today’.

          • Voldenuit
          • 6 years ago

          Totally awesome Syrio Forel quote. 😉

        • indeego
        • 6 years ago

        When it works it won’t really be a “cloud” then. It’ll just likely be mesh with high speed computing devices local to your metro. The reason it doesn’t work is due to latency, and latency is a result of hop delay+distance. Light takes time to move across the planet.

        As 3-d Games get even more complex the situation will only worsen, in fact. How to get 4K + very complex 3d on consumer bandwidth that rivals local? Good luck with that.

          • JohnC
          • 6 years ago

          …but, but, Microsoft promised it to work seamlessly, both for streaming games and computing! 🙁

      • Chrispy_
      • 6 years ago

      Twitch gaming with latency, my favourite!

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 6 years ago

    As an owner of one, I warn you, DO NOT BUY AN OUYA. The network adapter is slow (both wired and wireless, can you say 5minutes for 5mb?). The UI is buggy and amateur (coming from playing with a multitude of custom android ROMs, this one is a hackjob at best). And of course, there is no easy/convenient way of running standard android apps (ps no google play store!), sideloading is a real pain and compatibility is all over the place.

    Unless they have/will be pushing out a massive overhaul of their UI, as well as adding a bunch of useability apps, you are much better off with a raspberry, a roku, or any of the other android knockoffs out there.

    (I bought mine to use as a streambox, which as of right now is a buggy version XBMC that doesn’t quite run that smoothly)

      • Farting Bob
      • 6 years ago

      Ever since i saw it on Kickstarter i thought it sounds like something that would take 2 or 3 hardware versions to get it right. Apparently that still stands.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 6 years ago

        More than likely, but I think the biggest problem is that they are still trying really hard to make it a legitimate gaming platform..and frankly, they’re going to fail. I was hoping that instead, it would be a very polished open platform that would then have a means for someone like ourselves to put basically anything you want, but also be able to fall back on a casual “one button” access of things that should be easy, like playing media from a server and whatnot.

        The ouya team needs to realize that they will never be much of anything if they don’t allow google play (or any other market) access. They could take it a step further and actually make a store that sorts the content better (which every app store continues to fail at). Is it really so hard to separate “click an icon then wait #1412” from “game that actually fits the criteria of action/rpg ” ?

      • Veerappan
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<] As an owner of one, I warn you, DO NOT BUY AN OUYA. The network adapter is slow (both wired and wireless, can you say 5minutes for 5mb?). [/quote<] I think you're running into issues with either server load or a local network environment issue. I have had no problem installing multiple 100+ MB games at rates in excess of 1MB/s on my 15mbit/s cable connection. [quote<] And of course, there is no easy/convenient way of running standard android apps (ps no google play store!), sideloading is a real pain and compatibility is all over the place. [/quote<] *shrug* I installed Dropbox on it, and I just use that to load all the Android apps that I want installed... Can't say that I have installed too many yet, so I can't comment on compatibility. [quote<] Unless they have/will be pushing out a massive overhaul of their UI [/quote<] They just pushed out a new firmware for E3 last week which does actually overhaul the UI, and also included a bunch of performance/responsiveness fixes.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      Ouya? Sounds more like POOYA!

      • curtisb
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<](I bought mine to use as a streambox, which as of right now is a buggy version XBMC that doesn't quite run that smoothly)[/quote<] This is exactly why I'm interested in one. I'm currently still using an XBMC mod'ed Xbox for this purpose. Actually, I have three of them setup for this purpose. It's done pretty well considering it has a Pentium III derived CPU and GeForce 3 derived GPU. It's about time for a replacement, though.

        • designerfx
        • 6 years ago

        I’d say wait until 4K becomes ubiqutous. Buy something cheap as an easy upgrade in the meantime, because once 4K hits the hardware requirements are going to go up substantially.

      • JohnC
      • 6 years ago

      Soo… It’s basically yet another “Pebble watch”?

      • Bensam123
      • 6 years ago

      Sounds about right… People were harking these as a cheap Xbox or PS, but they aren’t even close to that level of quality. You get what you pay for in this case.

      • ZGradt
      • 6 years ago

      Oh, it’s not that bad. You can’t stream video like that at 1 mb/sec. XBMC will be released officially for it after launch, and I’m sure they’ll have it running as well or better than my Raspberry by then. It can only get better. NVidia is an Ouya investor now, so I’m sure they’ll help put a bit of polish on the UI.

      Hopefully they’ll release that PC game streaming app for it too. That’d be sweet. Why wouldn’t they? They’ve obviously spent some time developing it. It would surely sell a few Geforces, right? Maybe even give pause to PC gamers thinking about getting one of those newfangled AMD based consoles.

      The lack of Google Play is kind of a kick to the nuts though. I can see why they wouldn’t want to compete with Google on their own device, but it would be so much more convenient to users.

    • jdaven
    • 6 years ago

    The best thing about these types of cloud products is that more and more companies will put pressure on the ISPs to increase bandwidth while keeping subscription costs low.

    • Wildchild
    • 6 years ago

    It would be nice if I could use an Ouya to stream games from my PC downstairs to my bedroom upstairs. Keeping a gaming PC in a small bedroom just doesn’t work during the summer with all the heat.

      • cheddarlump
      • 6 years ago

      Why don’t you just run a KVM over a cat5 upstairs?

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