Posted on December 06 2017 by Rod Lloyd
The Nvidia Shield launched in China earlier this week, offering many of the same streaming capabilities that western consumers have seen from the device already. In an unexpected turn however, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and a group of other Wii titles are now available exclusively on the Chinese version of Nvidia’s set-top box, in 1080p HD.
As part of a local partnership between Nintendo, Nvidia, and Chinese video company iQiyi, HD ports of Twilight Princess, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Punch-Out!! are now available on the Nvidia Shield in China, with Super Mario Galaxy “coming soon.” These titles are available for 68RMB (approximately $10 USD).
Based on the orientation of the in-game map and Link’s sword placement as seen in the device’s launch trailer, Twilight Princess on Nvidia Shield more resembles the GameCube version of the game, as opposed to the Wii version. At this point, we do not yet know if this version is an HD port of the original GameCube title or a port of Twilight Princess HD from the Wii U.
Because this announcement marks the first time some of these Wii games will be available in HD (Twilight Princess HD was released last year), some have speculated that Nintendo is using the Nvidia Shield to test potential Wii re-releases for the Nintendo Switch. The Nvidia X1 system-on-a-chip is used in both the Switch and the Shield TV, after all.
However, Nvidia’s Chinese website suggests that the games are available via streaming through Nvidia’s Geforce Now service, rather than through direct emulation on the hardware. This would mean the hardware similarities between the Shield and the Switch do not inherently imply future plans by Nintendo. It’s too early to expect these HD ports to be released in the west anytime soon, if at all. But if Nintendo announces a Virtual Console-like streaming service for the Switch at some time down the road, we may just see these titles released again in HD as we’ve seen here.
What do you make of Twilight Princess‘ jump to Nvidia in China? Do you want to see these HD ports on the Nintendo Switch? Let us know in the comments below.