There's a war raging away from the controllers, big screens, keyboards, mice and 144-Hz monitors when it comes to mobile gaming. Tablets are accelerating the growth of the already expanding market and device makers are shoring up features that have nothing to do with gaming, so it's a good time to take a look at three of the biggest players.
Core gamers -- the devout Sony Ponies, X-bots and PC Neckbeards -- have long railed against the bite-sized games, touch controls and pay walls that defined mobile gaming. But opinions appear to be shifting as the mobile market births enticing gems, such as Monument Valley, and carries ports of console games such as Limbo and Minecraft.
The three tablets listed in this roundup may not replace any dedicated hardware, but they are worth a look for gamers in the market for new tablets:
Nvidia Shield Tablet ($399, 32GB version)
The Shield Tablet was built with gamers in mind, specifically those who own Nvidia GPUs. Consumers need to have Nvidia GPUs in order to stream games from a PC to a Shield Tablet. Remote streaming is one of the Shield Tablet's most impressive features, but there are features that could attract AMD owners and casual gamers.
That Tegra K1 doesn't need a workhorse PC to bear the brunt of the processing work. The Shield Tablet has a growing collection of games optimized just for it. Current headliners include Trine 2, Half Life 2, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Portal.
Google Nexus 9 ($599, 32GB Version)
The Nexus 9 is about 140 percent more powerful in general, according to Passmark. It's also about 165 percent more powerful than the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9.
NVidia's Tegra K1 processor powers both the Nexus 9 and the Shield Tablet, though the former's CPU uses the Denver CPU and is clocked about 0.1GHz faster than the latter.
While some gamers would like to just stick with a Nintendo DS as they don't care at all about a tablet's non-gaming features, we have to mention the Nexus 9 has a better rear camera than the Shield Tablet.
The Nexus 9 and Fire HDX both sport 8MP cameras on their backs, but the Shield Tablet wears the superior selfie cam on its face. Nexus 9's 1.3 MP front camera and the Fire HDX 8.9 sub-megapixel seflie cam both fall short of the 5MP shooter on the front of the Shield Tablet.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 ($429, 32GB Version)
The Fire nets a win in packing the most pixels into its display. It has a resolution of 2650x1600, while the Nexus 9 and Shield Tablet put out 2048x1536 and 1920x1080 respectively.
Amazon has launched its own video game studio and has released two exclusive games for its Fire tablets.
These tablets can serve as primary gaming devices, but even Nvidia has realized there has to be more to the portable device beyond playing games. The Shield Tablet succeeded the Shield Portable for that reason. All three tablets are more than capable of running the latest mobile games, so it all comes down to what additional features a gamer wants to tap. Selfie, anyone?