Nvidia Corp. on Thursday reduced pricing of its upcoming Shield game console by $50 ahead of commercial roll-out later this month. The new price is expected to attract more attention to the device from gamers, but it will still face fierce competition from dedicated consoles with specially-developed content and available at lower price-points.
Starting today, gamers can pre-order Nvidia Shield game consoles at $299, down $50 from the price Nvidia announced in mid-May, exactly a month ago. The company did not disclose reasons for a price-slash, but usually products in high demand do not get any cheaper. Interested customers may pre-order Shield game system from Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computers as well as on shield.nvidia.com. Nvidia will start shipping and selling Shield products on June 27, 2013.
While $299 is clearly a more competitive price-point than $349, it still does not seem to be competitive enough when compared to Sony PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. The former is available now at $249, whereas the other starts from $160 price-point online. Both platforms feature rich portfolio of high-quality games designed for them and meant to run on them. By contrast, Nvidia Shield will rely on content designed for low-cost Google Android-based gadgets.
As a pure Android device, Nvidia Shield gives access to any game on Google Play. And as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream select number of supported games from Steam from a PC powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its Steam game library from anywhere in the home. Nvidia Shield is based on Nvidia Tegra 4 system-on-chip (four ARM Cortex-A15 cores, Nvidia GeForce graphics adapter with 72 stream processors), is equipped with a 5” capacitive touch-screen with 1280*720 resolution (294ppi) and features 802.11n Wi-Fi technology with 2*2 MIMO antennas to stream PC games. Project Shield's ergonomic controller was built for the gamer who wants ultimate control and precision. The portable device also has integrated high-quality speakers. Nvidia Shield runs Google Android (4.0) Jelly Bean OS.
In many ways, Nvidia’s project Shield is an experiment for the company, which wants to expand its business beyond traditional PCs and smartphones/tablets. Shield will make select PC games more mobile than they are today, but only within one’s home and with a number of constraints, including small size screen and low resolution. Presently, Shield is primarily a game console with Android operating system and some additional capabilities. As a result, it is hard to expect Nvidia’s first-generation Shield to become a success in general: there are few hardcore gamers with interest in playing Android titles using D-pad and analogue stick and playing only select PC games on a 720p screen does not sound like something extraordinary.
Nonetheless, as technologies become more advanced, future generations of Shield should enable gamers to play their PC titles wherever they are, not just in their homes. That will in many ways be a revolution as it was never before possible to play advanced titles without a powerful PC. There are chances that future Nvidia Shield-like devices will be able to compete against portable game consoles from Nintendo and Sony.