by Anton Shilov
01/08/2013 | 11:50 PM
The head of Sony Corp. said that he was not completely surprised by Nvidia Corp.’s decision to create a portable game device that plays titles for Google Android and stream PC games. However, it does not look that Sony feels threat from this product as this is by far not the first attempt of new parties to enter the market of gaming devices.
“I was not as surprised as you might think. If you look back through the pages of history, there have been other attempts. […] It is difficult to break into. I have managed this industry, so I know,” said Kazuo Hirai, chief executive officer of Sony, in a brief interview with PCWorld web-site.
At the Consumer Electronics Show 2013, Nvidia announced project Shield, a gaming portable device for open platforms. As an Android-based device, Nvidia Shield gives access to any game on Google Play. As a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games 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.
Considering the fact that Nvidia Shield will have the same hardware as advanced media tablets or smartphones based on Android operating system, it is hard to expect it to be truly affordable, specially keeping in mind additional parts like gamepad elements. Since Shield is designed for open-platform titles, Nvidia will not get money selling games for it (except from royalties that it may get from Tegra-exclusive titles), but will have to sell hardware at a profit. All-in-all, do not expect Nvidia Shield to be sold at a discount price or below the hardware costs.
Given that Nvidia Shield will be rather expensive, will not feature any titles designed exclusively for it and will stream PC video games only within the range of one’s home , it is likely that only hardcore gamers will actually buy it. By contrast, portable consoles from Sony and Nintendo feature numerous exclusive titles and Sony’s latest PlayStation Vita even has integrated 3G to connect to the Internet when Wi-Fi networks are unavailable.
While the head of Sony admits that gamers want their games everywhere and on any device, he remained tight-lipped over potential success of Nintendo Shield.
“Customers are used to playing video games on not just consoles anymore, but a variety of devices. […] It is too early to tell [whether Nvidia’s timing with Shield was right],” said Mr. Hirai.