by Anton Shilov
02/17/2014 | 11:51 PM
Although Nvidia Corp. reduced price of its Shield portable video game console, bundled it with popular GeForce GTX graphics cards and free games, it has not managed to make it any popular among gamers. While the company does not want to share the exact number of units sold so far, it admits that it is low. On the other hand, Nvidia claims that Shied is needed to boost the Google Android games in general.
“We are modest about the revenues from [Nvidia Shield], we are modest about its distribution, because it is something that we are still learning, but it is important to our strategy for gaming,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, during a conference call with investors and financial analysts.
For Nvidia, it is important to evolve Google Android as a platform for video games. Once Nvidia convinces multiple game developers to create graphics-intensive applications for Android and gamers will like those titles, the demand for Tegra application processors with high-performance GeForce graphics will increase. Unfortunately for the company, at present there are about ten games that take advantage of Tegra and it does not seem that those titles are popular. Nonetheless, the company does not give up.
Even though Nvidia Shield is in general impressive, it has numerous restrictions: far not all Google Android games support D-pad and analogue sticks, not all PC games can be streamed to Shield (and not all TVs support Shield too), its display is smaller than that of tablets and phablets. Moreover, the Shield costs $249 in the U.S. and £269 in the UK, more than PlayStation Vita. Finally, the console is not officially available in continental Europe.
It is rumoured that Nvidia’s second-generation Shield is just a number of month away and that it will be based on fifth-generation Tegra K1 application processor which features two ARMv8 64-bit Nvidia Denver general-purpose cores as well as GeForce “Kepler” graphics engine. With such advanced processing engines, the second-gen Shield has to offer much better capabilities than the original model.
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 and cast it to TVs. The console has two analogue sticks, a D-pad as well as numerous functional keys commonly found on gamepads. As a pure Android device, Nvidia Shield gives access to any game on Google Play. 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 runs Google Android (4.0) Jelly Bean OS.