Will Less Be More for Project Shield? Nvidia Cuts to $299
When Nvidia announced Project Shield at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the gaming portable for open platforms turned plenty of heads.
Nvidia created Project Shield with the philosophy that gaming should be open and flexible and play both Android and PC titles. A pure Android device, Project Shield offers access to the Google Play games store. But the pocket-knife-styled machine can also be used as a wireless receiver and controller to stream games from a PC equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU graphics card to a television.
With the June 27 roll-out date approaching, Nvidia is slashing the planned price from $349 to $299. Is that enough to drive momentum in an ultra-competitive space? Nvidia thinks so.
Feedback Brings Price Down
In a blog post, the company said it has put preview Shield models into the hands of thousands of gamers, many at the PAX East gamers convention in Boston last March and at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this month: "Some have been professional press. Others have been inside our own company. But most have been people like the tens of thousands who streamed through our booth at PAX East and E3. And their reactions have been more than just positive."
According to Nvidia, these gamers have helped the company build a better product. The company says examples of the evolution of Shield during project development include triggers that have a specific throw length, buttons that offer just the right amount of give, and thumb sticks that flick the way gamers like them.
And the new pricing is also based on feedback. Despite the awards it's already stacked up, Nvidia isn't leaving success to chance. The company said "thousands of gamers" said if the price was $299 the product would be a home run. Nvidia listened.
Key to the success of the device could be its cheap games: most are 99 cents and some of the more expensive options are $10. That compares with Nintendo 3DS games that average about $35 a pop or PlayStation Vita titles that run an average of $40 per game.
Get Hulu and Netflix, Too
Project Shield uses the new Tegra 4 processor, complete with its Wi-Fi technology and HD video and audio, in a console-grade controller. Project Shield can be used to play on its own integrated screen or on a big screen, and on the couch or anywhere else.
Project Shield offers an integrated 5-inch, 1280x720 HD retinal multi-touch display, with 294 dpi. The Tegra 4 processor with Direct Touch technology gives the device its touch responsiveness. Project Shield can download Android games, including Android-optimized titles available on Nvidia's TegraZone game store, which has already delivered more than 6 million downloads to gamers.
Project Shield can also access Android apps such as Hulu, Netflix and Slacker Radio, so users can tap their movies and music anywhere, with wired or wireless speakers.