Pricing and Closing Thoughts

Pricing and the Need for New Device

While NVIDIA initially started taking preorders with a $349 price tag in the US, they quickly dropped that to $299 and that is the price they are launching at today.  The question is whether or not consumers are going to be willing to shell out for another mobile device.  Are the new sensations of a dedicated Android-based gaming platform interesting and compelling enough to convince consumers not only to spend the money, but also carry an additional device to their smartphone or tablet?

Let's be real – you WANT to get one of these after seeing this, right?

At $299, NVIDIA SHIELD is $50 more expensive than a Playstation Vita and more than $100 more than the Nintendo 3DS, both dedicated gaming portable devices with a more compelling library of games.  With SHIELD you have other benefits that come along with the Android operating system and a tablet-esque interface that allows you to do much more than just play games.  PC game streaming adds another interesting touch for PC gamers that might already be on the hunt for a secondary device to keep around the house.

The price hurdle is also part mental – consumers are so used to mobile devices and smartphones for $199, $99 or even FREE that the idea of paying $300 for what essentially is a very specific mobile device design could turn them off.  All things considered, the amount of hardware you are getting with SHIELD is impressive – a next-generation SoC, a high quality gaming controller, etc.  Whether or not casual consumers will recognize that though is another question.


Closing Thoughts

My time with NVIDIA’s SHIELD has been more exciting and compelling than I had expected.  The Tegra 4 SoC is powerful, and the gaming performance is truly impressive for such a small device.  The build quality of every component of SHIELD is top notch including the controller, the screen, the speakers and even the available accessories.  Android gaming is an odd market to be sure, with the highs and lows we have come to expect with these app stores, but NVIDIA’s push the TegraZone initiative is doing a great job curating and promoting better practices for developers. 

Even though NVIDIA is not in any of the next-generation consoles, everybody wants to rule the world and they believe the mobile market is the doorway into it.  NVIDIA promises this is just the first of many SHIELD devices to come and I can’t wait to see how the technology evolves and grows. 

I don’t consider SHIELD to be a “must buy” device, but users that find the feature set interesting and might utilize the PC streaming capability should definitely put this on your $300 gadget list.

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