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Nvidia Shield Console Launching in May for $199

Nvidia’s latest CPU has far more graphics ability than you could possibly use in a tablet, which is why Nvidia’s next flagship device isn’t the tablet which the blogosphere was expecting.

Late last night Nvidia announced the Shield console, a $199 gaming console running Android TV. Inside the Shield console you’ll find a 256-core Tegra X1 CPU with 3GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.


Far larger than its $99 competitor the Fire TV, the Shield console is a true gaming console and not, as some have described it, a set top box.

Inside the case you’ll find Bluetooth and 2×2 802.11ac Wifi, and around back you’ll see a gigabit ethernet port, HDMI, a microSD card slot, a couple full sized USB ports, and a microUSB port. It comes with 16GB storage, and the card slot can take a 128GB microSD card.

The console comes bundled with the same gaming controller which can be had for the Shield tablet, "a solid Xbox 360 controller knockoff with great buttons and great analog sticks, plus a tiny touchpad in the center for if you ever need it".

You can also buy an optional remote control should you want to use this gaming console for so plebeian of an activity as watching a movie. Other accessories include additional controllers and a stand.

shield console

This is the first gaming console to run Android TV, which came as a surprise to this blogger. I don’t take Android gaming seriously. Android lacks the high-end games found on PC and other consoles, but Nvidia’s Grid streaming service is in the process of changing that. What’s more, Gizmodo says that the chipmaker has somehow convinced big game developers like Crytek, Capcom, and Konami to support the platform.

The Nvidia Shield console is expected to launch in May for $199.

Gizmodo, Cnet

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fjtorres March 4, 2015 um 10:32 am

I would agree that it isn’t likely to challenge XBOX or Playstation since both have too strong a line up of first party exclusives and strong online gaming communities. Plus, $199 *without* a BD drive is a bit high to challenge the older consoles effectively.

But it will probably put an end to any hopes of the lemony fresh Wii U growing to challenge the big boys. It probably will seriously undercut the low end STEAMboxes, too, and might derail it even further.

There’s a shakedown coming: the market simply won’t support 9 console gaming platforms, even in two tiers. In the short-term Microsoft and Sony are both unassailable at both the high and low end so I think there will be room for maybe one more player at the low end.

A lot is going to depend on the graphics power of the Shield and whether the kingmakers of gaming (EA, ACTIVISION, and Ubisoft) are willing to go along. Especially on a significantly different architecture than the top two are using. (Remember, both MS and Sony moved to AMD x86 solutions under pressure from developers for more commonality to reduce development costs. So right now the three top tier gaming platforms–XBOX ONE, PC, and PS4–can all share significant amounts of code.)

An interesting development, though.
I expect it will have some success in the video streaming and hobbyist community that has taken to the FireTV with gusto. But beyond that…?

Nate Hoffelder March 4, 2015 um 12:28 pm

"There’s a shakedown coming: the market simply won’t support 9 console gaming platforms, even in two tiers"

Nine? How did you come to get 9? I can think of 6:

Playstation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo, the upcoming Steam Machines, and (now) Android TV. Even if you throw in the Fire TV, which I don’t take seriously as a console, I get 7.

What did I miss?

Of the 6 I listed, the weakest is probably Nintendo. Playstation, Xbox, and PC are unassailable, and the Steam Machines are can build on a a solid foundation of a gamer’s previously purchased Steam content (plus it’s a tied to a hybrid multi-platform platform spread across Windows, Linux, and OSX).

The Fire TV is going to hang on among Amazon customers, just like the Fire tablets.

But as for the Shield console, I’m not sure what it’s chances are.

fjtorres March 4, 2015 um 3:37 pm

Two XBOXES, Two Playstations, Two Wiis; all active and selling.
Steam, FireTV, and now Shield.

PC gaming is a separate creature that doesn’t really compete with the consoles.

And yes, Nintendo is weak. Wii will probably get triaged to prop up WiiU.

But 360 and PS3 are still getting new games and new customers, in higher volume than WiiU and higher than Shield is likely to get. Short term, they’re not going away soon.

And SteamBox isn’t really as strong as the hobbysists would have us believe. Too much of Steam’s strength is on the high end PC side rather than the Steambox consoles.

Nate Hoffelder March 4, 2015 um 3:54 pm

Oh, I didn’t think to count the majors twice. That explains it, thanks.

I think both Wiis are weak, and they’ll be the first to go. Just looking at the buzz they’re not generating, I think they’re already dying.

And the Steam Machines (4 models coming this year – so far) will likely be the Linux desktop of the console world. They’ll be around, but only in small numbers. And it’s a pity there aren’t any mentions of a Windows Steam machine (other than Dell’s); that would help keep the platform alive.

fjtorres March 4, 2015 um 4:45 pm

I’ve always seen the WiiU as an also ran, from the moment it was announced, but they do have their stable of first-party titles and a core of loyalists, especially in Japan. But I still expect they’ll outlast the Steambox.
And, most likely, the Shield…
…unless the price drops significantly.

Nate Hoffelder March 6, 2015 um 6:01 pm

Okay, I’ve the seen the prices for the Steam Machines due in November.

The $500 models might have a chance, but the $1,000 plus models are dead on arrival. And as for the $2k or $5k models, whoever thought that was a good idea had to have been smoking something potent.

fjtorres March 6, 2015 um 8:10 pm

Sounds about right.
But that chance isn’t all that big; Steam is strongest among the hardcore PC gamers and you can buy a lot of gaming PC for $500. More importantly, the Steam community is used to multimonitor gaming and consoles are primarily living room experiences.
That makes the Steamboxes something of a tweener platform. I expect they’ll do better than the PHANTOM but I seriously doubt they’ll be converting many current console gamers.

By now there’s something like 100M 360s, 90M PS3s, 2OM PS4s, 18M XBOX ONEs, and even the Wii U is probably closing in on 10M. The network effects of the online communities are strong mojo: PS3 and 360 owners might delay the migration to the new generation boxes but they aren’t too likely to switch camps at this late date. Not unless all their friends switch en masse. Those platforms rely on community. Plus the XBOX crowd isn’t going to walk away from 10 years of gamerscore. 😉

Nate Hoffelder March 7, 2015 um 8:31 am

PS3 and 360 owners might delay the migration to the new generation boxes but they aren’t too likely to switch camps at this late date.

The question isn’t whether they’ll switch camps, but whether they will get a Steam machine in addition to their existing console(s).

And the answer is: probably not. Any console gamer who wanted to play Steam games will have a cheap but powerful PC already, so I don’t think they’d see a need to get a console for the same purpose. They’ll just buy the games.

fjtorres March 7, 2015 um 11:17 am

Steamboxes will appeal primarily to PC gamers, a different breed than console gamers.

The same kind of divide exists at the STB/console divide.

The kinds of games that make up the SONY/MS catalogs appeal to a different customer base than the iOS/android gaming communities. The latter are more deeply invested in pastime games than in narrative-based games, shared universe games, or online competition games.

There does seem to be a (smallish) market for STB pastime games, judging by the success of the FireTV but it doesn’t seem to be too big since Apple hasn’t made much of an effort to boost the AppleTV’s gaming appeal.

I’m thinking the Shield might have a stronger appeal as a 4K video streamer than as a game box.

Nvidia to Release Updated Shield Tablet, Handheld Soon ⋆ Ink, Bits, & Pixels March 30, 2015 um 10:50 am

[…] this month Nvidia announced the Shield gaming console. This was the first Nvidia flagship device to use the cutting edge Tegra X1 CPU, and it won't be […]

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