24
May
1

NVIDIA SHIELD, the company's first in-house built device, is officially available for pre-order for $350. And no sooner than the announcement was made, the "this is too expensive!" comments started showing up. I want to explain why I think that line of thinking is not only unfair, but also illogical.

The issue with SHIELD, in my opinion, isn't actually with SHIELD itself but rather the way people are perceiving it. Sure, it's a portable gaming console; but first and foremost, it's an Android device. A stock Android device. It has access to the Play Store, Google services, and everything else that makes Android great. And it's packed full of the latest tech on the scene – basically, if this were a tablet or phone, the $350 price tag would make this device a no-brainer and everyone would be going nuts to get their hands on it.

And that's exactly how I see it: it's essentially a next-gen tablet.

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In a few months, all sorts of Tegra 4-powered tablets will be hitting the scene with a variety of different features, at a myriad of different price points – none of which I expect to be at the $350 mark. $400? Maybe, but that's a bit of stretch. $450? Likely. $500 or more? Count on it.

Do you think ASUS will let the next Transformer go for anything less than the TF700's launch price of $499 (excluding the dock)? Not a chance. Or what about newcomers to the game, like HP – we've already seen the company's first Tegra 4 tablet, and it's priced at a cool $480 – a full $130 higher than SHIELD. Sure, it ships with an included keyboard dock, but that's not far-off from SHIELDs built-in game controller. Comparing the two based just on utility is apples and oranges, so for all intents and purposes, they're both just accessories that amplify the device's capabilities. And what we're basically talking about it is what you get for your money – dollar for dollar.

Of course, let's not forget about Shield's standout feature: PC Streaming. This is a killer option for hardcore PC gamers – with a GTX 650 or higher NVIDIA graphics card, any Steam title with controller support will be able to stream from PC to SHIELD over Wi-Fi for away-from-keyboard gaming. This feature is absolutely the first of its kind.

There are a few comparisons to other products being made as well, like I'll just get MOGA Pro for my phone – BOOM, I have a SHIELD. Wrong again. As someone who has both the MOGA Pocket and the MOGA Pro, I can attest to one thing: this solution is an afterthought. Sure, it works well, but it's not as if the phone you own was built from the ground up with a game controller in mind. Firstly, with a MOGA, you're sacrificing precious battery life on your mobile phone, which is a killer in itself. Secondly, you're playing over a Bluetooth connection, which can have latency issues that lead to extreme amounts of frustration and fury. With SHIELD, you can just take it out of your bag and start playing – no need to pair anything. And again, you simply can't stream PC games to your phone. NVIDIA spent countless hours over the last several months (or possibly even longer) designing and building SHIELD – do you really, honestly think that just attaching a game controller to your phone or tablet is the same thing? If so, you're lying to yourself.

There's still another point to be made here: speakers. When it comes to playing games, a good audio experience is the icing on the cake. NVIDIA incorporated some killer speaker tech into SHIELD – something that is so far unmatched on phones and tablets – to provide the best possible experience when gaming. These guys know gaming, what makes it good, and essential elements to make it the best experience possible. For the longest time, I've been pairing my Nexus 7 with a MOGA and Jambox (or similar speaker) when I sit down to play some games. Is it overkill? Maybe, but it makes for a far better experience than using the crappy little speaker on the N7 along with touch controls. It would be nice to have the option to just flip open a screen and start playing without having to deal with pairing both a controller and speaker.

1[7]

And that's all without mentioning the cost of these things combined: Nexus 7 – $250; Jambox – $150; MOGA Pro – $50. Total: $450. That's $100 more than SHIELD, which has a fresh-off-the-presses processor and 2GB of RAM. Less money for more tech – how is that overpriced?

Ultimately, the point is simple, guys and gals: it doesn't matter if you want SHIELD, or if you will personally pay $350 for it – calling it overpriced based on your own desires and/or financial situation is unfair and unreasonable. I realize that the allure isn't there for everyone (and I'm sure NVIDIA does, too), and that's OK. I'm not asking that you immediately go buy SHIELD – that's entirely up to you. What I am suggesting, though, is that you actually take into consideration what you're getting for $350; it's a next-gen tablet. A mobile game console. An entirely new genre of product.

This is innovation, guys. Let's just appreciate it for what it is.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Himmat Singh

    That equation is plain wrong. You know why...cause this thing cannot be used as a Nexus 7. You're not going to be browsing the Internet, watching movies, reading books or replying emails from here, not without causing much inconvenience to yourself that is.

    If the top part could be detached to become a standalone 5.5-inch Android device, then yes, it is a fair comparison, but otherwise it is a fallacious argument.

    • Arun

      even if you leave out the jambox thing, tegra 4 is miles ahead of tegra 3 on the nexus 7.. so the price of 350 is still somewhat justifiable.. 299 would've been the sweet spot though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

        Tegra 3 tablets were all over $450 until the Nexus 7. Then it turns out that price point was a sham.

        There is literally zero reason to believe this will not be the case this time.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1532400060 Logan Jinks

          Please take into consideration that the kindle fire and nexus 7 were both sold at cost or loss. Both Amazon and Google were counting on you to use their services and by their products to make up for the selling cost of their tablet. So the price points of tablets being higher than the nexus 7 are completely justifiable, as long as you want the hardware.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

            Hey, HE made the comparison to Android tablets. Should the best selling Android tablet's price not be taken in consideration?

          • monstercameron

            the nexus wasn't sold at a lost, it had tight margins though...

          • Cerberus_tm

            I believe they still make some profit on those devices, just a lot less than the insane profits on most new devices. Look at the BOM (cost of the materials + assembly) of the Iphone 5, which is around $ 200.

        • Ivan Myring

          Also by the Time the nexus 7 came out, tegra 3 was nearly a year old

      • Himmat Singh

        Dude, you're missing the point here. This is a dedicated gaming console...no point comparing it with a Nexus 7, which is a full-on tablet.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

          Did you read the article?

        • Thinh

          Only a dedicated gaming console if you see it as one. This little beast will be doing all kinds of things for me. =D

  • Szondikapitány 2.0

    I'ts an overpriced gimmick..

  • Himmat Singh

    The only arguments in favour of the Shield is that it has a much bigger variety of games and the games cost much lower than other dedicated mobile gaming platforms. So, in a way, you could save over the long run. However, an equally adept argument can be made most of the games on Android lack depth, so you essentially only have a few true console-quality games depth wise.

  • http://twitter.com/Erroneus Erroneus

    It's dumb, that's what it is. "it's essentially a next-gen tablet." ... really? Yeah I'm sure this is a great alternative for a tablet, oh wait no it's not because of the size, the controller and so on.

    "which can have latency issues that lead to extreme amounts of frustration and fury" Woav now we are stretching it, that's just desperately trying to find anything against the Moga argument. Streaming PC games from your PC will be even more prone to latency issues, then the connection with a Moga device.

    Why anyone will spend 350$ (unless they simply have to many money) on the Shield, is beyond me. Get a Moga Pro, play your Android games on your Android smartphone, which 99% of possible Shield owners anyway would have. If you want a real highend gaming portable, go get a Vita and get access to proper games with high production value.

    I love my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, and the games for them, but getting a Shield because it's an Android handheld gaming device, yeah that's not happening, as it's a waste of money.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I can't speak to your other points, but I've seen the Shield run in person, and there was no noticeable latency to speak of from my perspective.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

        Do you picture yourself taking this "next-gen tablet" to classes or meetings? How about watching movies when you don't want to look like you're a 10 year old playing pokemon, does it do that?

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          I don't really see this device as something to take to classes or meetings. In my mind it's meant to play games, probably mostly around the house, since - to my understanding - using it for its intended purpose (streaming games) requires you to be on the same network as the PC you're mirroring.
          Would I watch movies on this? Probably not. Would I buy this? Probably not, but I don't think I'm exactly the audience they're going for.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

            So you're saying you wouldn't use it as a tablet.

          • invinciblegod

            Wait so this isn't even supposed to be a mobile device? This is so you can play your PC games in your house on a smaller screen with a controller that is probably not as good as a Xbox PC wireless Controller? That is an even smaller market segment than I previously thought. Even if what you say is true and this is the perfect product for that tiny niche, that means they are wasting their development resources on a product with almost no profit potential.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          You're awfully emotional about this. I think it may be time for a nap.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

            I expect this from engadget comment trolls, but you're on the staff of this huge blog. Behave like a grown up. Or just say it like them "U MAD?"

      • EH101

        Are you talking on board games? Or streaming via PC? Because he's talking about the streaming, obviously.

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          Yes, streaming from a PC.

          • invinciblegod

            Problem is you are on the go and unless the shield comes with a cellular connection, the requirement of wifi will be a massive flaw.

          • EH101

            Only issue I can see with that would be those PC gamers who use desktops and never bothered to get a good wifi router, I still use a Linksys wireless G router that is roughly 7 years old. I have my doubts that it could stream things so well.

          • misterE33

            streaming is cool, and really is the most attractive thing to me, but you're right, even on a good connection you're going to experience latency no matter what magic they perform, and will also be subject to any other issues on the network, including connection drops or even just someone else at home streaming movies. i'm not saying all that is the fault of the shield, but i don't think it will be as perfectly smooth in the real world as it keeps getting suggested.

            in the end, if streaming isn't working, it really is just a phablet with a controller -- which isn't a *bad* thing, it's just not as appealing

          • EH101

            I agree on all accounts, but I think any wireless N router should be able to handle the streaming aspect as long as not too many other things are using it. My issue is my wireless G router is not only old and outdated, but it serves my PS3, and an old laptop I use as a print server, and then my tablet and phone and I live in an apartment complex so interference is extremely high. That really cuts down on the bandwidth that can be allotted for this device. It would be just another hassle to have to turn off all those devices' wifi just so I can stream to Shield, imo.

          • misterE33

            yeah definitely -- i'm an 802.11G holdout too, so i feel you. i guess an N router may be one more thing to add to the requirements list. we'll just have to wait and see.

            i haven't seen anybody else mention onlive, but that worked fairly well on some games, but was unplayable with others. of course that streamed via the internet, so hopefully in-home would be less laggy

          • EH101

            I never got around to liking OnLive. In fact, I think I played a Lego Batman game (that they gave me free) just to see what it could do and it lagged quite a bit. 10 minutes later I was done exploring OnLive and decided to never try it again.

            Great idea, sure, but horrible execution.

            Though, it doesn't help OnLive's stance that I already had a PS3 and first-run Xbox 360 that still hasn't RROD'd on me (crossing fingers). Plus my near-top-of-the-line at the time gaming PC. So one could argue I just didn't fit their target audience really.

          • CasperTFG

            Exactly. Up until last week I was a proud owner of a 9 year old Actiontec. The article's formula should add router costs.

  • Sven L.

    It is a gaming handheld, and for the money you pay for the Shield you can get a 3DS or a PS Vita with much better games.

  • cc_star

    I could get on board with it, if it didn't look like a 13 year old's fantasy.

    Would much prefer it to be PlayStation Vita shaped.
    Also it's dearer than a vita which has better games & will have practically full remote support with the PS4

    • misterE33

      the vita form factor would be great (along the lines of the wikipad, etc). i guess the only problem is the controls usually become compromised in the process.
      in any case, i lost count of how many times i've wanted a next-gen xperia play/vita+phone

  • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera

    The product has its niche market, but can't be compared to a tablet like Nexus 7. Splashtop THD + Nexus 7 + a small USB keyboard is cheaper than this thing and can do half the "exclusive features" proposed by nVidia itself (and even with a MOGA instead of a keyboard you're at most on par with the price, with a modular device far more professional for multipurpose use). The other half is only a matter of time (nVidia streaming APK dumped and made available to every device capable to run Splashtop (they are the guys behind this new evolution of the streaming protocol so no hot water discovered). Moreover the screen on the N7 is bigger and with its 3G option is also completely autonomous (obviously at an extra cost). The only downside is the lack of the MHL/Miracast video out, but to play on an external TV via Grid or via GeForce experience I mostly prefer to directly use my PC (or at most I'll buy an Ouya who should provide games specifically targeted for bigger high-res screens).

    • http://www.facebook.com/kreatoorn Umut Tan

      I have tried Splashtop THD and it sucks. Can't run most of the games on full screen. Also there are latency... Lame.

      • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera

        And you think the streaming with the GeForce experience will be different? The full screen on Splashtop is available ONLY for GeForce cards, and let's see...how is called the program that you need with Shield? "GeForce Experience", so forget to use it with AMD card neither in windowed mode (oh and on Geforce Experience you have to stick with gamepad preset bindings). I haven't said that's the panacea of the "gaming on the go", I said that almost everything that you can achieve with Shield (minus the performance of Tegra 4 vs Tegra 3), you can do with a nexus 7 plus the accessories with a cheaper price (or at most on par but with a device that you can use also for the work). ;-)

  • Zak Taccardi

    I agree. Hopefully this device can move Android gaming forward.

    Personally, I think Google should manufacture an official Android controller, so games are more likely to be developed with touchscreen AND controller input in mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

    Yeah agreed, for sure all Tegra 4 tablets will be $500+. I mean, remember how all the Tegra 3 tablets were at least $450?

    Anyone with half a brain cell will wait for the next Nexus 7 and get a sixaxis controller for like 30 bucks, root and pair them, and when they're not playing games they still have a kickass tablet with a decent sized screen that doesn't make you look like a retard when you take it to classes or meetings.

    • EH101

      And the next Nexus 7 will probably have a 1080 screen at least. That would be great on that size of a device.

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    Mobile games (Android, iPhone) consist of little more than quick time-wasters. Stuff like flick your finger for Angry Birds. I stopped playing Android games quite a while ago and purchased a 3DS to fill my gaming needs. I'm sure the Shield will be used by many to play GBA/SNES games on emulators though =P

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

      It can play quite a few Steam games as well. That changes the picture a lot!

      • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

        There's no reason to believe that functionality will never be available on other Android devices.

        • misterE33

          not to mention, you need a decently high-end nvidia gpu setup with good in-home wifi (and be sitting at home) to take advantage of that

          • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

            Or a laptop with sufficient video card power while traveling.

        • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

          But it does NOT exist currently (while the Shield's ability to do so does) and we have no expectation that it will exist anytime soon. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

            You're not wrong, but there's no way that particular feature is worth 200 bucks.

          • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

            I think AP's price breakdown is a bit wrong but if you're saying the tablet portion is only worth $150, then I also think yours is wrong. I think $250 is a fair price for the tablet portion of this device, the "extra gaming stuff" is costing you ~$100. That seems fair since you could probably say the controller is $50 of that. I'm VERY happy to pay $50 for software that does what I want it to do.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

            I would not pay $250 for a 5.5 inch Android tablet that has a giant controller attached to it's side. You might, and there's the disconnect between us.

          • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

            I strongly recommend you not buy the Shield then! ;-)

    • Cuvis

      You mean other than games like Shadowgun, Dead Trigger, GTA3, and most of Gameloft's output, right?

      • NathanDrago

        I think he means what you're trying to say: 99% of Android games are hardly worth the expense of a $350 gaming device.

      • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

        Those require the developers to add button support to the games, otherwise you'll be left using an uncomfortable touchscreen with useless buttons on it though.

  • chad

    Problem is this years top performing thing is next years pos slow outdated ancient hardware. I know they said they plan on making it upgradeable but that just adds fragmentation to the problem. Did that new game come out require shield gen.1,2 or 3?

    I believe consoles and portables where successful was because they where left on the market for multiple years. This will be pretty much obsolete next year when they have to release the gen.2 version because the first is so slow now.

    When these mobile cpu/gpus are moving at breakneck speeds it's never wise to invest in a product like this. Just wait until the advancement slows down and get the one that everybody wants to have and every developer is designing for.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

      ...And when will that be, exactly? When do you think they will shut down Moore's Law? So we can all start buying electronics?

  • invinciblegod

    Most importantly, this is for the hardcore mobile gamer. Anyone who is satisfied with Angry Birds do not need a controller (and it is actually a regression) and will get an iPad or Nexus 7. That means it needs hardcore games. How many hardcore games are on the Android Market? Very few. And many of them are ports of old titles.

    Games on Nintendo 3DS
    -DS titles
    -Mario (Exclusive obviously)
    -Persona (Port)
    -Pokemon (Exclusive)
    -Phoenix Wright 5 (Exclusive)
    -Castlevania (Exclusive)
    -Theatrhythm (Also on iPad)

    Playstation Vita
    -PSP titles
    -Persona 4 Golden (Also on PS2)
    -Assassin's Creed (Exclusive)
    -Disgaea 3 (Exclusive)
    -Final Fantasy X (Also on PS2)

    Android Games That Appeal to people who want a controller
    - Grand Theft Auto 3 (SUPER OLD)
    - Spectral Souls: Resurrection (PSP GAME also available on Vita. Also it is not good)
    - Sonic (Available on everything)
    - Symphony of Eternity (THE ONLY EXCLUSIVE THAT I KNOW. ALSO IT HAS SNES QUALITY GRAPHICS)

    In conclusion, lack of games is what will kill it. Not anything else. If you don't want games, why would you buy this as a tablet when you can get an iPad or Nexus 7?

    *EDIT*
    Put Theatrhythm as Vita title. It's a 3DS Title

    • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

      Teathrythm is also on 3DS. Big fan of the Title =P

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Really, man? C'mon now.

      Shadowgun
      Dead Trigger/ Dead Trigger 2
      Riptide/Riptide 2
      Modern Combat
      Sonic

      ...there are quite a few Android games that people want controller support with, and more are coming out pretty often.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

        There's no comparison. If you've played the games on his lists you know it's apples and oranges. I would sell my bunghole to play Persona 4 on Android.

      • misterE33

        i know you're dismissing the idea of attaching a controller, but i've happily played most of those games with a ps3 controller + sixaxis and it works just fine. sure, there are disadvantages, but on the other hand, you don't need another expensive piece of hardware (outside of the controller) -- the flipside of that argument, though, is that i can still turn off the controller and take my phone with me.

        i guess in the end, that if the shield is just a spiffed up way of playing android games, it's cool, but i think it's a tough market. PC streaming is a killer feature, but i'm skeptical about how effective that will be in the real world given all of its requirements and limitations.

        i know i sound critical here, but it's with a heavy heart, because i really want something like the shield to come along and blow away all expectations. i'm just not sure it's possible

        • Justin Swanson

          It's possible. It just requires BIG developers like Nintendo, Square Enix, Sega, etc to develop for Android for touch and controller support. We'll get there, but the SHIELD won't get us there. It will be an evolving mindset.

      • invinciblegod

        I will go into detail on each of the games you listed.

        SHADOWGUN
        - Play like Gears of War. Is decent. Hardly a system seller (took about 5 hours for me to beat). Admittidly, hardly any good shooters (FPS or 3rd person) are available on Vita and 3DS.

        Dead Trigger
        - FPS. Gets repetetive after a while. ( I play FPS games once in campaign mode and then I'm done with it)

        Riptide
        - Racing game. No idea about quality. I don't play racing games so I don't really have much to say really.

        Modern Combat
        - This game is not good (the first one anyways). The graphics were blocky and the story was nonsensical. Of course, I usually play for the story so that may be different than the PVP deathmatch people out there.

        Sonic
        - These games really are only valuable as nostalgia. I played through sonic CD and Sonic 4 on my Galaxy S3 and they really were nothing to write home about.

        In conclusion based on the above examples, android games get a mediocre gaming experience (for me). Most of those games I would rate at best a B. The games I listed for my initial list were mostly A's.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          k.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

            They really do let just anyone write here, don't they.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

            Nope.

            Look, I don't have to agree with him (or you, for that matter), but I'm good with his opinion. My "k" was nothing more than an acknowledgement. No sarcasm, nothing smartass. Please don't make something out of nothing.

        • TheCraiggers

          The games you're comparing to are also quite often over TEN TIMES more in cost. For example, comparing Shadowgun to Gears is kinda unfair since Gears costs $60, not counting the console.

          • invinciblegod

            That's true, console games are much more expensive. However, most android games I end up playing for 20 minutes and then I uninstall so it really depends on if you are satisfied with the cheaper, but less deep games. For instance, I haven't found a game as deep as Assassin's Creed on Android (barring GTA3, a port). So for me the $60 is more value since I game more with those type of games than the Android games.

            Of course that's assuming you buy the game as soon as it comes out (I generally wait a few months).

          • GraveUypo

            i got my second hand gears of war two for 10 bucks

          • TheCraiggers

            And I found an Atari 2600 and an entire box of games (like 30 something) for $5 at a garage sale.

            In other words, "cool story, bro"

        • PINJ

          So You Basically Just Showed That You Have NO Clue ABout Any Of These Games. Well Done You.*Claps*.

  • EH101

    A hardcore PC gamer wouldn't even touch this. Why? Well, we have keyboards and mice that are infinitely more accurate than any controller. Furthermore, if we want to play a game using a controller, we can just use a current six-axis controller or an Xbox 360 controller. Works just fine. Not to mention that we have screens much bigger than this pathetic 5.5 inch screen. For instance, I use a 55 inch LCD at greater than 1080 P resolutions. (Different resolutions for different games)

    Yet another point, half of hardcore PC gamers use graphics cards from this little company called AMD. We aren't about to go shell out another 500+ for Nvidia's current gen graphics cards simply so we can stream to this device. There is no added value there.

  • invinciblegod

    The only way this will succeed is if nVidia can procure exclusive games for this system by the big hitters (Capcom, Ubisoft, EA, Activision, Square, Rockstar). I highly doubt they will and I will predict that they will have no exclusive titles, just a few enhanced ports. This will not sell the system.

    • misterE33

      i hate the idea of exclusives, but i'd have to agree with you. there will need to at least be games designed specifically for the shield, or have specially-made shield-only modes. all android games are designed to work on a touchscreen, and even when i've hooked up my moga or ps3 controller, and with games that were 'designed' for use with a controller, there's invariably stuff that doesn't work quite right due to core design compromises that were made for the touchscreen

  • ej_knight

    I don't disagree with the idea that the price of this device is justifiable if you break down the components and price them individually. but i think the amount of people that find personal value in a device like this is a very small amount of people.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    Love you to death, Cameron, but I have to disagree on (almost) every point.

    For starters, nothing that has a giant, non-removable controller is "first and foremost" a tablet. At best it is "worst-case scenario, it can kinda act like a tablet, sort of." Which would you rather pull out to answer email, this or the Nexus 7? Which would you prefer to read books on? Which is better for reading news sites? Almost across the board, an actual tablet is the answer. The only thing this does is gaming.

    Moreover, the arguments that it's a godsend to hardcore gamers is a little generous at best. For starters, this only applies to a subset of gamers. No console gamers are allowed. Only Steam. Secondly, only Steam gamers that have certain hardware installed. You say at one point that this is more tech for less money (with somewhat inflated numbers, but that's a little beside the point), but you've failed to account for the graphics card investment that many users would be required to make. You might assume that everybody has it, but that's not a given.

    Even if you stay within the realm of hardcore PC gamers with GTX graphics cards, though, what is the $350 worth of appeal here? Playing Skyrim on the couch on a 5" display? That sounds awful. In fact there are very few games in my library that would be all that fun on a 5" display. I could be in the minority on that, though, as we all know my penchant for big screens, but it just doesn't seem like $350 worth of a feature. Oh, and that feature is a beta, by the way. It may be a great beta (the tag means nothing anymore), but that's still off-putting.

    I'm not the world's most hardcore gamer, but I've spent a decent chunk of money both building a machine that's capable of running high-end games and have a decent library of said games. But I just could not see spending $350 on a device just so I can play games on my couch instead of my computer that I've already invested in.

    I think the big thing you overlook is just how much the mindset of a PC gamer differs from that of a console gamer. If we wanted to play on the couch with a control stick and a few buttons, we'd have consoles. PC gamers are used to having a hundred buttons on a keyboard, a mouse, and even extra peripherals that add even more buttons. Some of us might get a controller for certain games (Skyrim in particular has a godawful UI that wasn't adapted for a keyboard and mouse so you either need to get a controller or mod the UI), but for the most part, we want the added option of fifteen bajillion keys laid out across a monster control panel. From that perspective, paying $350 to be crippled is just backwards.

    The one place I do agree, though, is that the MOGA is no replacement. I know you can shrink that cost down (the cheapest Nexus 7 is $200, not $250, and a $100 Jambox isn't even remotely the cheapest audio solution you can get, assuming you're not just using headphones which seems most reasonable for playing on the couch), but even if that weren't true, the MOGA doesn't come close to approaching the feature set of the SHIELD. I think it's completely ridiculous to compare the two. Even if all other things were equal, NVIDIA has been spending years and millions of dollars getting developer support. MOGA can barely keep up with some of the most popular Android games.

    I think the SHIELD will have its audience. I really do. There are certainly going to be some people that love it. But this is not NVIDIA understanding its core demographic. It is, in fact, NVIDIA trying to sway its core demographic. NVIDIA is trying to convince PC gamers to be wooed by a more integrated model because the company knows that's where the money is. But this just isn't it. It's not a tablet and it's not a game console. It's something in the middle that tries to be both but ends up not being good at either.

    • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera

      Amen.

      • Himmat Singh

        Amen ^ 2

    • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

      Word.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        s.

        • invinciblegod

          I have no idea what this means.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Words.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      Totally agree with you Eric on those points.

      Unless the Android gaming here is cream of the crop and can't be emulated easily at a cheaper price, I have little use for this device ultimately. Both my gaming computers using ATI graphics cards, which was an instant (but understandable) middle finger to me because I can't do all the streaming stuff that the marketing department boast about so much unless I forked out money for another GPU which is pointless when I am happy with my current setup.

      The device looks bulky and heavy because it's a controller with extra inards and a flippable screen, so it's not as portable either because while it less long and wide, it has larger depth than say a Nexus 7 and it's almost twice as heavy.

      I'm keeping an eye on this device, but I can't see it being any better than own separately; a great PC, a good portable games console like the 3DS or Vita, a great smartphone (Android, of course), a great tablet and a extra controller.

    • Sootie

      Maybe your significant other has the exact same taste in TV as you but for me there is massive appeal about being able to stay in the same room where I can still talk to my girl and not have to watch the rubbish she does on tv.

      I would however like it much better if the tablet part was removable (and bigger)

    • mikeym0p

      I like both of your views on the topic. You implied Shield can only be played on the couch.
      I think this device will truly shine when the implementation from PC, to the Network, to the handheld get fully ironed out and a passable 30fps with <100ms latency can be achieved outside of the house.
      With HDMI out the device can easily make lan parties easier. I dont see why they didn't put a microUSB port on the back so the user can attach a mouse and keyboard Then the device would be able to stream your system for more competitive gaming or LANs, and you could use the controller to game on the go.

  • misterE33

    i haven't seen anybody else mention it -- but this is a strange post. is this an nvidia paid advertisement or something? it comes off as overly defensive of nvidia and the shield, and seems either too personal to the author, or like he/she is being compensated to stand up for this product.

    i'll admit that i want to like the shield, but i think it's still a hard sell. in any case, why do you care so much?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Please stop insisting that because someone disagrees with you that they must be paid to have their opinion. Cameron's had this post brewing in him for a while and though I disagree with every point, it's not only incorrect but incredibly offensive to insist that NVIDIA paid for this post.

      Cameron has more integrity than just about anyone I know. Lay off.

      • misterE33

        dang man, no worries. nobody was "insisting" here, but i think the question should be asked. i see it was tagged under editorials, so that's fine.

        this whole comment section has apparently triggered emotional responses for everybody here.

        • invinciblegod

          I think you misunderstand something. Even insinuating it is usually an insult for writers, especially if unwarranted. It's almost as bad as if you are insinuating that he is racist, sexist, or a nazi. You are undermining his very credibility without needing to refer to his arguments. This causes other people to discount his opinion by saying they are bought without looking at the merits.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rafaelgaiarsa Rafael Gaiarsa

        To be fair this article *is* really confusing. I think you'll be really hard pressed to find anyone who agrees with this, even among your own staff.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          Maybe, but that's why it's an editorial. It's just my opinion, and honestly, I was just trying to show SHIELD from a different perspective. At this point the whole piece has become a beast that I never intended, as the original intention was basically "hey guys, the hardware packed into this is actually a good deal for $350" not "this is why you should buy SHIELD."

          • GraveUypo

            i don't know why people have so much trouble with contrasting opinions. is it so hard to say "well, i disagree" and post why if one cares enough? it's pretty stupid to criticize the author's *opinion* on a freaking editorial post, which clearly states it's a personal opinion on the very title.

            that said, i kinda agree with you. the price is very good for the punch it packs. i only "kinda" agree with you because well, android pretty much has no games and the streaming part isn't anything new or exclusive.

  • Cuvis

    Here's the thing: it's not a new kind of product. It's a portable game console. Sure, it has Android, but that's a dubious selling point for a lot of people. And sure, it has the PC streaming, but most people, even most gamers, hell, even most PC gamers, don't have the gear to make that work. At its core, Shield is a handheld game console, and we've just seen not one, but two entries in this field struggle to find an audience with price points a full hundred dollars less than Shield's. Yes, yes, I know, it has all this tech in it so it's really a bargain. How well did that argument work for the PS3?

    • primalxconvoy

      Agreed. If I wanted another brick in my bag, I'd wipe the dust 9ff of my psp and use that.

      The reason the psv died is the same reason this will die.

      Granted, the shieldis more open than psv and as such can offer more functions and thus value for money than the psv, but it's still another brick.

      I want gaming on my phone.

  • AlcatrazKing

    Pricing is good, but it needs more gigs. 16gb for tegra4 is nothing, tegra games are becoming bigger and bigger. And considering it is focused at gamers, that 16gb will ge gone in no time.

    • Himmat Singh

      I agree. Most high end games are hitting 1GB easily, with some over 2GB and the most I've seen is 3.5GB. Tegra 4 games by logic should be bigger than the current high average cause they're gonna be more power-packed graphics wise.

      I have a 32GB Tegra 3 tab, and I have to frequently delete games. I know they say there's MicroSD slots, but it's inconvenient to the end-user and not games allow you to save to SD card.

  • wardexter85

    people talking about alternatives on android market where they can stream PC games to their phones or tablets are missing the big picture. The tech used in shield is different from the conventional remote desktop thing. The kepler GPU's in the PC encode the game to h.264 and stream it over the network to shield. The control inputs from shield are transmitted over to the PC. So basically what you are seeing is the video on the shield and not the actual graphics. But all this is happening so fast that the user does not know at all. It is remarkable how they were able to achieve such low latency. If i remember correctly, during CES the nvidia ceo also showed much more capabilities of the shield. Like streaming the PC games onto your television using using the shield. Hoping all these features come in the final release.

    First they release kepler graphics cards, then announce new software features like new AA and Vsync methods for games, then release a kick ass software for gamers called geforce experience and now this portable gaming device. I like how they are combining all their products to create the best possible experience for gamers.

    • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera

      2 things to clarify: there are 2 technologies we're talking about

      1- nVidia Grid (big customers like Gaikai, OnLive etc) that feature was demonstrated on the LG smart TV and "should" work over 3G too (but Shield doesn't have it). nVidia will sell the workstation equipped with it, not providing the service directly. In this case (if it will be reliable), you can use everywhere, both over 3G or WiFi (p.e. to stream the game on the TV at friend's home with an HDMI cable).

      2- GeForce Experience (individual customers with at least a GTX650 in their desktop).
      On this last category what's the point in playing a game streaming from my PC to see it again on a TV while I can do a WiDi, Miracast or simply connect an HDMI cable on the TV directly from the PC? However Splashtop is already using the h.264 compression (you can also decompress the APK to check several files). The only difference between the devices talking about performance can be achieved using a different wireless speed (but wifi is heavily environment-dependant) or by a faster/efficient compression/decompression tasks to reduce the bandwidth needed and that could be achieved by the new VP9 presented on Google I/O last week with half the bandwidth for the same visual result (consider that already splashtop THD dedicates one core specifically to do decompression tasks). Go to check the presentation of Splashtop on CES'11 and see who was promoting their startup company, it's always nVidia, saying the same things they said Shield will be able to do :) The technology behind the streaming of nVidia Shield is an "evolved" version of splashtop THD, and that's already confirmed by nVidia and splashtop itself. Considering the poor support they're currently providing on the THD app, with several breaking bugs still present after YEARS, don't expect miracles in their new product.

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    It's like a smartphone without the phone, or without the "smart." It's a bulky, single-purpose device. You'd be better off with a Playstation Vita. Justify it however you want, but a Jambox's audio can be replicated with a $5 set of earbuds, too. It's not like you need to be wireless, the thing your holding and looking at is right in your hand anyway. I like my tablet WITHOUT all the superflous crap hooked onto it, thanks very much.

    Now when this thing flops and goes on sale for about a hundred dollars, I might be interested ....

    • didibus

      Unless they make it into a fully portable handheld. It's not quite obvious what Nvidia is planning with this, but what if it has a secret agenda of actually competing against the Vita and DS. Honestly, I think that would be smart of them. They are making a device that will sell for 350$, that has a nice big screen and full on controller, with more powerful interns than a Vita (at least I believe so).

      I see it as a way to bring a PC into the portable gaming realm. In a way, you can say that portable gaming has always been a console experience. A closed system, that can not do anything else but game. This is nvidia trying to release a portable PC, so that you can game on a "PC" on the go.

      And hopefully, that's Nvidia's idea of it. So, just like a portable gaming device, I hope they plan on actually bringing games to it. Good games, that will make people want to buy a shield.

      Personally, if Shield gets good games, games that would have normally released on the Vita and DS, and I was looking to buy a portable gaming system, I would get Shield over the Vita or DS. It just has more for the money.

      Let me put it more simply. If the Shield was sony's next iteration of the PSP, I would be all over it, and I would say that Sony did the smartest thing by making it Android. The only question is, is Nvidia actually entering the portable gaming race, and will be bringing quality games to the Shield, or is it just making an android tablet with a controller, and does not plan on bringing any content to it other than what is being made by the Android community.

  • GraveUypo

    "Of course, let's not forget about Shield's standout feature: PC Streaming. This is a killer option for hardcore PC gamers – with a GTX 650 or higher NVIDIA graphics card, any Steam title with controller support will be able to stream from PC to SHIELD over Wi-Fi for away-from-keyboard gaming. This feature is absolutely the first of its kind."

    should i upload a video of me playing sonic generations and skyrim on my galaxy s3 with my xbox360 controller mounted on it while laying on a hammock outside in the shade of a tree? because that's a thing.

    • Thw0rted

      Would you mind sharing how you put your setup together?

      • GraveUypo

        i made a dock for the controllers (works with sixaxis too), then i use one of many streaming apps to stream. i never had much use for this to be honest, so i just leave the controllers connected directly to the pc. works the same anyway. you can control the pc with either the touchscreen or via gamepad if you have xpadder installed (a very useful software i always leave running on my pc since i've discovered it 5 or 6 years ago)

        here's a crappy pic i've just taken.

        • perfectlyreasonabletoo

          "This feature is absolutely the first of its kind without looking ridiculous."

          Fixed

      • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera

        If you don't mind it isn't Sonic but BF3, that's a small video i made on October showing how the framerate fluctuates between the source (FPS on the right) and the stream (on the left) and I was playing with a small usb keyboard :)
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/g5awhmse06eyre0/Video%2010-01-13%2000%2007%2038.mov

    • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera
  • Steve Green

    Take it out of your bag? But what about those of us like say the Men who do not carry purses?
    How big a pockets will I need to carry this around?
    This thing looks to small to be a decent console and too large to be a portable.

  • Sandy McArthur

    Anyone know if Shield can double as a game controller for your PC? I mean are there plans to support acting like a gamepad and touchpad for Steam Big Picture mode?

    • http://tavera.it/ Simone Tavera

      If it's really open as nVidia stated, I think that if not natively, the community will bring this option for sure!

  • gacl

    The hardware is an amazing value. The weak spot is Android's game library. The Vita has weaker RAM/GPU specs, but has far better games. The PC remote feature doesn't interest me at all. If I could play Dark Souls on this (without a PC), I would buy it in a heart beat Also, there is a vocal crowd that complains about price on absolutely everything. If it costs more than $1, people will complain about it.

  • Guest

    I totally agree with this article, although not all the points. I don't think people are realizing how much R&D and over head costs that are included in this price tag. If you don't like the price then skip the device because it wasn't made for you. It was made for someone else who is willing to buy it.

    I kinda laugh to myself because I can see most people who are complaining about the price are also the ones that, when selling their used electronics try to make a profit from it by selling it way above it's value.

  • Cherokee4Life

    I appreciate the article and like your points, albeit I don't agree with all of them. I wouldn't compare this to a tablet. I get what your saying but its a stretch.

    In my eyes this is how I see it. Shield is to an Android phone as a iPod Touch is to an iPhone. but with built in joysticks. Its a Note 3 (next gen) with built in handles and joysticks.

    If I was a teenager I would buy this in a heart beat. But for the people who have a Android phone and 10" Android Tablet there is no appeal or point to this. UNLESS you are a hardcore gamer that is.

    If this came out a year ago with Transformer Infinity specs it might have done a whole lot better i think.

    • primalxconvoy

      I love hardware controller gaming. I love to play games on my mobile. I haven't got a tablet.

      I'm not interested in this product.

      It's clunky, overpriced and doesn't work with anything I've already got.

      Wake me up when they start making phones with a show out hardware controller (like an xperia play or Bladepad).

  • Alan Shearer

    Good solid points and right on the money. The only drawback I see to the shield, the requirement for an nvidia graphic card for the streaming. What about those with other cards? doh! (yea I know, nvidia product, nvidia cards support money blah blah blah).

    What if sony or some other company were to release an xperia play 2 with nvidia tegra 4 specs?

  • Brett Livingston

    Is the shield WiFi-AC compatible?

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      -_-

      WiFi-AC... for a device whose storage would be completely filled by less than a minute of transfer at WiFi-AC speed... assuming that its internal storage wouldn't be the limiting factor even on WiFi-N (spoiler: it would be)

      • Brett Livingston

        Fair point...I think? You mean filling the RAM capacity? as storage capacity won't matter (I think) when streaming games. I know theoretical AC transfer speeds are insane but how fast have we actually gotten one to go?

  • primalxconvoy

    It's not a tablet. I couldn't take a Shield to work and show my boss my latest lesson plans on that.

    In other news, the Bladepad is now ready to order for ios devices. Hopefully, the Android version won't be too far behind!

  • S. Ali

    No games.

  • r00t4rd3d

    A Sero 7 and a regular Moga, not the pro, and you could play any games on the Play Store for $130.

    I was happy when I got the pre-order email till I seen the price and now Ive forgotten about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/krzysztof.gicala Krzysztof Gicala

    I still think it's pointless because we already have ps vita which you can get second hand for £100 and it will have better looking, bigger games even if the shield has better hardware. When it comes to games I think that android is still bahind some psp games. Mobile games will always be bahind dedicated console games. yeah there will be few games on the shield that will be pretty good but thats about it, just like with xperia play.

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      Yeah, Vita's game is decent.

  • Rauel Crespo

    Dude, I was expecting to pay $500-$600 for Shield, but at $350 it's a no-brainer...maybe it's because I actually played with one at nVidia's booth at PAX East. AssCreed3 and NFS:MW ran incredibly well and fluidly. I'm looking forward to pairing this with my GTX660 powered media PC and bring my game to the toilet when I have to use it...It kinda makes my Media PC a sort of Super Wii-U!! Yeah, I don't think this is overpriced at all. My only complaint is that it "only" has a 720p screen...after the 1080p screen on my HTC One, I'm spoiled. But I don't really care that much...pre-ordered!

  • JonJJon

    I enjoy my Vita, and prefer it over the idea of this.

  • youareme7

    What I want is the rumored new nexus 7 and a controller snap-around kinda like the archos gamepad. Throw some batteries in the handles and bam there you go. If the speakers were better and front facing that would solve most of my android gaming problems and it would be more useful than a shield, minus the nifty steam streaming. I'll admit to being intrigued by that but i'm not getting a new video card until next year with the new nvidia chips.

  • monstercameron

    this...post...is...dumb!

  • Seth Forbus

    As a note ll , transformer infinity, playstation vita, and 3DS owner, I'm still extremely excited for the shield I pre-ordered. I will stream games from my custom built computer, but above all else I'm gonna use this as an emulation beast. Android has TONS of emulators available with support for physical controls. You have to hack moga drivers to work with certain games and emulator apps. The shield works with anything that supports hardware controls.

    • Elronza Williams Jr.

      Iis only 1080phare your same view point of the awesome nvidia shield. Adding its TV output with emulators and you have the ultimate gaming console and it is portable. Anyone that is against the shield vs the PS Vita is a moron! I own a 3g ps vita and I can tell you that the Shield is better. Hell the shield is better than both the xbox1 and the ps4! As their top video output is only 1080p where's the shield does 4000k!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Markert/100001113752823 Richard Markert

    I don't think it's overpriced, in fact I think it's a decent price for something that's going to be great at playing games, but clunky at best for anything else.

    What I DO think is that it's more nVidia bullshit. I with they'd take their Tegra-enhanced, THD garbage and burn in hell. This is the same crap they pull on the PC platform. They're lining developer's pockets, so they can line their own, at the expense of gamers. It's crap and needs to stop.

  • Vinnie

    Finally someone with my same thoughts.

  • Paperninja

    A lot of you guys are missing one really important fact about this device that makes it such a great deal for any true gaming historian. It is powerful enough to emulate the following consoles damn near perfectly - SNES, GBA, Arcade, PSX, N64, DS, and PSP. The last two emulators are new additions, but they are actually at about 95% compatibility already and with a device this powerful, you will not sacrifice any quality. Truthfully, all the above emulators actually make any old game look better. The PSP emulator will run games non-buffered with OpenGL rendering thus making the games look about 5x better than they did on the crappy psp screen. The DS games have a decent linear filter that you can apply. PSX and N64 titles look leaps and bound better than their original console counterparts. Installing and seeing firsthand the power that this device handles the psp emulator with, I wouldn't be too shocked to see PS2 and Wii emulator at some point as well. Oh, and there are also some amazing ports of Quake I, Quake 2, Quake 3, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Doom III. I've been playing Doom III and I have to say it is probably the best looking game I have ever seen on a portable device; and this powerhouse of a device plays it with no problems. I can not say that about any other device on the market. Did I mention for any software listed above the controller support is flawless? According to 3dmark mobile, this is as good as it gets for mobile power and it's a steal at 300 dollars.

    For doubters, search the android market for the following - Snes9x EX+, Mupen64 Plus, ePSXe, DraStic, PPSSPP, QI4A, QII4A, QIII4A, RTCW4A, DIII4A.

    The one thing I love about android devices verses apple is that they can be as powerful as the user has knowledge to make them so.