After a last-minute delay for NVIDIA's risky SHIELD gaming device, the company has just sent out an email to those who pre-ordered it. The delayed launch date is next Wednesday, July 31st, just barely making the company's revised commitment to a July launch. Pre-order hardware will be shipped out to customers on Wednesday, and NVIDIA's retail partners will have at least some units that day as well, at the new $299 price tag.
NVIDIA doesn't want to take any chances with its first portable gaming product. After receiving feedback from prospective customers when the initial $349 price for SHIELD was revealed, the MSRP has been lowered to $299 - a big deal for cash-scrapped gamers and hardware junkies alike. Those who have already pre-ordered the hardware will be charged the new price (with whatever funding source they specified) when it ships. NVIDIA has also officially set next Thursday, June 27th as the launch date for SHIELD.
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.
The time has come, ladies and gents – NVIDIA's Project SHIELD (henceforth known only as SHIELD) is ready for pre-order for users who previously signed up to receive SHIELD updates via email. Everyone else will have to wait until May 20th to secure their own directly from NVIDIA or from NewEgg, Gamestop, Micro Center, or Canada Computers, which teaches us one thing: always sign up to be notified of device updates.
Just in case you slept through the first week of January, take a peek back at our coverage of Project Shield, NVIDIA's attempt to inject the Android gaming market with a Tegra 4-powered supersoldier serum. There's still no word on exactly when shield will hit the market, but the boys in green want to make sure it stays in your mind. To that end, they've just posted a short run-down of a year's worth of Shield development on their blog, including the frantic construction of show-ready units less than two weeks before NVIDIA's CES presentation.
Another CES has passed, and with it comes clearer understanding of what's on the tech product horizon in the coming year. If I were to sum it up in a simple list? Touchscreens, 4K, and washing machines.
And that's the reason I stand by the proposition that this year's show wasn't very good. But, let's save that for the end. CES is still the most important tech show in the world, it's still massive, and there's still a metric crapton of stuff unveiled at it every year.
Like a lot of you, I watched NVIDIA's press conference with my jaw firmly on the floor when Project Shield was unveiled. It's a true Android gaming portable, built from the ground up to make a great gaming experience - not a phone or a tablet that also plays games, with varying degrees of efficiency, like Sony's now outdated Xperia Play or Archos' Gamepad. And it's made by NVIDIA, the company with the most to gain by expanding the platform's gaming horizons.
NVIDIA's jaw-dropping Tegra 4 and Project Shield demos showed off a lot of impressive hardware, but any gamer will tell you: it's all about the games themselves. To that end, they've revealed a few of the games currently in development and set to take advantage of both the Tegra 4 and Shield's console-style controls. We've already seen Madfinger's Dead Trigger 2, but on the shiny new Shield website, there are brief glimpses of other titles.
If you've been following PC gaming, you know that Valve has big plans for its Steam platform. NVIDIA wants to leverage the new "Big Picture" mode (a TV user interface, designed to make a gaming PC work more like a game console) with the brand-spanking new Project
Thor Shield mobile gaming device. At the CES press conference, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed off the Shield Hardware streaming live PC games from a local machine running a high-end GTX 680 graphics card.
After about 45 minutes of casual sexism and awkward pauses, NVIDIA's Jen-Hsun Huang dropped the bomb. Project Shield is a handheld gaming console running pure, unmodified Android (Jelly Bean). At its core is the newly-announced Tegra 4 ARM chip, but that's not all.
Update: Official video of Project Shield:
The device looks like a standard wireless controller with a flip-up screen. Around the back are I/O ports, and there's no proprietary nonsense here.