Nvidia’s Project Shield to not be sold at a loss, aka not cheap

by: AdrianJanuary 8, 2013


Although technically CES 2013 should only get underway today, many of the big players involved in tech chose to throw their new guns into battle early. No shockers there, but very few would have predicted Nvidia to be the shiniest star of the trade show’s debut.

Still, you can’t deny Project Shield is the biggest and most surprising bomb dropped on the Vegas stage so far for reasons we’ve already detailed. It’s obvious the handheld innovates more than anything we’ve seen in the Android universe in a long time, but even with an awesome spec sheet and an excellent functionality-portability combo, it’s a little too early to call this one a commercial hit.

And that’s due to the two biggest mysteries surrounding Shield – the ETA and pricing. Nvidia has only pinpointed the release timeframe for Q2 2013, which means the console’s most dangerous opponent OUYA will get an important head start and have enough time to impress gamers.

Meanwhile, Nvidia was completely hush-hush on the gizmo’s expected price tag during the Vegas press conference, which is never a good sign. And if you needed additional proof, here’s what the company’s bosses had to say earlier today in a post on Nvidia’s blog:

“It (e.d.: Project Shield) expresses our philosophy that gaming should be based on open platforms, where games can be enjoyed in a range of models – from free-to-play up to premium, blockbuster titles. The business model that stems from this means we’ll make our money by selling the device to gamers. (…) This differs from the razors-and-razor blades approach, which isn’t just used by Gillette and Schick. Printer companies use it, as well, making money from highly profitable ink. So do game-console companies, who primarily make their profit from premium games. This time-honored approach isn’t the one we’re taking with Project Shield.”


So, besides the history lesson (Econ 101, but still), what can we make of this statement? Easy – Nvidia’s Project Shield (or whatever it’ll be called) will not be sold at a loss. The Android console should be considerably more expensive than Nintendo’s 3DS or the PlayStation Vita, two devices that profit from the “time-honored” business model started by Gillette.

These are sold by their manufacturers at an initial loss (or at least not for a big profit), only to then generate bundles of dough out of “premium games”.

Sounds honorable and all for Nvidia to take this apparent high road and be completely frank about that, but will regular Joes with a passion for gaming understand what the Santa Clara-based company is trying to do? And most importantly, what exactly will “make our money by selling the device to gamers” mean? Selling the Shield for $300? $400? $500? We don’t know yet, but we promise to let you know once we hear something official on the matter. Keep in touch.

  • califor

    good reasoning.
    my guess is, as Tegra 4 device it might be sold at $499.

    as for me I’d better wait till the price drop within $300-$400 price tag. not in rush anyway. till then I can get a wii u.. :)

  • Jon E

    I think it will be a flop. price too high, games too limited and so much competition out there. not to mention the fact that it looks so damn awful

    • Kassim

      Thought I was the only one!

      Looking at the DS, PlayStation and other product lines though, it’s safe to say that we’ll see a design metamorphosis soon enough…although that could take 2-3 years (if it was any manner of successful in the first place).

    • Zachary Carter

      id buy it alone for pc streaming.having android market games is huge plus too

  • and that’s the end of that. so much for a cool device. I guess I’ll just wait for the next Nexus with the new tegra 4. Looks like we have another NeoGeo or 3DO.

  • Zachary Carter

    they need to sell it for 200 or less

  • spencer L

    i would buy it. looks like a great device but seem like it would be a little to pricy compared to the other portable console like the PS vita for 250 and it can stream ps3 games so..idk

  • C W

    Nvidia better get a clue real quick fast and in a hurry.
    They needed to have taken meticulous notes from Sony on how NOT to launch a successful handheld. The Vita for all of it’s fantastic hardware and name recognition for making handheld and console gaming devices, was a glorious FLOP. Period.
    This point aint even up for debate. Any google search on the numbers confirms this fact.

    If Nvidia, who has zero to no name recognition for making HANDHELD gaming devices thinks that it can just waltz into the market and dominate because they think they have already won the hardware spec race, they are going to be in for a sad and rude reality.

    The reality is……wait for it…….
    NOBODY IS GOING TO PAY $300-$400 for a handheld TOY.
    That’s precisely what the Project Shield is.
    The economy being what it is, there is no justification or even real need to pay that kind of premium when the money can buy a more versatile and capable iOS device or simply a home console.

    Things Nvidia must consider for success:

    1. Price. Price. Price. (did I say price already?) just checking.

    2. Mobility (It’s not a mobile device if I need to be HOME to use most of it’s main features!…erm duh.)

    3. 3rd Party and very strong 1st party software support. (this is not up for compromise. Absolutely mandatory.)

    4. Proper marketing strategy. (please no ads about squirrels, racism, stupid jargons that have nothing to do with gaming, etc. Concentrate on the games!)

    5. Price point……no wait….did I….ok.

    6. Beg, borrow, or buy the Archos solution for mapping touchscreen functions to the hardware. Archos has a new $169 device being released that has all the trimmings of an android device along with buttons, joysticks, etc. and a brilliant way to map screen swipes to the hardware. Pure win.

    Last but not least,
    Make sure that your new shiny handheld launches at a realistic and reasonable price point. Ooops, I did it again…

    All that being said, this will be a Day 1 purchase for me.
    But, not at a LOSS to MY wallet.

  • LOL