Nvidia's Jason Paul said on Thursday that the upcoming Shield Android handheld console is getting a price reduction before it's even launched (opens in new tab): $299, down from the $349 price tag announced last month. He said the new price is in response to feedback the company has received from gamers and the press who have fondled the device since it was first introduced back at CES 2013 in January.
He also announced a solid release date: June 27. Previously the company merely said it would be available by the end of the month, and opened up pre-orders for those who wanted the device at launch. Customers who already paid up front will be charged the new price when the device finally ships next week.
"Feedback from gamers is why Shield’s triggers have the perfect throw length. Why Shield’s buttons have just the right amount of give. Why Shield’s thumb sticks are so satisfying to flick. Why playing games on Shield’s pure Android software feels so slick," said Paul.
It has been interesting to watch Shield mature over the last six months into the product that will wow Android gamers next week. It's interesting how the cloud streaming aspect works: it's as if the device is merely a wireless gamepad that's also receiving video. Move the PC's mouse, and the movement appears on both Shield and the PC's monitor. Move the shield controller, and you see the same results.
"We want to get Shield into the hands of as many gamers as possible," he said. "That’s because we think they’ll have the same reaction to it as thousands of gamers already have: joy."
Is $299 the right price? Shield is essentially a 5-inch 720p flip-up tablet crammed into a game controller sporting a Tegra 4 SoC, dual-band Wireless N connectivity, 16 GB of internal storage, 2 GB of RAM, Bluetooth 3.0, mini-HDMI output, integrated speakers and more. And unlike OUYA, it sports pure Android "Jelly Bean" and Google Play, meaning there's no walled garden with this Android console.