Nvidia’s decision to launch an Android console based on its new Tegra 4 SoC came as a surprise. Many punters simply don’t see a market for such a device, especially priced at $349. We’re sceptics too, but the decision might make more sense a couple of years from now.
Speaking at an investor event, Nvidia VP of investor relations Rob Csongor said the development of Shield cost the company around $10 million, which doesn’t sound like much. He also pointed out that Nvidia leverages its GPU R&D in the mobile SoC space, and Shield might just be taking it a step further. If it doesn’t cost much to develop, it is worth a try – at least that’s what Nvidia thinks.
Csongor noted that games account for 76 percent of Google Play revenue and two thirds of the time spent on tablets involves gaming.
“The Android market is roughly 600 million gamers, any game and in addition to that you can have physical controls and you can project this and play it on your TVs, the second thing you can do it is you can stream from your PC,” he said. “The PC gaming market is 100 million users. So between those two, we believe this is something that we have an opportunity... We haven’t given any kind of guidance or revenue expectations for Shield, we just simply wanted to build this device and it leverages a lot of the work that we’re already doing.”
In other words Nvidia sees plenty of potential in Android gaming, but it has no idea how Shield will actually do once it hits retail. Since it didn’t cost much to develop, Nvidia gave it a go.
The approach makes sense in the long run, as Android gaming matures and consumers shift to faster devices with more eye candy potential. Streaming is another factor that might make Android consoles and tablets more appealing to true gamers, but it is still in its infancy. In other words, the potential is there, but it might be a bit too early to tap it - and we're not convinced now is the right time.
You can check out the full transcript at Seeking Alpha.