Last month, NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) started taking pre-orders at $349 for its first handheld gaming device, NVIDIA Shield.
Naturally, that number upset more than a few people and drew skeptical reactions. Remember, Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) , for one, long struggled to sell its own Playstation Vita handheld until it finally dropped the price by $100 to $249.
Besides, the mobile gaming market is also currently being upended by smartphones and tablets, which are arguably the biggest reason Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) had such a hard time selling its Vita in the first place. (Incidentally, that’s something at least one fellow Fool saw coming long before he Vita was even released.)
Of course, unlike Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE), NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) doesn’t exactly have the widely favored Playstation 4 to fall back on, so many couldn’t help but wonder why NVIDIA even entered the crowded handheld space to begin with.
Sure, the Tegra 4-powered Shield runs on Android, and its specs are impressive in their own right. What’s more, hardcore gamers love the that fact Shield not only includes a comfortable gaming controller built in, but also enables them to stream high-powered games from their PCs via Wi-Fi, and even to their big-screen TVs.
In fact, that’s why Shield has already raked in dozens of awards, including “Best of Show” at this year’s CES, Computex, and E3.
One final touch
Even so, many folks still couldn’t seem to get past the sticker shock. In an official company blog post published on Thursday, NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)’s Jason Paul acknowledged, “We’ve heard from thousands of gamers that if the price was $299, we’d have a home run.”
“So,” Hall went on, “we’re changing the price of Shield to $299.”
As it stands, Shield won’t actually be available for another week but, for those who’ve already pre-ordered the system, they’ll be charged the new, lower price when it ships.
Finally, Hall summed up the post by saying NVIDIA simply wants “to get Shield into the hands of as many gamers as possible […] because we think they’ll have the same reaction to it as thousands of gamers already have: joy.”
The elephant in the room
Unfortunately, this absolutely begs one awkward question: With a week to go until Shield’s official release, is this a sign of desperation from NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)?
After all, so far the company has remained mum on actual sales numbers for Shield, so you can’t help but wonder whether this move was a reaction to less-than-satisfactory pre-order results.