Computer Graphics World

March/April 2013

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n n n n Gaming units, not to mention the marketing costs. However, Nvidia already has all those parts in place and has had them for a while. Take note – Nvidia sells mid-range Nvidiabranded AIBs in the retail channels like Best Buy. It sells end-user consumer products, like 3D Vision, all sorts of paraphernalia, like caps, T-shirts, and jackets, and even remarkets other companies' products, like Jambox and FinePix cameras. As for support, it has had a support team almost since day one – ever hear of thing called a driver? Adventurer or Aggregator? Nvidia's concept of the Grid: A central green cloud communicating with a range of devices. 1280x720 screen. And whereas Haung says Project Shield will be "part of your collection of Android devices," a lightweight controller that your phone can snap into might be a better choice. Moreover, smartphones can drive an HDTV, too. Disruptive to Nvidia's Business? By introducing Project Shield, Nvidia has put itself in competition with its customers. Nvidia would argue that there is nothing quite like Project Shield; it's unlikely that Nvidia's customers will see it that way. Sony, one of those customers, will certainly see the competition for console and handheld players. Nvidia might argue that Sony only offers games for Sony handhelds and consoles, whereas Project Shield is an Android game player. Therefore, Project Shield only enhances the competition to Sony from Android. In addition, Lenovo, one of Nvidia's partners, has certainly noticed Project Shield. Peter Hortensius, president of Lenovo's product group, told CNET, "I don't think it should surprise anybody that people are trying things.... If [Nvidia] gets a lot of success and wants to move into our space, OK, we'll compete with them. But people look at being in the device business, and there's a lot more to this business than they realize. We'll see how many of them are still around doing that in a few years." That sounds like throwing down the gauntlet to me. It also sounds like Lenovo may have a phone controller of its own in the works. It also is surprising to hear that Nvidia did not pre-brief Hortensius on Project Shield. I would have imagined Nvidia showed, if not the device, the plans for it to all its partners, 22 looking for someone to build and market it, if nothing else. One Tiny Thin Mint? Project Shield couldn't be done by a start-up, no matter how well funded. An existing consumer supplier like HP or Microsoft probably can't do it, either. Nvidia has pulled together all the stuff it has done elsewhere in the company and brought those technologies, infrastructure, and talents to make Project Shield. Once the company decided to do it, it didn't take very long to produce it. Nvidia's focus with Project Shield is raising the bar for native Android gaming, and allowing PC gamers to extend their gaming experience to anywhere in their house. Project Shield, Nvidia emphasizes, is a "stock Android [device]," with access to all the Google apps and ecosystem. Why is this important? The company surveyed its customers and found that 82 percent of them play games on multiple platforms. In an old (1983) movie, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, a large diner, Mr. Creosote, explodes after eating a tiny thin mint. Nvidia may think Project Shield is such a small device in price and size that it would not bother its partners. Yet, it may be more explosive than Nvidia thinks. It is also surprising that loyal partner Asus would not have taken on such a product. The fact is none of Nvidia's partners have Estimate of Nvidia's Shield costs the reach into the technology – and the gamer Controller assembly, speakers, and mic $15 ecosystem – that Nvidia Hi-res 5.4-inch LCD panel $50 does. Remember, Nvidia Touch screen $18 got started serving the Circuit board, semis, batteries, charger $90 gamer community, and although it has expanded Total$173 and brought out lots of Gross Profit $80 other products, it has Retail price $253 never lost its relationship to the gamer market. In fact, the game market is the second-highest "Gamers" are called that because they like to play games. And they will play games on various derevenue producer for the company. vices, in various situations (home, on a bus, in a The Other Stuff waiting room, and so forth). Just as we use differIf you're new to Nvidia and think of it as being ent devices for listening to music or watching a a semiconductor supplier, an end-user prod- video depending where we are, game playing reuct like Project Shield may seem like a strange, quires (needs) devices suited to the environment distractive, and maybe even dangerous prod- the users find themselves in. n uct diversion. If Nvidia were only a semiconductor supplier, it would be strange, and Jon Peddie is president of Jon Peddie Research, a Tiburon, dangerous. For one thing, you need a serious CA-based consultancy specializing in graphics and multidedicated support team for end-user devices to media that also publishes JPR's "TechWatch." He can be take calls, offer help, receive, repair, and return reached at March/April 2013 CGW0313-Game Devicespfin.indd 22 3/14/13 3:04 PM

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