Nvidia’s Shield Android console drops to $299, coming June 27

In an effort to make its Android-based Shield portable video game system more palatable to gamers’ wallets, Nvidia announced today that it’s dropping the device’s price by $50 to $299.

Additionally, Nvidia announced that Shield will officially launch in just one week on June 27. The company previously said that it would launch in late June.

“We’ve heard from thousands of gamers that if the price was $299, we’d have a home run,” wrote Nvidia project manager Jason Paul in a blog post today.

The price drop isn’t too surprising: With the next-generation video games consoles like the PlayStation 4 launching at $400 and the Xbox One at $500, the Shield’s $349 price would have even been more difficult to swallow. Now Nvidia can position the Shield as a better value for gamers. The Shield can play Android games on its own as well as stream games from PCs equipped with Nvidia’s recent lineup of video cards. It sports a 5-inch screen as well as an HDMI port so you can game on your TV.

Paul also noted that Nvidia has tweaked Shield in other ways — what the buttons feel like when you press down, how the thumb sticks flick — based on fan and press reactions. In a hands-on with the Shield during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi found a lot to like about it (see video below).

I also had a chance to test out the Shield during the Google I/O developer conference last month, and I found that it was a lot like using an Xbox 360 console controller to play something on a handheld-sized screen like the PlayStation Vita’s. Nvidia spokespeople pointed out that the Shield model I was testing was a slightly more refined version from what we saw previously at CES — though it still felt a bit heavy, and the flimsy hinge on the flip-out screen felt surprisingly weak for such an expensive product (I was told the hinge will be better by the time it ships).

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