Can NVIDIA's SHIELD Tablet Really Be the Next Big Thing in Gaming?

NVIDIA's new SHIELD devices are a first step in a longer-term process.

Jul 28, 2014 at 8:00PM

NVIDIA stock, Google stock

NVIDIA just expanded its SHIELD product lineup with a new tablet and gaming controller, Credit: NVIDIA

"We all own tablets. But we all wish we could do more with them."

So began NVIDIA Corporation's (NASDAQ:NVDA) initial introduction to its new Android-based SHIELD tablet last week. Titled "Gamers Deserve a Tablet That Can Do More," the post ultimately makes no secret of NVIDIA's ambitions to change mobile gaming for the better.

It's got the specs to do so: The SHIELD tablet notably features an 8-inch full HD display, front-facing speakers, NVIDIA's mobile powerhouse processor in the 192 Kepler-core K1 GPU and a 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU with 2GB RAM -- a big step up from the Tegra 4-powered Note 7, which I recently noted NVIDIA was already pushing hard to demonstrate to gamers that tablets can offer so much more than we think. And it's reasonably priced, too, with the 16GB and 32GB versions retailing for $299 and $399, respectively.

In addition, rather than relying on third-party controllers as it previously had with the Note 7, NVIDIA also simultaneously introduced its own SHIELD wireless controller as an optional $59 accessory -- something crucial for any hardcore gamer to take the tablet seriously. And similar to the SHIELD portable handheld console NVIDIA launched around this time last year -- which NVIDIA still insists it will continue to support and develop from here -- the SHIELD tablet will not only serve as a solid portable Android gaming platform, but also supports low-latency streaming of your favorite titles directly from your gaming PC to the tablet or an HD TV.

Here's NVIDIA's real end-game
That brings me to a curious follow-up blog post from Jeff Fisher, senior VP of NVIDIA's PC business, which aims to explain exactly why they launched the new devices.

NVIDIA stock, Google stock

Android already has more than 1 billion monthly active users, Credit: Author SS, Google I/O

As it stands, Fisher explains, Android gaming today sits pretty much right where PC gaming was around two decades ago: It's an open platform with an enormous user base -- more than one billion 30-day active users, in fact, as of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) I/O Conference last month.

"But," Fisher went on, and like the PC industry back then, "the underlying performance, software tools and resulting content have yet to be delivered."

Now, however, and thanks in no small part to NVIDIA's efforts over the years, the global PC gaming market is on track to exceed $25 billion this year.

So, can lightning strike twice? Actually, I think the shift is already well under way.

After all, as I noted only last month, games accounted for nearly 90% of Google Play's revenue in the first quarter, and Google Play Games growth accelerated to tack on 100 million new users accounts over the previous six months alone. What's more, Google management stated their company paid out four times as much money to developers in 2013 compared to 2012.

But NVIDIA, for its part, wants to specifically kick-start Android as a serious gamers' platform with its SHIELD devices. Over the long run, what better way to do so than by taking the necessary technology and cramming it into a tablet, which effectively sits at the center of the current Android revolution? Going forward, the capabilities of mobile devices -- both from a raw processing and power management standpoint -- will only continue to advance. And with it, so, too, will the quality and capabilities of gaming content and software accessible to the broader Android community.

Now don't get me wrong: This doesn't mean the SHIELD tablet needs to be a smashing success to prove its point. Rather, it simply needs to raise some eyebrows as a solid first step, and spur what NVIDIA clearly views as a multiyear journey.

Personally, from an investors' perspective, that kind of thinking is exactly what I love to see.

Risk-free for 30 days: The Motley Fool's flagship service
Tom and David Gardner founded The Motley Fool over 20 years ago with the goal of helping the world invest...better. Their flagship service, Stock Advisor, has helped thousands of investors take control of their financial lives and beat the market. Click here to sign up today.

Steve Symington owns shares of Nvidia. The Motley Fool recommends Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Nvidia. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers