Eric Johnson

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Viral Video: $300 Game Console Blown Up in Fireworks “Teardown” … And Then Again, in Slow Motion

It may be a blatant stab at viral video advertising, but I couldn’t help but go “ooh” when I saw this clip released by Nvidia on Thursday. To commemorate roughly one month since the launch of its Nvidia Shield, the handheld gaming and game-streaming device, the company decided to blow it up. In slow motion:

The video doesn’t have the polish of, say, YouTube’s The Slow Mo Guys, after whom the geek-bro intro seems to be patterned. But it’s a cute and unconventional reminder that the Shield exists (you could be forgiven for forgetting that fact).

Android-based gaming devices like the Shield and the Ouya are in vogue this year, with still more “microconsoles” on the way like the GameStick, MOJO, GamePop and GamePop Mini. And there’s the Android tablet-to-console hybrid product Green Throttle, which has been out since March. Reception of the Shield, Ouya and Green Throttle has been mixed, though, for a variety of reasons.

One common complaint across the devices (as noted in AllThingsD’s reviews of each) is with the shortage of high-quality content at launch to make the devices better buys than, say, a similarly priced Android phone or tablet that can play thousands of games.

This is especially true for the Shield, which retails for a whopping $300, although most of that value arguably comes from the device’s ability to stream certain games from a PC to the device. Streaming is currently in beta, and only works with souped-up PCs running the right Nvidia chips on the same Wi-Fi network as the Shield. For the serious gamer with the perfect rig — a niche but not inconsequential market — that’s a neat trick.

Everyone else, though, can at least enjoy the fireworks.

(For what it’s worth, Nvidia execs claim sales are “great,” and that as of mid-August they had sold every unit they shipped. We don’t know how many units they shipped, though, and the company did not respond to a request for comment on sales earlier in the week).

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus