Graphics specialist NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), which dominates the market for graphics processors used in personal computers used for gaming, recently announced a product called the NVIDIA Titan Xp Collector's Edition. These cards are based on the same basic technology as the Titan Xp graphics card that NVIDIA launched earlier this year, but the cooling shrouds are designed to look like light sabers from the popular Star Wars movie franchise.
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NVIDIA offers these cards in two flavors: One with red lighting and one with green lighting. For those unfamiliar, the bad guys in the movies tend to use red-colored light sabers, while the good guys use either green or blue.
This graphics card launch comes about a month before Disney's (NYSE: DIS) upcoming entry in the Star Wars film franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, hits theaters.
While this product might seem a bit over the top, I think releasing it now was a smart move. Here's why.
The holiday season tends to be a big one for game releases, which means many PC gamers are either building new computers or upgrading the ones they currently own to play the latest games.
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That's why we saw NVIDIA launch the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card just recently, as NVIDIA wants to capitalize on that demand. And it's probably why NVIDIA wanted some way to refresh its ultra-high-end Titan lineup.
It's probably too soon for NVIDIA to launch a true successor to the Titan Xp, which is based on the company's Pascal architecture and just launched back in April. Such a successor would certainly be based on the company's new Volta architecture, since the current Titan Xp is based on a fully enabled implementation of NVIDIA's top Pascal-architecture product.
So if NVIDIA doesn't have a new graphics processor to sell, but it does want to boost demand for this ultra-high-end product, it had to get a little creative. That's where these new Star Wars-themed Titan Xp cards come in. The cards probably won't dramatically boost demand, but there will certainly be those gamers who are also big Star Wars fans that'll want to buy one for the sheer novelty.
NVIDIA is also being quite smart in releasing two variants. I suspect that there will be some who will be attracted to these cards simply because they love to collect Star Wars-themed merchandise. Those people may opt to buy two of these cards, not because they ever intend to stick them into gaming computers, but because they're collectors and want the complete set of products.
Yes, I really think NVIDIA is going to sell at least a handful of these $1,200 graphics cards to people who don't ever intend to do anything with them other than keep them sealed in their boxes. Some of those sales would be directly to such collectors, and some could be to people who plan to sit on them and resell them later on for much higher prices.
Beyond bringing products to market that it expects to help boost sales, this is a good brand-building exercise for NVIDIA. Even if most Star Wars fans who happen to also be gamers don't rush out to buy one or more of these cards for their gaming computers, this is the sort of product that helps to further build awareness of NVIDIA's brand among gamers.
Considering how important brand strength is when it comes to trying to sell products, and considering that developing these cards was probably a passion project for some Star Wars fans over at NVIDIA, I think it's cool that NVIDIA built these cards.
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