History of the Game Console

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					History of the Game
First Generation
   1972 -1977
           Magnavox Odyssey
• World's first game
console - May 1972
•Predating the Atari Pong
home consoles by several
•designed by Ralph Baer
•prototype known as the
"Brown Box“ is now at the
Smithsonian Museum in
Washington DC
•340,000 units sold
Pong was released as a coin-op arcade game
by Atari Inc. on November 29, 1972. Pong
was based on table tennis, and named after
the sound generated by the circuitry when
the ball is hit. Although Pong is often
regarded as the world's first video arcade
game, Computer Space by Nutting Associates
was launched a year earlier in 1971. Pong was
the first video game to achieve widespread
popularity in both arcade and home console
versions, and launched the initial boom in the
video game industry. Pong's popularity led to
a successful patent infringement lawsuit from
the makers of an earlier video game, the
Magnavox Odyssey.
                         Coleco Telstar
The Telstar is a video game console
produced by Coleco which first went
on sale in 1976. Originally a Pong clone
based on General Instrument's AY-3-
8500 chip. The AY-3-8500 chip played
several Pong variants on a domestic
television receiver, and became
available to any manufacturer. The
circuit was intended to be battery
powered and a minimum number of
external components were required to
complete the system.
                        APF TV Fun
        The APF TV Fun was an early Pong clone
 manufactured by APF Electronics Inc. in the United
  Kingdom in 1976. It featured four built in games, a
 built in speaker, and two controller knobs. It could be
powered by either the included AC adapter or by using
                     6 C size batteries.
 The TV Fun package was the first entry of APF into
the video game market, APF was formerly a calculator
  and other small electronics developer. While the TV
 Fun had only limited success, it was later followed up
    by the much more successful APF Imagination
 Machine a few years later. The TV Fun included just
 four titles, and had no way of adding more through a
    cartridge system. Those four titles were Tennis,
  Hockey, Single Handball, and Squash - all of which
      were variations on the typical pong formula.
     Second Generation
Early 8-bit home consoles (1976-1983)
               Second Generation
          Early 8-bit home consoles (1976-1983)
   The earliest console, the Magnavox Odyssey, had used
    removable cartridges that were glorified jumpers to
    activate the games already wired in to the console.
   By the mid-1970's cartridges moved to CPU based
   Games now consisting of microprocessor based code,
    had games burned onto ROM chips that were mounted
    inside plastic cartridge casings that could be plugged
    into slots on the console.
   Rather than being confined to a small selection of
    games included in the box, consumers could now amass
    libraries of game cartridges.
                Fairchild Channel F

The Fairchild Channel F is the world's
second cartridge-based video game console,
after the Magnavox Odyssey (although it was
the first programmable cartridge system as
the Odyssey cartridges only contained
jumpers and not ROM information). It was
released by Fairchild Semiconductor in
August 1976 at the retail price of $169.95.
At this point it was known as the Video
Entertainment System, or VES, but when
Atari released their VCS the next year,
Fairchild quickly renamed it.
                                 Atari 2600
The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the
video game console credited with popularizing the
use of a microprocessor and cartridges containing
game code, instead of having non-microprocessor
dedicated hardware with all games built in. The
first game console to use this format was the
Fairchild Channel F. However, it was the Atari
2600 that made the plug-in concept popular
among the game-playing public. Originally known
as the Atari VCS—for Video Computer System—the
machine's name was changed to "Atari 2600" in
1982, after the release of the more advanced Atari
5200. It was wildly successful, and during the
1980s. The 2600 was typically bundled with two
joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle
controllers, and a cartridge game - initially
Combat and subsequently Pac-Man.
                   Magnavox Odyssey²
The Odyssey² followed in the steps of the
Fairchild Channel F and Atari 2600 by being
designed to play programmable ROM cartridges.
With this improvement, each game could be a
completely unique experience, with its own
background graphics, foreground graphics,
gameplay, scoring, and music. Unlike any other
system at that time, the Odyssey² included a full
alphanumeric membrane keyboard, which was to
be used for educational games, selecting options,
or programming. One of the strongest points of
the system was its excellent speech synthesis unit.
The Odyssey² may be best remembered for its
fusion of board and video games: The Master
Strategy Series. The first game released was the
instant classic Quest for the Rings!, with gameplay
somewhat similar to Dungeons & Dragons.

The Intellivision was developed by Mattel
Electronics. The console was test marketed in
Fresno, California, in 1979 with a total of four
games available, and went nationwide in 1980 with
a price tag of $299 and a pack-in game: Las Vegas
Poker & Blackjack. Though not the first system to
challenge Atari, it was the first to pose a serious
threat to Atari's dominance. A series of ads were
produced attacking the Atari 2600's lesser
capabilities with side-by-side game comparisons.
By 1982 over two million Intellivision consoles had
been sold, earning Mattel a $100,000,000 profit.
         Video Game Crash of 1984
   The delay of Atari's 7800 consoles left them with little to
    captivate consumers hungry for the next big thing.
   A flood of consoles on the US market gave consumers too many
   Many poor game titles and too many games based on the movie
    ET The Extraterrestrial.
   Introduction of personal computers like the Commodore 64,
    whose theme “Why buy your child a video game and distract
    them from school when you can buy them a home computer
    that will prepare them for college?”
   Millions of consumers shifted their intention to buy choices from
    game consoles to low-end computers that retailed for similar
   The crash lasted 2 years. The market was revitalized due to the
    success of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with its
    landmark title Super Mario Bros.
Third Generation
    1983 - 1992
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System was
    an 8-bit video game console released by
Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe,
   and Australia in 1985. In most of Asia, it
 was released as the Family Computer. The
  most successful gaming console of its time
in Asia and North America, Nintendo claims
    to have sold over 60 million NES units
  worldwide. Nintendo helped revitalize the
 US video game industry following the video
game crash of 1984, and set the standard for
consoles and controller layout. The NES was
 the first console for which the manufacturer
 openly courted third-party game developers.
The slogan for the NES in North America is
      "Now You're Playing With Power!"
               Sega Master System
The Sega Master System or SMS for
short (1986 - 2000), was an 8-bit
cartridge-based video game console
that was manufactured by Sega. In the
European market, this console
launched Sega onto a competitive level
comparable to Nintendo, due to its
wider availability, but failed to put a
dent in the North American and
Japanese markets. The Master System
was released as a direct competitor to
the NES/Famicom. The system
ultimately failed to topple its Nintendo
competitor, but enjoyed over a decade
of life in secondary markets.
                             Atari 7800
The Atari 7800 is a video game console
released by Atari in June 1986. The 7800
was designed to replace the unsuccessful
Atari 5200, and re-establish Atari's
market supremacy against Nintendo and
Sega. With this system, Atari addressed
all the shortcomings of the Atari 5200: it
had simple digital joysticks; it was almost
fully backward-compatible with the Atari
2600; and it was affordable (it was
originally priced at $140. The system was
designed to be upgraded to a full-fledged
home computer
Handhelds are Introduced
      1989 - 1990
            Nintendo’s Game Boy
 The Game Boy was a handheld
  game console developed and
   manufactured by Nintendo,
 released in 1989 at $89.95. The
      Game Boy was the first
successful handheld console, and
 was the predecessor of all other
iterations of the Game Boy line.
  The Game Boy was originally
  bundled with the puzzle game
  Tetris, since Nintendo thought
  that an addictive puzzle game
 would get consumers' attention.
                          Atari Lynx

The Lynx was a handheld game console released by Atari in 1989. The Lynx holds
the distinction of being the world's first handheld electronic game with a color LCD
display. The system is also notable for its forward-looking features, advanced
graphics, and ambidextrous layout. The Lynx was released in 1989, the same year as
Nintendo's (monochromatic) Game Boy. However, the Lynx failed to achieve the
critical mass required to attract quality third party developers, and was eventually
  The TurboExpress was a portable version of the
   TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine, released in 1990 for
 $249.99. It was the most advanced handheld of its
 time and could play all the TurboGrafx-16's games
    which were on a small, credit-card sized media
 called HuCards. It had a 66 2.6 in. screen, the same
    as the original Game Boy, and could display 64
sprites at once, 16 per scanline, in 482 colors from a
   palette of 512. It had 8 kilobytes of RAM. The
     optional TurboVision TV tuner included RCA
        audio/video input, allowing you to use
  TurboExpress as a video monitor. The TurboLink
  allowed two-player play. Falcon, a flight simulator,
included a "head-to-head" dogfight mode that could
 only be accessed via TurboLink. However, very few
           TG-16 games offered co-op play.
                    Sega Game Gear
   The Sega Game Gear is a handheld game
      console which was Sega's response to
     Nintendo's Game Boy. It was the third
commercially available color handheld console,
  after the Atari Lynx and the Turbo Express.
 Work began on the console in 1989 under the
  codename "Project Mercury", as per Sega's
policy at the time of codenaming their systems
after planets. The system was released in Japan
  on October 6, 1990, in North America and
 Europe in 1991, and in Australia in 1992. The
    launch price was $149.99. Sega dropped
   support for the Game Gear in early 1997.
Fourth Generation
    1992 - 1996
                    Fourth Generation
                               1992 - 1996

The 16-bit era was the fourth generation of
video game consoles. Starting in 1987 with the
Japanese launch of the PC Engine, this era was
dominated by commercial rivalry between
Nintendo and Sega with their machines, the
Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the
Sega Mega Drive (named the Sega Genesis in
North America due to trademark issues). The
machines introduced in this generation retained
the majority market share until 1996.
                 NEC TurboGrafx 16
The TurboGrafx was a collaborative effort between
Japanese software maker Hudson Soft and NEC.
Hudson was looking for financial backing for a
game console they had designed, and NEC was
looking to get into the lucrative game market. The
TurboGrafx was a small video game console, due to
an efficient three-chip architecture and its use of
HuCards. Unlike the Sega Master System (which
also supported cartridges), however, the
TurboGrafx-16 used HuCards exclusively. It was the
first console to have an optional CD module,
allowing the standard benefits of the CD medium:
more storage, cheaper media costs, and redbook
audio. The efficient design, backing of many of
Japan's major software producers, and the additional
CD ROM capabilities gave the TurboGrafx a very
wide variety of software.
                           Super Nintendo
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was
Nintendo's second home console, following the Nintendo
Entertainment System (NES). The console introduced
advanced graphics and sound capabilities that
compensated for its relatively slow CPU, compared with
other consoles at the time. Additionally, the system's
support for numerous enhancement chips (which shipped
as part of certain game cartridges) helped to keep it
competitive in the marketplace. The SNES was a global
success, becoming the best-selling console of the 16-bit
era despite its relatively late start and the fierce
competition it faced in North America from Sega's
Genesis console. The SNES remained popular well into
the 32-bit era, and although Nintendo has dropped all
support for the console, it continues to be popular among
fans, collectors, and emulation enthusiasts.
                         Sega Genesis

 The Sega Mega Drive was a video game console released by Sega in Japan in
1988, North America in 1989, and the PAL region (Europe) in 1990. It was sold
 under the name Sega Genesis in North America, as Sega was unable to secure
  legal rights to the Mega Drive name in that region. The Sega Genesis was the
    first 16-bit console to achieve notable market share in Europe and North
 America. It was the direct competitor of the Super Famicom (SNES), although
                 the Sega Mega Drive was released two years earlier.
Fifth Generation
    1993 -2003
                         Fifth Generation
                                   1993 -2003

 The fifth generation of video game consoles featured both 32-bit and 64-bit consoles.
The market was dominated by three consoles, the Sega Saturn (1994), the Sony PlayStation
 (1994) and the Nintendo 64 (1996). These consoles defined the system wars of this era.
  The 3DO and Atari Jaguar were also part of this era, but their sales were poor and they
   failed to make a significant impact on the market. This era also introduced Nintendo's
 Game Boy Color. Bit ratings for consoles largely fell by the wayside during this era, with
the notable exception of the Nintendo 64. Performance depended on more varied factors
than bits, such as processor clock speed, bandwidth, and memory size. The 32-bit / 64-bit
  era also saw the rise of emulation. It was during this time that not only were commonly
  available PCs powerful enough to emulate the 8 and 16bit systems of the previous 5 or
more years, but the internet made it possible to store and download tape and ROM images
     of older games, eventually leading 7th generation consoles (such as Xbox 360, Wii,
                            PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable.
                             Sega Saturn
The Saturn was a powerful machine for the time, but
its design, with two CPUs and 6 other processors,
made harnessing its power extremely difficult. Many
of the ancillary chips in the system were "off of the
shelf" components. This increased the complexity of
the design since less custom hardware was used.
Rumors suggest that the original design called for a
single central processor, but a second processor was
added late in development to increase potential
performance. The use of dual CPUs within Saturn
was not ideal. The biggest disadvantage was that
both processors shared the same bus and had
problems accessing the main system RAM at the
same time. From 1995–1997 the Saturn became the
"other" system, running a distant third behind the
Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation.
                     Sony PlayStation
The Sony PlayStation was a 32-bit video game
console. It was first produced by Sony Computer
Entertainment in December 1994. The original
PlayStation was the first of the “PlayStation” series
of consoles and hand-held game devices, which
included successor consoles and upgrades
including the Net Yaroze, PSOne (a smaller version
of the original), PocketStation (a handheld which
enhances PS games and acts as a memory card),
PlayStation 2, a revised, slimline PS2, PlayStation
Portable (a handheld gaming console), DVR and
DVD recorder based on the PS2, and PlayStation 3.
By March 2005, the PlayStation/PS one had
shipped a total of 102.49 million units, becoming
the first home console to ever reach the 100
million mark.
                           Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 often abbreviated as N64,
was Nintendo's third home video game console
for the international market. Named for its 64-
bit processor, it was released on June 23, 1996
in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North
America, March 1, 1997 in Europe and
Australia, and September 1, 1997 in France. It
was released with two launch games (Super
Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64). The N64's
suggested retail price was $199 at its launch and
it was marketed with the slogan: "Get N, or get
Sixth Generation - 128-bit era
            1998 - ?
                       Sega Dreamcast
The Dreamcast is Sega's final video game console and the
successor to the Sega Saturn. It was designed to supersede
the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Released sixteen months
before the PlayStation 2 (PS2), and three years before the
Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox. Dreamcast was hailed
as ahead of its time, and is still held in high regard for
pioneering online console gaming. It failed to gather
enough momentum before the release of the PlayStation 2
in March 2000, and Sega decided to discontinue Dreamcast
in March 2001, withdrawing entirely from the console
hardware business. Even though Sega has discontinued the
repairing of Dreamcast and Saturn consoles, and stopped
production of GD-Rom discs, the company will continue
to sell Dreamcast to gamers and collectors. Also Sega and
third party companies plan to make and sell commercial
games into 2008.
Sony PlayStation 2
      The PlayStation 2 “PS2” is Sony's second
       video game console, the successor to the
      successful PlayStation and the predecessor
       to the PlayStation 3. Its development was
          announced in March 1999, and it was
         released after a year in Japan. Released
      more than a year after the Sega Dreamcast
         and a year before its main competitors
      Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.
      As of September 19, 2007, 120 million PS2
             units have been sold worldwide.
                Nintendo GameCube
The Nintendo GameCube is Nintendo's fourth
home video game console. The system itself is the
most compact and least expensive, next to the
Dreamcast, of the sixth generation era consoles. It is
the successor to the Nintendo 64 and the predecessor
of the Wii. The home console was released on
September 14, 2001 in Japan; November 18, 2001 in
North America; May 3, 2002 in Europe; and May 17,
2002 in Australia. The Nintendo GameCube, named
Dolphin, is shaped roughly like a cube. The
GameCube uses a proprietary storage medium, the
Nintendo GameCube Game Disc, and have a capacity
of approximately 1.5 gigabytes. GameCube discs are
not physically read any differently from a standard
DVD disc, but are encrypted with a 'bar code'
unreadable by most DVD drives.
                         Microsoft Xbox
The Xbox is Microsoft's first foray into the gaming
console market, and competed directly with Sony's
PlayStation 2, and the Nintendo GameCube. It was
first released on November 15, 2001 in North
America; February 22, 2002 in Japan; and on
March 14, 2002 in Europe and Australia. It is the
predecessor to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. The
Xbox was Microsoft's first product that ventured
into the console arena, after having collaborated
with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Seg
Dreamcast console. Notable launch titles for the
console included Halo: Combat Evolved, Amped:
Freestyle Snowboarding, Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham
Racing, and Oddworl: Munch' Oddysee.
Seventh Generation
      2004 - ?
            Seventh Generation
                             2004 - ?

The seventh generation began on November 21, 2004 with the
United States release of the Nintendo DS. The beginning of the
seventh generation for home consoles came on November 22,
2005 with the release of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and continued a
year later with the release of Sony's PlayStation 3 on November
17, 2006 and Nintendo's Wii on November 19, 2006. As all three
major home consoles only started to compete at the end of 2006,
it is not yet possible to determine which, if any of them, will take
a dominating position in the seventh generation. However, on
September 13, 2007, the NPD and Enterbrain reported that the
Wii is currently leading in sales, with more than 9 million units
sold across the globe.
                              Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is produced by Microsoft, developed
in cooperation with IBM, ATI, and SiS. Its Xbox
Live service allows players to compete online and
download arcade games and content such as game
demos, trailers, TV shows, music videos, or rented
movies. The Xbox 360 is the successor to the Xbox,
and competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and
Nintendo's Wii. The Xbox 360 was officially
unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005. It is the first
console to provide near-simultaneous launch across
the three major regions, and to provide wireless
controller support at launch. The console sold out
completely at release and, as of September 12,
2007, has sold 8.9 million units worldwide.
PlayStation 3
 The PlayStation 3 “PS3” is the third home video
 game console produced by Sony and is the successor
 to the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 3 competes with
 Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii. In sales
 and market share, it is currently in third place. The
 system was first released on November 11, 2006, in
 Japan and on November 17, 2006 in the United
 States. Its primary storage media is the Blu-ray Disc,
 though it also supports DVDs, CDs, and SACDs. It
 can output high-definition video for both video
 games and movies in up to 1080p resolution. It was
 initially available in two configurations, the 20 GB
 Basic model and the 60 GB Premium model.
 However, the 20 GB model was discontinued in
 North America due to a lack of consumer demand
 or lower profit margins on the 20GB unit.
                        Nintendo's Wii
The Wii is the fifth home video game console released
by Nintendo. The console is the direct successor to the
Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo states that its console
targets a broader demographic than that of Microsoft's
Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. A distinguishing
feature of the console is its wireless controller, the Wii
Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing
device and can detect acceleration in three dimensions.
Another is WiiConnect24, which enables it to receive
messages and updates over the Internet while in
standby mode. Nintendo unveiled the system in 2005.
During the week of September 12, 2007, the Financial
Times declared that the Wii is the current sales leader
of its generation.

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