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Game Consoles and Generation

(Last Updated On: August 28, 2017)

Seventh generation

Video game consoles had become an important part of the global IT infrastructure. It is estimated that video game consoles represented 25% of the world’s general-purpose computational power in the year 2007.

Home consoles

The features introduced in this generation include the support of new disc formats: Blu-ray Disc, utilized by the PlayStation 3, andHD DVD supported by the Xbox 360 via an optional $200 external accessory addition, that was later discontinued as the format warclosed. Another new technology is the use of motion as input, and IR tracking (as implemented on the Wii). Also, all seventh generation consoles support wireless controllers. This generation also introduces the Nintendo DS, and the Nintendo DSi, which add touch screens and cameras to portable gaming.

  • Microsoft kicked off the seventh generation with the release of the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005 in the United States, December 2, 2005 in Europe, December 10, 2005 in Japan and March 23, 2006 in Australia. It featured market-leading processing power until the Sony PlayStation 3 was released one year later. While the original Xbox 360 “Core” did not include an internal HDD, most Xbox 360 models since have included at least the option to have one. The Xbox 360 optical drive is a DVD9reader, allowing DVD movies to be played. No Blu-ray drive was included, making big games like Battlefield and Wolfenstein: The New Order require two or more DVDs to play. Up to four controllers can be connected to the console wirelessly on the standard 2.4 GHz spectrum. There are 4 discontinued versions of the Xbox 360: the “Arcade,” the “Pro,” and the “Elite,” and the newer “S” or ‘slim’ model. The currently shipping “E” version of the Xbox 360 includes 3 configurations: a 4GB internal SSD version which acts like a USB hard drive, a 250 GB HDD version, and a branded 320 GB HDD version. The Xbox 360 is backward compatiblewith about half the games of the original Xbox library. In 2010, Microsoft released Kinect, allowing for motion-controlled games.
  • Sony’s PlayStation 3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2006, in North America on November 17, 2006 and in Europe and Australia on March 23, 2007. All PlayStation 3s come with a hard drive and are able to play Blu-ray Disc games and Blu-ray Disc movies out of the box. The PlayStation 3 was the first video game console to support HDMI output out of the box, using full 1080p resolution. Up to seven controllers can connect to the console using Bluetooth. There are 6 discontinued versions of the PS3: a 20 GB HDD version (discontinued in North America and Japan, and was never released in PAL territories), a 40 GB HDD version (discontinued), a 60 GB HDD version (discontinued in North America, Japan and PAL territories), 80 GB HDD version (only in some NTSC territories and PAL territories), a “slim” 120GB HDD version (discontinued), and a “slim” 250 GB version (discontinued). The two current shipping versions of the PlayStation 3 are: a “slim” 160 GB HDD version and a “slim” 320 GB HDD version. The hard drive can be replaced with any standard 2.5″ Serial ATA drive and the system has support for removable media storage, such as Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, USB, SD, MiniSD, and CompactFlash (CF) digital media, but only the PlayStation versions up to 80 GB support this. The slim PlayStation 3 consoles (120 GB and up) had removable storage discontinued. All models are backward compatible with the original PlayStation’s software library, and the launch models, since discontinued, are also backward compatible with PlayStation 2 games. As a cost-cutting measure, later models removed the Emotion Engine, making them incompatible with PS2 discs. In 2010, Sony released PlayStation Move, allowing for motion-controlled games. With recent software updates, the PlayStation 3 can play 3D Blu-ray movies and 3D games.
  • Nintendo’s Wii was released in North America on November 19, 2006, in Japan on December 2, 2006, in Australia on December 7, 2006 and in Europe on December 8, 2006. It is bundled with Wii Sports in all regions except for Japan. Unlike the other systems of the seventh generation, the Wii does not support an internal hard drive, but instead uses 512 MB of internal Flash memory and includes support for removable SD card storage. It also has a maximum resolution output of 480p, making it the only seventh generation console not able to output high-definition graphics. Along with its lower price, the Wii is notable for its unique controller, the Wii Remote, which resembles a TV remote. The system uses a “sensor bar” that emits infrared light that is detected by an infrared camera in the Wii Remote to determine orientation relative to the source of the light. All models, other than the Wii Family Edition and the Wii Mini, are backwards compatible with Nintendo GameCube games and support up to four Nintendo GameCube controllers and two memory cards. It also includes the Virtual Console, which allows the purchase and downloading of games from older systems, including those of former competitors. In 2009, Nintendo introduced the ‘Wii MotionPlus’ expansion, which uses the same technology as the console previously used, but with enhanced motion tracking and sensing to improve gameplay quality. The Wii has four colors: white, blue, black, and red. Current models include Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Motion Plus.

Xbox-360-Pro-wController

Handheld game consoles

For handheld game consoles, the seventh generation began with the release of the Nintendo DS on 21 November 2004. This handheld was based on a design fundamentally different from the Game Boy and other handheld video game systems. The Nintendo DS offered new modes of input over previous generations such as a touch screen, the ability to connect wirelessly using IEEE 802.11b, as well as a microphone to speak to in-game NPCs. On 12 December 2004, Sony released its first handheld, PlayStation Portable. The PlayStation Portable was marketed at launch to an above 25-year-old or “core gamer” market, while the Nintendo DS proved to be popular with both core gamers and new customers.

Nokia revived its N-Gage platform in the form of a service for selected S60 devices. This new service launched on 3 April 2008. Other less-popular handheld systems released during this generation include the Gizmondo (launched on 19 March 2005 and discontinued in February 2006) and the GP2X (launched on 10 November 2005 and discontinued in August 2008). The GP2X Wiz, Pandora, and Gizmondo 2 were scheduled for release in 2009.

Another aspect of the seventh generation was the beginning of direct competition between dedicated handheld gaming devices, and increasingly powerful PDA/cell phone devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the latter being aggressively marketed for gaming purposes. Simple games such as Tetris and Solitaire had existed for PDA devices since their introduction, but by 2009 PDAs and phones had grown sufficiently powerful to where complex graphical games could be implemented, with the advantage of distribution over wireless broadband.

Eighth generation

Home consoles

Aside from the usual hardware enhancements, consoles of the eighth generation focus on further integration with other media and increased connectivity. The 3DS introduced autostereoscopic 3D on consoles. The Wii U introduced a controller/tablet hybrid whose features include the possibility of augmented reality in gaming. The PlayStation 4 is Sony’s eighth generation console, featuring a “share” button to stream video game content between devices, released on November 15, 2013. Microsoft released their next generation console, the Xbox One, on November 22, 2013.

Game systems in the eighth generation also faced increasing competition from mobile device platforms such as Apple’s iOSand Google’s Android operating systems. Smartphone ownership was estimated to reach roughly a quarter of the world’s population by the end of 2014. The proliferation of low-cost games for these devices, such as Angry Birds with over 2 billion downloads worldwide, presents a new challenge to classic video game systems. Microconsoles, cheaper stand-alone devices designed to play games from previously established platforms, also increased options for consumers. Many of these projects were spurred on by the use of new crowdfunding techniques through sites such as Kickstarter. Notable competitors include the GamePop, OUYA, GameStick Android-based systems, the PlayStation Vita TV, the NVIDIA SHIELD, and Steam Machines.

PS4-Console-wDS4

Despite the increased competition, the sales for major console manufacturers featured strong starts. The PlayStation 4 sold 1 million consoles within 24 hours in 2 countries, whilst the Xbox One sold 1 million consoles within 24 hours in 13 countries. As of January 3, 2016, over 35 million PlayStation 4 consoles have been sold worldwide, and 10 million Xbox One units have shipped to retailers (by the end of 2014), both outpacing sales of their seventh generation systems. In May, Nintendo announced that it had sold only 2.8 million Wii U consoles, falling far short of their forecasts.

Visit Xbox One VS PS4 Consoles compare for more info about these two!

Handheld game consoles

The Nintendo 3DS is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Nintendo DS. The autostereoscopic device is able to projectstereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software. After announcing the device in March 2010, Nintendo officially unveiled it at E3 2010, with the company inviting attendees to use demonstration units. The console succeeded the Nintendo DS series of handheld systems, which primarily competed with PlayStation Portable. The 3DS, competed with Sony’s handheld, the PlayStation Vita.

PlayStation Vita is a handheld game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment.[36] It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of thePlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan on December 17, 2011[37] and was released in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012. The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED/LCD multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the PS Vita features a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4 core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well asLiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.

VR game consoles

Obviously, video games are one of the main applications for virtual reality as of today. But VR will give game designers the freedom to take games to incredible new places. They can also find new audiences now that players can just reach out and touch things, and turn their head to look, instead of mastering a complex controller covered with joysticks and buttons.

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  • References

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  • Last Update 29 August 2016
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