Video game console
Overview
 
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system
Game development
Game development is the software development process by which a video game is developed. Development is undertaken by a game developer, which may range from a single person to a large business. Mainstream games are normally funded by a publisher and take several years to develop. Indie games can...

 that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device (a television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, monitor
Video monitor
A video monitor also called a broadcast monitor, broadcast reference monitor or just reference monitor, is a display device similar to a television set, used to monitor the output of a video-generating device, such as playout from a video server, IRD, video camera, VCR, or DVD player. It may or...

, etc.) to display a video game. The term "video game console" is used to distinguish a machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

 designed for consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s to buy and use solely for playing video games from a personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

, which has many other functions, or arcade machines, which are designed for businesses that buy them and then charge others to play.
Encyclopedia
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system
Game development
Game development is the software development process by which a video game is developed. Development is undertaken by a game developer, which may range from a single person to a large business. Mainstream games are normally funded by a publisher and take several years to develop. Indie games can...

 that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device (a television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, monitor
Video monitor
A video monitor also called a broadcast monitor, broadcast reference monitor or just reference monitor, is a display device similar to a television set, used to monitor the output of a video-generating device, such as playout from a video server, IRD, video camera, VCR, or DVD player. It may or...

, etc.) to display a video game. The term "video game console" is used to distinguish a machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

 designed for consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s to buy and use solely for playing video games from a personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

, which has many other functions, or arcade machines, which are designed for businesses that buy them and then charge others to play. As of 2007, it is estimated that video game consoles represent 25% of the world's general-purpose computational power.

First generation

Although the first computer games
Computer Games
"Computer Games" is a single by New Zealand group, Mi-Sex released in 1979 in Australia and New Zealand and in 1981 throughout Europe. It was the single that launched the band, and was hugely popular, particularly in Australia and New Zealand...

 appeared in the 1950s, they were based around vector displays, not analog video
Analog television
Analog television is the analog transmission that involves the broadcasting of encoded analog audio and analog video signal: one in which the message conveyed by the broadcast signal is a function of deliberate variations in the amplitude and/or frequency of the signal...

. It was not until 1972 that Magnavox
Magnavox
Magnavox is a US electronics company founded by Edwin Pridham and Peter L. Jensen, who invented the moving-coil loudspeaker in 1915 at their lab in Napa, California. They formed Magnavox in 1917 in order to market their inventions....

 released the first home video game console which could be connected to a TV set—the Magnavox Odyssey
Magnavox Odyssey
The Magnavox Odyssey is the world's first home video game console. It was first demonstrated on May 24, 1972 and released in August of that year, predating the Atari Pong home consoles by three years....

, invented by Ralph H. Baer
Ralph H. Baer
Ralph H. Baer is a German-born American video game pioneer, inventor, engineer, known as "The Father of Video Games", who is noted for his many contributions to games and the video game industry...

. The Odyssey was initially only moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong
Pong
Pong is one of the earliest arcade video games, and is a tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics. While other arcade video games such as Computer Space came before it, Pong was one of the first video games to reach mainstream popularity...

 popularized video games, that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By the autumn of 1975 Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of Pong, cancelled the Odyssey and released a scaled down console that only played Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added onscreen scoring, up to four players, and a third game—Smash. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Sears, officially named Sears, Roebuck and Co., is an American chain of department stores which was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in the late 19th century...

, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. As with the arcade market, the home market was soon flooded by dedicated consoles that played simple pong and pong-derived games.

Second generation

Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System
Fairchild Channel F
The Fairchild Channel F is a game console released by Fairchild Semiconductor in August 1976 at the retail price of $169.95. It has the distinction of being the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console...

 (VES) in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches (the Odyssey) or the console itself was empty and the cartridge contained all of the game components. The VES, however, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions.

RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles.

Video game crash of 1977

In 1977, manufacturers of older, obsolete consoles sold their systems at a loss to clear stock, creating a glut in the market and causing Fairchild and RCA to abandon their game consoles. Only Atari and Magnavox stayed in the home console market, later dying as game console makers.

Rebirth of the home console market

The VES continued to be sold at a profit after the 1977 crash, and both Bally (with their Home Library Computer
Bally Astrocade
The Astrocade is an early video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midway, the videogame division of Bally. It was marketed only for a limited time before Bally decided to exit the market. The rights were later picked up by a third-party company, who re-released it and...

 in 1977) and Magnavox (with the Odyssey²
Magnavox Odyssey²
The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey² and the Philips Odyssey², and also by many other names, is a video game console released in 1978.In the early 1970s, Magnavox was an innovator in the...

 in 1978) brought their own programmable cartridge-based consoles to the market. However, it was not until Atari released a conversion of the arcade hit Space Invaders
Space Invaders
is an arcade video game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and released in 1978. It was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and was later licensed for production in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games and the aim is to...

in 1980 that the home console industry was completely revived. Many consumers bought an Atari just for Space Invaders. Space Invaders unprecedented success started the trend of console manufacturers trying to get exclusive rights to arcade titles, and the trend of advertisements for game consoles claiming to bring the arcade experience home.

Throughout the early 1980s, other companies released video game consoles of their own. Many of the video game systems were technically superior to the Atari 2600, and marketed as improvements over the Atari 2600. However, Atari dominated the console market in the early 1980s.

Video game crash of 1983

In 1983, the video game business suffered a much more severe crash. A flood of consoles, low quality video games by smaller companies (especially for the 2600), industry leader Atari hyping games such as E.T. that were poorly received, and a growing number of home computer
Home computer
Home computers were a class of microcomputers entering the market in 1977, and becoming increasingly common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user...

 users caused consumers and retailers to lose faith and interest in video game consoles. Most video game companies filed for bankruptcy, or moved into other industries, abandoning their game consoles. Mattel Electronics sold the rights for its Intellivision
Intellivision
The Intellivision is a video game console released by Mattel in 1979. Development of the console began in 1978, less than a year after the introduction of its main competitor, the Atari 2600. The word intellivision is a portmanteau of "intelligent television"...

 system to the INTV Corporation, who continued to produce Intellivision consoles and develop new games for the Intellivision until 1991. All other North American game consoles were discontinued by 1984.

Third generation

In 1983, Nintendo released the Family Computer
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America during 1985, in Europe during 1986 and Australia in 1987...

 (or Famicom) in Japan. Like the ColecoVision
ColecoVision
The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries' second generation home video game console which was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered arcade-quality graphics and gaming style, and the means to expand the system's basic hardware...

, the Famicom supported high-resolution sprites and tiled backgrounds, but with more colors. This allowed Famicom games to be longer and have more detailed graphics. Nintendo brought their Famicom over to the US in the form of the Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America during 1985, in Europe during 1986 and Australia in 1987...

 (NES) in 1985. In the US, video games were seen as a fad that had already passed. To distinguish its product from older video game consoles, Nintendo used a front-loading cartridge port similar to a VCR on the NES, packaged the NES with a Super Mario Brothers game and a light gun
Light gun
A light gun is a pointing device for computers and a control device for arcade and video games.Modern screen-based light guns work by building a sensor into the gun itself, and the on-screen target emit light rather than the gun...

 (the Zapper), and originally advertised it as a toy. The plastic "robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

" (R.O.B.
R.O.B.
R.O.B. , released in Japan as the , is an accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in July 1985 in Japan and later that year in North America. It had a short product lifespan, with support for only two games which comprised the "Robot Series"; Gyromite and Stack-Up. R.O.B...

) was also sold as an individual purchase item and in some cases packaged with the NES system.

Like Space Invaders
Space Invaders
is an arcade video game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and released in 1978. It was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and was later licensed for production in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games and the aim is to...

for the 2600, Nintendo found its breakout hit game in Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros.
is a 1985 platform video game developed by Nintendo, published for the Nintendo Entertainment System as a sequel to the 1983 game Mario Bros. In Super Mario Bros., the player controls Mario as he travels through the Mushroom Kingdom in order to rescue Princess Toadstool from the antagonist...

Nintendo's success revived the video game industry and new consoles were soon introduced in the following years to compete with the NES.

Sega's Master System
Sega Master System
The is a third-generation video game console that was manufactured and released by Sega in 1985 in Japan , 1986 in North America and 1987 in Europe....

 was intended to compete with the NES, but never gained any significant market share in the US and was barely profitable. It fared notably better in PAL
PAL
PAL, short for Phase Alternating Line, is an analogue television colour encoding system used in broadcast television systems in many countries. Other common analogue television systems are NTSC and SECAM. This page primarily discusses the PAL colour encoding system...

 territories, especially Brazil.

Fourth generation

Sega regained market share by releasing its next-generation console, the Mega Drive/Genesis, which was released in Japan on October 29, 1988, in the U.S. in August 1989 (renamed as the Sega Genesis) and in Europe in 1990, two years before Nintendo could release the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia , and South America between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the , or SFC for short...

 (SNES).

Sega extended the Mega Drive with the Mega CD/Sega CD, to provide increased storage space for multimedia-based games that were then in vogue among the development community. Later, Sega released the 32X
Sega 32X
The Sega 32X, codenamed Project Mars, is an add-on for the Mega Drive/Genesis video game console by Sega. Its aim was to increase the lifespan of the aging Mega Drive/Genesis system, which was facing stiff competition from the SNES...

, which added some of the polygon-processing functionality common in fifth-generation machines. However, the peripheral was a commercial failure due to lack of software support, with developers more keen to concentrate on more powerful machines, with a wider user base, such as the Saturn that followed shortly after.

Other consoles included in the fourth generation are NEC
NEC
, a Japanese multinational IT company, has its headquarters in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. NEC, part of the Sumitomo Group, provides information technology and network solutions to business enterprises, communications services providers and government....

's TurboGrafx-16
TurboGrafx-16
TurboGrafx-16, fully titled as TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem and known in Japan as the , is a video game console developed by Hudson Soft and NEC, released in Japan on October 30, 1987, and in North America on August 29, 1989....

 and SNK Playmore
SNK Playmore
SNK Playmore Corporation is a Japanese video game hardware and software company. SNK is an acronym of , which was SNK's original name. The company's legal and trading name became SNK in 1986....

's Neo Geo
Neo Geo (console)
The is a cartridge-based arcade and home video game system released on July 1, 1991 by Japanese game company SNK. Being in the Fourth generation of Gaming, it was the first console in the former Neo Geo family, which only lived through the 1990s...

.

Fifth generation

The first fifth-generation consoles were the Atari Jaguar
Atari Jaguar
The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released by Atari Corporation in 1993. It was the last to be marketed under the Atari brand until the release of the Atari Flashback in 2004. It was designed to surpass the Mega Drive/Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Panasonic...

 and the 3DO
3DO Interactive Multiplayer
The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer is a video game console originally produced by Panasonic in 1993. Further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company, and were originally designed by...

. Both of these systems were much more powerful than the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) or Mega Drive (known as Genesis in North America); they were better at rendering polygons, could display more onscreen colors, and the 3DO used discs that contained far more information than cartridges and were cheaper to produce. Neither of these consoles were serious threats to Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

 or Nintendo
Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

, though. The 3DO cost more than the SNES and Genesis combined, and the Jaguar was extremely difficult to program for, leading to a lack of games that used its extra power. Both consoles would be discontinued in 1996. Bandai
Bandai
is a Japanese toy making and video game company, as well as the producer of a large number of plastic model kits. It is the world's third-largest producer of toys . Some ex-Bandai group companies produce anime and tokusatsu programs...

 introduced an Apple
Apple Computer
Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad...

 Macintosh
Macintosh
The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...

 based console called the Pippin that was more like a low cost computer than a high end console, but did poorly in the market.

Nintendo released games like Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country is a side-scrolling platformer video game developed by Rare, featuring the character Donkey Kong. It was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994. Following an intense marketing campaign, the original SNES version sold over 8 million copies worldwide, making...

 that could display a wide range of tones (something common in fifth-generation games) by limiting the number of hues onscreen, and games like Star Fox that used an extra chip inside of the cartridge to display polygon graphics. Sega followed suit, releasing Vectorman
Vectorman
Vectorman is a series of run and gun platform games developed by BlueSky Software and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. It was released on October 24, 1995 in North America and on November 30, 1995 in Europe...

 and Virtua Racing
Virtua Racing
Virtua Racing or V.R. for short, is a Formula One racing arcade game, developed by Sega-AM2 and released in October 1992. Virtua Racing was initially a proof-of-concept application for exercising a new 3D-graphics platform under development, the "Model 1". The results were so encouraging, that...

 (the latter of which used the Sega Virtua Processor).

It was not until Sega's Saturn
Sega Saturn
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console that was first released by Sega on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe...

, Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

's PlayStation
PlayStation
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

, and the Nintendo 64
Nintendo 64
The , often referred to as N64, was Nintendo′s third home video game console for the international market. Named for its 64-bit CPU, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America, March 1997 in Europe and Australia, September 1997 in France and December 1997 in Brazil...

 were released that fifth generation consoles started to become popular. The Saturn and PlayStation used CDs to store games, while the N64 used cartridges. All three cost far less than the 3DO, and were easier to program than the Jaguar. The Saturn also had 2D sprite
Sprite (computer graphics)
In computer graphics, a sprite is a two-dimensional image or animation that is integrated into a larger scene...

 handling power on par with the Neo-Geo
Neo Geo (console)
The is a cartridge-based arcade and home video game system released on July 1, 1991 by Japanese game company SNK. Being in the Fourth generation of Gaming, it was the first console in the former Neo Geo family, which only lived through the 1990s...

.
  • Atari's Jaguar
    Atari Jaguar
    The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released by Atari Corporation in 1993. It was the last to be marketed under the Atari brand until the release of the Atari Flashback in 2004. It was designed to surpass the Mega Drive/Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Panasonic...

     was released to combat the dominance that Nintendo and Sega were fighting for. Atari's hope was that by designing a more powerful console, it would be able to leapfrog all of the released systems of the day and give gamers a technologically superior system. The Jaguar eventually faded away due to a number of reasons. For example, it was difficult to program, thus making it too problematic to have good third-party support. Another of the Jaguar's pitfalls was the dominance of the previously popular systems. In 1995, the releases of the Sega Saturn and the PlayStation brought the end for the Jaguar. The failure of the Jaguar put Atari into a poor financial situation and forced it to reverse merge with JTS Inc.
    JT Storage
    JT Storage was a maker of inexpensive IDE hard drives for personal computers based in San Jose, California...

    , a short-lived maker of hard disk drives, to form JTS Corporation. The merger effectively ended the company, which existed as a small department for minor support of the Jaguar and the selling off of Atari's intellectual properties.
  • The 3DO
    3DO Interactive Multiplayer
    The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer is a video game console originally produced by Panasonic in 1993. Further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company, and were originally designed by...

     was released in North America in October 1993. Although released to much fanfare, like the Jaguar, it faded out of the market with little popularity. The system was technically superior to all the consoles released at the time, but due to the oversaturated market and the hefty US$699.95 price tag, the system did not adopt well into the market. One unique aspect of the 3DO is that the rights to manufacturing the console itself were licensed to different manufacturers by the 3DO company, which only produced the specifications. These companies, in turn, released their own different styles of the same console.
  • The Sega Saturn
    Sega Saturn
    The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console that was first released by Sega on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe...

     was released in North America on May 11, 1995 as the first independent Sega system to use a CD-ROM
    CD-ROM
    A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

     based media standard, besides the Sega CD add-on for Sega Genesis, and used a special dual chip processor. The difficulty to program for the two chips in parallel was a factor in the console's demise. The Saturn was a mild success, but was overshadowed by Sony and Nintendo's dominance of the market. The Saturn was discontinued in 1998 with the release of Sega's last console, the Dreamcast.
  • Sony's PlayStation
    PlayStation
    The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

     was released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in North America on September 9, 1995. The PlayStation was the eventual result of a breakdown of a business partnership plan between Sony and Nintendo to create a CD add-on for the SNES
    Super Nintendo Entertainment System
    The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia , and South America between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the , or SFC for short...

    . Nintendo changed the deal and went to Philips; however, with the project nearing completion, Sony took what it had and marketed it off as a Sony-branded console. The PlayStation spawned a whole lineup of consoles from generation to generation and has earned Sony great respect as a video game company, becoming the first video game system to sell over 100 million consoles. Sony released a redesigned, smaller version of the PlayStation entitled the 'PSone' on July 7, 2000.
  • The Nintendo 64
    Nintendo 64
    The , often referred to as N64, was Nintendo′s third home video game console for the international market. Named for its 64-bit CPU, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America, March 1997 in Europe and Australia, September 1997 in France and December 1997 in Brazil...

     was released in North America on September 29, 1996 as Nintendo's answer to the growing dominance of the PlayStation. It was a 64-bit console, the only one generally recognized in that class despite the 64-bit Atari Jaguar, which had actually been released earlier. Unlike the other companies' consoles of the generation, the N64 had continued to use ROM cartridge
    ROM cartridge
    A ROM cartridge, sometimes referred to as a cart, is a removable enclosure containing read-only memory devices designed to be connected to a computer or games console....

    s, which many saw as a hindrance to gameplay, as cartridges have much less memory space and are also more expensive than optical media; however, Nintendo's answer to this was that unlike CDs, cartridges cannot be damaged by a simple scratch to the surface, load times are not much of an issue, and save data can be stored on the cartridge rather than on a memory card. Nevertheless, some believe that Nintendo did this for fear of then growing software piracy issues facing other consoles, such as the PlayStation.

Sixth generation

This generation saw a move towards PC-like architectures in gaming consoles, as well as a shift towards using DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s for game media. This brought games that were both longer and more visually appealing. Furthermore, this generation also saw experimentation with online console gaming and implementing both flash and hard drive storage for game data.
  • Sega's Dreamcast released in North America on September 9, 1999 was the company's last video game console, and was the first of the generation's consoles to be discontinued. Sega implemented a special type of optical media called the GD-ROM
    GD-ROM
    GD-ROM is the proprietary optical disc format used by the Dreamcast games console, as well as its arcade counterparts and the Sega/Nintendo/Namco Triforce arcade system...

    . These discs were created in order to prevent software piracy
    Copyright infringement of software
    Copyright infringement of software=The copyright infringement of software refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer software. Copyright infringement of this kind varies globally...

    , which had been more easily done with consoles of the previous generation; however, this format was soon cracked as well. The Dreamcast was discontinued in March 2001, and Sega transitioned to software developing/publishing only. It also sported a 33.6Kb or 56k modem which could be used to access the internet or play some of the games, like Phantasy Star Online
    Phantasy Star Online
    Phantasy Star Online is an online multiplayer action RPG title, originally released for the Dreamcast in 2000, bundled with a demo of Sonic Adventure 2. Another edition, entitled Phantasy Star Online ver.2, was released for Dreamcast the following year...

    , online.
  • Sony's PlayStation 2
    PlayStation 2
    The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

     was released in North America on October 26, 2000 as the follow-up to its highly successful PlayStation, and was also the first home game console to be able to play DVD
    DVD
    A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

    s. As was done with the original PlayStation in 2000, Sony redesigned the console in 2004 into a smaller version. As of July 2008, 140 million PlayStation 2 units have been sold. This makes it the best selling console of all time to date.
  • Microsoft's Xbox
    Xbox
    The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe and is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console...

    , released on November 15, 2001 in North America, was the company's first video game console. The first console to employ a hard drive right out of the box to save games, and had similar hardware specifications to a low-end desktop computer at the time of its release. Though criticized for its bulky size, which was easily twice that of the competition, as well as for the awkwardness of the original controller that shipped with it, it eventually gained popularity due in part to the success of the Halo franchise
    Halo (series)
    Halo is a multi-million dollar science fiction video game franchise created by Bungie and now managed by 343 Industries and owned by Microsoft Studios. The series centers on an interstellar war between humanity and a theocratic alliance of aliens known as the Covenant...

    . The Xbox was the first console to include an Ethernet port and offered high speed online gaming through the Xbox LIVE
    Xbox Live
    Xbox Live is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft Corporation. It is currently the only online gaming service on consoles that charges users a fee to play multiplayer gaming. It was first made available to the Xbox system in 2002...

     service.
  • The Nintendo GameCube
    Nintendo GameCube
    The , officially abbreviated to NGC in Japan and GCN in other regions, is a sixth generation video game console released by Nintendo on September 15, 2001 in Japan, November 18, 2001 in North America, May 3, 2002 in Europe, and May 17, 2002 in Australia...

    , released November 18, 2001 in North America, was Nintendo's fourth home video game console and the first console by the company to use optical media instead of cartridges. The Nintendo GameCube did not play standard 12 cm DVDs, instead employing smaller 8 cm optical discs.

Seventh generation

The features introduced in this generation include the support of new disc formats: Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the DVD format. The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs being the norm for feature-length video discs...

, utilized by the PlayStation 3, and HD DVD
HD DVD
HD DVD is a discontinued high-density optical disc format for storing data and high-definition video.Supported principally by Toshiba, HD DVD was envisioned to be the successor to the standard DVD format...

 supported by the Xbox 360 via an optional $200 external accessory addition, that was later discontinued as the format war
High definition optical disc format war
A format war took place between the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD optical disc standards for storing high definition video and audio.These standards emerged between 2000 and 2002 and attracted both the mutual and exclusive support of major consumer electronics manufacturers, personal computer...

 closed. 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.
  • Microsoft
    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

     kicked off the seventh generation with the release of the Xbox 360
    Xbox 360
    The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     released on November 22, 2005 in the US. It featured processing power never before seen until Sony rivaled back with its Playstation 3
    PlayStation 3
    The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     one year later. All Xbox 360s come with a hard drive (except for the 4GB SSD version) and additionally play DVD games as well as DVD movies out of the box. You can have up to four controllers connected to the console wirelessly on the standard 2.4 GHz spectrum. There are 3 discontinued versions of the Xbox 360: the "Arcade," the "Arcade Pro," and the "Elite." The two current shipping versions of the Xbox 360 are: a "slim" 4GB SSD version and a "slim" 250 GB HDD version. The motion gaming capabilities of this console is named "Kinect."
  • Sony's
    Sony
    , commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

     PlayStation 3
    PlayStation 3
    The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     was released in Japan on November 11, 2006, in North America on November 17, 2006 and in Europe on March 23, 2007. All PlayStation 3s come with a hard drive and are able to play Blu-ray Disc
    Blu-ray Disc
    Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the DVD format. The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs being the norm for feature-length video discs...

     games and Blu-ray Disc
    Blu-ray Disc
    Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the DVD format. The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs being the norm for feature-length video discs...

     movies out of the box. The PlayStation 3 was the first video game console to support HDMI output out of the box, utilizing full 1080p resolution. Up to seven controllers can connect to the console using Bluetooth
    Bluetooth
    Bluetooth is a proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks with high levels of security...

    . 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
    Serial ATA
    Serial ATA is a computer bus interface for connecting host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk drives and optical drives...

     drive and the system has support for removable media storage, such as Memory Stick
    Memory Stick
    Memory Stick is a removable flash memory card format, launched by Sony in October 1998, and is also used in general to describe the whole family of Memory Sticks...

    , Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, USB
    Universal Serial Bus
    USB is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and protocols used in a bus for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices....

    , SD
    Secure Digital card
    Secure Digital is a non-volatile memory card format developed by the SD Card Association for use in portable devices. The SD technology is used by more than 400 brands across dozens of product categories and more than 8,000 models, and is considered the de-facto industry standard.Secure Digital...

    , MiniSD, and CompactFlash
    CompactFlash
    CompactFlash is a mass storage device format used in portable electronic devices. Most CompactFlash devices contain flash memory in a standardized enclosure. The format was first specified and produced by SanDisk in 1994...

     (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. The motion capabilities of this console is named the "PlayStation Move." One would hold the main controller with the dominant hand and an optional second controller in the recessive hand. The "PlayStation Move's" controllers are always accurately being tracked by a camera. With recent software updates, the PlayStation 3 can play 3D Blu-ray movies and 3D games.
  • The Nintendo
    Nintendo
    is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

     Wii
    Wii
    The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

     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
    Wii Sports
    is a sports game developed and published by Nintendo as a launch title for the Wii video game console , and part of the Touch! Generations. The game was first released in North America along with the Wii on November 19, 2006, and was released in Japan, Australia, and Europe the following month...

     and Wii Sports Resort
    Wii Sports Resort
    Wii Sports Resort has received generally favorable reviews, with an average score on Metacritic of 80%. IGN gave it a 7.7 out of 10, citing the impressive fidelity of the controls and how the graphics, as compared to the majority of Wii games, were superb. GameTrailers gave an 8.6 out of 10....

     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
    Wii Remote
    The , also known as the Wiimote, is the primary controller for Nintendo's Wii console. A main feature of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via gesture recognition and pointing through the use of accelerometer and...

    , which resembles a TV remote. The system utilizes a "sensor bar" that emits infrared
    Infrared
    Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

     light that is detected by an infrared camera in the Wii Remote to determine orientation relative to the source of the light. Like Nintendo's hand-held systems, it is also backwards compatible with previous Nintendo consoles, as it is capable of playing Nintendo GameCube games and supports up to four Nintendo GameCube controllers and two memory cards. It also includes Virtual Console
    Virtual console
    A virtual console – also known as a virtual terminal – is a conceptual combination of the keyboard and display for a computer user interface. It is a feature of some operating systems such as UnixWare, Linux, and BSD, in which the system console of the computer can be used to switch between...

    , which allows the purchase and downloading of games from older systems, including those of former competitors. The latest addition to the Wii is the 'Wii Motion Plus', 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: a white one, a blue one, a black one, and a red one. All three come with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Motion Plus, a controller add-on to make the Wii Remote more accurate.

Eighth generation

Although no eighth generation video game consoles have been released yet, the Wii U has been officially announced, on June 7, 2011.

There have only been hints that the fourth Playstation
PlayStation
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

 and the third Xbox
Xbox
The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe and is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console...

 console are in development, but there have been no official announcements as of yet. There are also rumors that Microsoft is going to launch their next console between 2013 and 2015, as well as rumors that Sony is going to launch the Playstation 4 console as soon as 2015.

Bits

Each new generation of console hardware made use of the rapid development of processing technology. Newer machines could output a greater range of colors, more sprites
Sprite (computer graphics)
In computer graphics, a sprite is a two-dimensional image or animation that is integrated into a larger scene...

, and introduced graphical technologies such as scaling
Image scaling
In computer graphics, image scaling is the process of resizing a digital image. Scaling is a non-trivial process that involves a trade-off between efficiency, smoothness and sharpness. As the size of an image is increased, so the pixels which comprise the image become increasingly visible, making...

, and vector graphics
Vector graphics
Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon, which are all based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics...

. One way this increase in processing power was conveyed to consumers was through the measurement of "bit
Bit
A bit is the basic unit of information in computing and telecommunications; it is the amount of information stored by a digital device or other physical system that exists in one of two possible distinct states...

s". The TurboGrafx-16
TurboGrafx-16
TurboGrafx-16, fully titled as TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem and known in Japan as the , is a video game console developed by Hudson Soft and NEC, released in Japan on October 30, 1987, and in North America on August 29, 1989....

, Sega Genesis, and SNES were among the first consoles to advertise the fact that they contained 16-bit processors. This fourth generation of console hardware was often referred to as the 16-bit era, and the previous generation as the 8-bit.

The bit-value of a console referred to the word length of a console's processor (although the value was sometimes misused, for example the TurboGrafx 16 had only an 8-bit CPU, and the Genesis/Mega Drive had the 16/32-bit Motorola 68000
Motorola 68000
The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor...

, but both had a 16-bit dedicated graphics processor). As the graphical performance of console hardware is dependent on many factors, using bits was a crude way to gauge a console's overall ability, but served better to distinguish between generations.

Cartridges

Game cartridges consist of a printed circuit board
Printed circuit board
A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. It is also referred to as printed wiring board or etched wiring...

 housed inside of a plastic casing, with a connector allowing the device to interface with the console. The circuit board can contain a wide variety of components. All cartridge games contain at the minimum, read only memory with the software written on it. Many cartridges also carry components that increase the original console's power, such as extra RAM or a coprocessor. Components can also be added to extend the original hardware's functionality (such as gyroscopes, rumble packs
WarioWare: Twisted!
WarioWare: Twisted!, known in Japan as is a video game for Game Boy Advance by Nintendo. The game is of a variety and puzzle genre. It was released on October 14, 2004 in Japan, May 23, 2005 in North America, and May 19, 2005 in Australia. It was not released in Europe, despite having been...

, tilt-sensors
Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble
Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble, known in Japan as , is a 2000-01 action puzzle video game published and developed by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color handheld video game console. It was first released in Japan on August 23, 2000 and in North America on April 11, 2001...

, light sensors
Boktai
Boktai is a video game series developed by Konami for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS handheld consoles. The title is an abbreviation of the series' full Japanese title Bokura no Taiyō or Our Sun. They are recognized for using a solar sensor that is a key element of gameplay...

, etc.); this is more common on handheld consoles where the user does not interact with the game through a separate video game controller.

Cartridges were the first external media to be used with home consoles and remained the most common until 1995 continued improvements in capacity (Nintendo 64 being the last mainstream game console to use cartridges). Nevertheless, the relatively high manufacturing costs saw them completely replaced by optical media for home consoles by the early 21st century, although they are still in use in some handheld video game consoles.

Due to the aforementioned capabilities of cartridges such as more memory and coprocessors, those factors make it harder to reverse engineer consoles to be used on emulators.

Cards

Several consoles such as the Sega Master System
Sega Master System
The is a third-generation video game console that was manufactured and released by Sega in 1985 in Japan , 1986 in North America and 1987 in Europe....

 and the TurboGrafx-16
TurboGrafx-16
TurboGrafx-16, fully titled as TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem and known in Japan as the , is a video game console developed by Hudson Soft and NEC, released in Japan on October 30, 1987, and in North America on August 29, 1989....

 have used different types of smart cards as an external medium. These cards function similar to simple cartridges. Information is stored on a chip that is housed in plastic. Cards are more compact and simpler than cartridges, though. This makes them cheaper to produce and smaller, but limits what can be done with them. Cards cannot hold extra components, and common cartridge techniques like bank switching
Bank switching
Bank switching is a technique to increase the amount of usable memory beyond the amount directly addressable by the processor. It can be used to configure a system differently at different times; for example, a ROM required to start a system from diskette could be switched out when no longer...

 (a technique used to create very large games) were impossible to miniaturize into a card in the late 1980s.

Compact Discs reduced much of the need for cards. Optical Discs can hold more information than cards, and are cheaper to produce. The Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2 use memory cards for storage, but the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

 is currently the only modern system to use cards for game distribution. Nintendo has long used cartridges with their Game Boy line of hand held consoles because of their durability, small size, stability (not shaking and vibrating the handheld when it is in use), and low battery consumption. Nintendo switched to cards for the DS, because advances in memory technology made putting extra memory on the cartridge unnecessary. The upcoming PlayStation Vita will use proprietary flash-memory cards as one method of game distribution.

Magnetic media

Home computers have long used magnetic storage
Magnetic storage
Magnetic storage and magnetic recording are terms from engineering referring to the storage of data on a magnetized medium. Magnetic storage uses different patterns of magnetization in a magnetizable material to store data and is a form of non-volatile memory. The information is accessed using...

 devices. Both tape drives and floppy disk
Floppy disk
A floppy disk is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles...

 drives were common on early microcomputers. Their popularity is in large part because a tape drive or disk drive can write to any material it can read. However, magnetic media is volatile and can be more easily damaged than game cartridges or optical discs.

Among the first consoles to use magnetic media were the Bally Astrocade
Bally Astrocade
The Astrocade is an early video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midway, the videogame division of Bally. It was marketed only for a limited time before Bally decided to exit the market. The rights were later picked up by a third-party company, who re-released it and...

 and APF-M1000
APF-M1000
The APF-M1000 is an early 8-bit cartridge-based game console released in 1978 by APF Electronics Inc. The controllers are non-detachable joysticks which also have numeric keypads. The APF-M1000 can only be used with a color TV and comes built-in with the game Rocket Patrol...

, both of which could use cassette tapes through expansions. In Bally's case, this allowed the console to see new game development even after Bally dropped support for it. While magnetic media remained limited in use as a primary form of distribution, two popular subsequent consoles also had expansions available to allow them to use this format. The Starpath Supercharger
Starpath Supercharger
The Starpath Supercharger was an add-on module created by Starpath to expand the game capabilities of the Atari 2600 video game console. The device resembled a long game cartridge with a handle on one end. The Supercharger interface multiplied the Atari 2600's RAM 49-fold, from its meager built-in...

 can load Atari 2600 games from audio cassettes; Starpath used it to cheaply distribute their own games from 1982 to 1984 and today it is used by many programmers to test, distribute, and play homebrew software
Homebrew (video games)
Homebrew is a term frequently applied to video games or other software produced by consumers to target proprietary hardware platforms not typically user-programmable or that use proprietary storage methods...

. The Family Computer Disk System was released by Nintendo in 1985 for the Japanese market. Nintendo sold the disks cheaply and sold vending machines where customers could have new games written to their disks up to 500 times.

Optical media

In the mid-1990s, various manufacturers shifted to optical media, specifically CD-ROM, for games. Although they were slower at loading game data than the cartridges available at that time, they were significantly cheaper to manufacture and had a larger capacity than the existing cartridge technology. Commodore released the first CD-disc based Amiga CD32 in September 1993, which was also the first 32-bit game console. By the early 21st century, all of the major home consoles used optical media, usually DVD-ROM or similar disks, which are widely replacing CD-ROM for data storage. The PlayStation 3 system uses even higher-capacity Blu-ray optical discs for games and movies while the Xbox 360 formerly used HD DVD
HD DVD
HD DVD is a discontinued high-density optical disc format for storing data and high-definition video.Supported principally by Toshiba, HD DVD was envisioned to be the successor to the standard DVD format...

s in the form of an external USB player add-on for movies, before it was discontinued. However, Microsoft still supports those who bought the accessory.

Internet distribution

All three seventh generation consoles (the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360) offer some kind of Internet games distribution service, allowing users to download games for a fee onto some form of non-volatile storage, typically a hard disk or flash memory.
Recently, the console manufacturers have been taking advantage of internet distribution with games, video streaming services like Netflix
Netflix
Netflix, Inc., is an American provider of on-demand internet streaming media in the United States, Canada, and Latin America and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California...

, Hulu Plus
Hulu
Hulu is a website and over-the-top subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, and Obstacle on October 20th 2011 Nickelodeon and CBS and many other...

 and film trailers being available.
  • Microsoft's Xbox Live
    Xbox Live
    Xbox Live is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft Corporation. It is currently the only online gaming service on consoles that charges users a fee to play multiplayer gaming. It was first made available to the Xbox system in 2002...

     service includes the Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Marketplace, featuring digital distribution of classic and original titles. These include arcade classics, original titles, and games originally released on other consoles. The Xbox Live Marketplace also includes many different hit movies and trailers in high definition
    High-definition video
    High-definition video or HD video refers to any video system of higher resolution than standard-definition video, and most commonly involves display resolutions of 1,280×720 pixels or 1,920×1,080 pixels...

    , and is accessible with a Xbox Live Free Membership.
  • Sony's online game distribution is known as the PlayStation Network (PSN). It offers free online gaming, downloadable content such as classic PlayStation games, high definition
    High-definition video
    High-definition video or HD video refers to any video system of higher resolution than standard-definition video, and most commonly involves display resolutions of 1,280×720 pixels or 1,920×1,080 pixels...

     games and movie trailers, and original games such as flOw
    FlOw
    Flow is an indie video game created by Jenova Chen and Nicholas Clark. Originally released as a free Flash game in 2006 to accompany Chen's master's thesis, it was reworked into a 2007 PlayStation 3 game by his development studio, Thatgamecompany. SuperVillain Studios released a PlayStation...

     and Everyday Shooter
    Everyday Shooter
    Everyday Shooter is an independent video game developed by Canadian programmer and artist Jonathan Mak. It was released on the U.S...

     as well as some games that also release on Blu-ray Disc such as Warhawk and Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. A networking service, dubbed PlayStation Home
    PlayStation Home
    PlayStation Home is a virtual 3D social gaming network developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's London Studio for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network . It is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar under PlayStation Network. Membership is free, and only requires a PSN...

    , was released in December 2008. Sony also announced a video/movie service and music service for some time in 2008.
  • Nintendo's Virtual Console
    Virtual console
    A virtual console – also known as a virtual terminal – is a conceptual combination of the keyboard and display for a computer user interface. It is a feature of some operating systems such as UnixWare, Linux, and BSD, in which the system console of the computer can be used to switch between...

     service emulates games from previous-generation consoles and is available for both Wii and Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo also has original content available for download through its online stores, the Wii Shop Channel (WiiWare
    WiiWare
    WiiWare is a service that allows Wii users to download games and applications specifically designed and developed for the Wii video game console made by Nintendo. These games and applications can only be purchased and downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel under the WiiWare section...

    ), Nintendo DSi Shop (DSiWare) and Nintendo eShop.

See also

  • List of video game consoles
  • Console game
    Console game
    A console game is a form of interactive multimedia used for entertainment. The game consists of manipulable images generated by a video game console, and displayed on a television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected...

  • Console manufacturer
    Console manufacturer
    A console manufacturer is a company that manufactures and distributes video game consoles. It is also known as a first-party video game publisher...

  • History of video games
    History of video games
    The history of video games goes as far back as the 1940s, when in 1947 Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. and Estle Ray Mann filed a United States patent request for an invention they described as a "cathode ray tube amusement device." Video gaming would not reach mainstream popularity until the 1970s and...

  • Handheld game consoles
  • Dedicated console
    Dedicated console
    A dedicated console is a video game console that is dedicated to a built in game or games, and is not equipped for additional games, via cartridges or other media.- History :...

  • Unlockable games
    Unlockable games
    The term unlockable games refers to full video games that can be unlocked within another video game, often as easter eggs. Often these unlockable games are earlier entries in the series of the game in which they are hidden, and they become available after beating the game or meeting other...

  • Handheld TV game
    Handheld TV game
    A TV game is an interactive entertainment device designed for use on a television set that does not require the use of an actual video game console for operation...

  • Timeline of video game console releases in North America
    Timeline of video game console releases in North America
    A timeline of video game console releases in North America. See also History of video games....


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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