The features introduced in this generation include the support of new disc formats: Blu-ray Disc, utilized by the PlayStation 3, and HD DVD supported by the Xbox 360 via an optional $200 external accessory addition, that was later discontinued as the format war 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. This generation also introduced the Nintendo DS, and the Nintendo DSi, which brought touchscreens into the mainstream for and added cameras to portable gaming.
The sales showed it as well, with the first true console war ending in an important Nintendo victory on both the hardware and software front. The Super NES's library was the start, or continuation in some cases, of franchises that are still alive and well today both on a first party and third party front – proof of its legacy. The Super NES controller laid groundwork for the now-mainstream four-button face of both the PlayStation and Xbox controllers, and the experimental first steps into 3D gaming (both real and faked via the FX chip and Mode 7 technology respectively) laid the groundwork for the industry’s future.
The PlayStation 3 may still be coming into its own, but it has already had a great number of titles see their release on the system and, along with the Xbox 360, it has helped completely redefine what people think about gaming in terms of online accessibility and functionality. Gone are the days when everything you played on a console was burned onto a disc. Online systems like the PlayStation Network have introduced the ability to buy and play complete games without having to leave your couch, not to mention the advent of downloadable content that can expand games exponentially.
Meanwhile, the commercial failure of the Virtual Boy reportedly did little to alter Nintendo's development approach and focus on innovation. According to Game Over, Nintendo laid blame for the machine's faults directly on its creator, Gunpei Yokoi. The commercial failure of the Virtual Boy was said by members of the video game press to be a contributing factor to Yokoi's withdrawal from Nintendo, although he had planned to retire years prior and finished another more successful project for the company, the Game Boy Pocket, which was released shortly before his departure.
The Wii console is highly family friendly. So it’s one of the best consoles to enjoy playing games with kids. Wii has many exclusive titles, and the controller comes with different variations. You can buy different types of controllers to improve the interactivity of games. For example, you can get a controller shaped like a steering wheel to play racing games. You even get free games with an original purchase. Wii is super fun to use and the whole family can join in. It’s still one of the few consoles that promote physical activity with games.
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Despite its narrow mass audience, the Master System had -- and still has -- a very loyal fan base. Thankfully, the thumping SEGA received with the Master System did not daunt its quest for the living room, leading to the Genesis, which corrected most of the Master System's mistakes and gave Nintendo a run for its money for the majority of the 16-bit generation.
For handheld game consoles, the seventh generation began with the release of the Nintendo DS on November 21, 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 December 12, 2004, Sony released its first handheld, PlayStation Portable (PSP). 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 April 3, 2008. Other less-popular handheld systems released during this generation include the Gizmondo (launched on March 19, 2005 and discontinued in February 2006) and the GP2X (launched on November 10, 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.
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. NEC released the first CD-based gaming system, the TurboGrafx-CD (an add-on for the TurboGrafx-16), in December 4, 1988 in Japan and August 1, 1990 in the United States. Sega followed suit with the Sega CD (an add-on for the Sega Genesis) in Japan on December 12, 1991; Commodore stepped into the ring shortly after with the Amiga-CD32, the first 32-bit game console, on September 17, 1993. During the later half of the 1990s, optical media began to supplant cartridges due to their greater storage capacity and cheaper manufacturing costs, with the CD-based PlayStation significantly outpacing the cartridge-based Nintendo 64 in terms of sales. By the early 21st century, all of the major home consoles used optical media, usually DVD-ROM or similar discs, which are widely replacing CD-ROM for data storage. The PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One systems use even higher-capacity Blu-ray optical discs for games and movies, while the Xbox 360 formerly used HD DVDs in the form of an external USB player add-on for video playback before it was discontinued. However, Microsoft still supports those who bought the accessory. Nintendo's GameCube, Wii, and Wii U, meanwhile, use proprietary disc formats based on then-current industry standard discs—the GameCube's discs are based on mini-DVDs, the Wii's on DVDs and the Wii U's are believed to be based on Blu-rays. These discs offer somewhat smaller storage capacities compared to the formats they are based on, though the difference is significantly smaller compared to the gap between the N64's cartridges and CDs.
The death of the Sega Dreamcast was one of the biggest heartbreaks in gaming history and the end of the Sega era. The promising console had a huge marketing campaign and was released on 09/09/99, but slowly died due to its massive price cuts and competition with Sony’s PS2. Still, it left behind some great games and memories that will never be forgotten.
The term "video game console" is primarily used to distinguish a console machine primarily designed for consumers to use for playing video games, in contrast to arcade machines or home computers. An arcade machine consists of a video game computer, display, game controller (joystick, buttons, etc.) and speakers housed in large chassis. A home computer is a personal computer designed for home use for a variety of purposes, such as bookkeeping, accessing the Internet and playing video games. While arcades and computers are generally expensive or highly “technical” devices, video game consoles were designed with affordability and accessibility to the general public in mind.