The Nintendo Switch won our testers over with its lightweight feel, “perfect” size, and “amazing” library of games. “It's like having a modern Game Boy but with better games and graphics,” raved one of our reviewers. Our testers also loved that it easily connects to the TV and has an extensive battery life. One of our reviewers declared, “For a casual gamer, you don't need any other consoles.” You’ll need to buy a memory card, though, according to our testers, as space for downloaded games is limited.
The Odyssey initially sold about 100,000 units, making it moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By autumn 1975, Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of Pong, canceled the Odyssey and released a scaled-down version that played only Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added on-screen scoring, up to four players, and a third game—Smash. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. All three of the new consoles used simpler designs than the original Odyssey did with no board game pieces or extra cartridges. In the years that followed, the market saw many companies rushing similar consoles to market. After General Instrument released their inexpensive microchips, each containing a complete console on a single chip, many small developers began releasing consoles that looked different externally, but internally were playing exactly the same games. Most of the consoles from this era were dedicated consoles playing only the games that came with the console. These video game consoles were often just called video games because there was little reason to distinguish the two yet. While a few companies like Atari, Magnavox, and newcomer Coleco pushed the envelope, the market became flooded with simple, similar video games.
^ Pereira, Joseph (November 16, 1992). "Technology (A Special Report): At Our Leisure --- (Not So) Great Expectations: Hand-held Video Games Will Get Better, But Big Improvements May Take a While". The Wall Street Journal. p. R10. ISSN 0099-9660. Meanwhile, Nintendo, the first on the market with its black-and-white Game Boy, has sold approximately 7.5 million portable systems, analysts estimate. Sega has sold about 1.6 million units of its color Game Gear system, while Atari Inc. has sold about one million units of its $99 Lynx color portable system.
^ Mehegan, David (May 8, 1988). "Putting Coleco Industries Back Together". The Boston Globe. p. A1. ISSN 0743-1791. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). When the game [Telstar] crashed hard, earnings fell 50 percent in 1977 and the company lost $22 million in 1978, barely skirting bankruptcy after Handel -- then chief financial officer -- found new credit and mollified angry creditors after months of tough negotiation.
"The N64 and its flagship game Mario 64 hold a special place in my heart as they are what initially led me to (what would become) IGN. I got the system and game my freshmen year of college and my buddies and I would hole up in my dorm room, methodically trying to collect every star. We found out you could find game help on this fantastic new resource called The Internet, and an AltaVista search for "Mario 64" returned N64.com, which is where IGN got its start. "
The Atari 7800 was originally designed to succeed the Atari 5200 in 1984, but the system's launch was shelved when Atari was sold to new owners who wanted to focus on the computer market instead. The console was, instead, officially launched two years later in response to Nintendo and SEGA entering the US home console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System and Master System respectively. Many of the console's planned features, such as a high score saving cartridge, were never released.
During the sixth generation era, the handheld game console market expanded with the introduction of new devices from many different manufacturers. Nintendo maintained its dominant share of the handheld market with the release in 2001 of the Game Boy Advance, which featured many upgrades and new features over the Game Boy. Two redesigns of this system followed, the Game Boy Advance SP in 2003 and the Game Boy Micro in 2005. Also introduced were the Neo Geo Pocket Color in 1998 and Bandai's WonderSwan Color, launched in Japan in 1999. South Korean company Game Park introduced its GP32 handheld in 2001, and with it came the dawn of open source handheld consoles. The Game Boy Advance line of handhelds has sold 81.51 million units worldwide as of September 30, 2010.
First released in Japan on October 21, 1998, the Game Boy Color (abbreviated as GBC) added a (slightly smaller) color screen to a form factor similar in size to the Game Boy Pocket. It also has double the processor speed, three times as much memory, and an infrared communications port. Technologically, it was likened to the 8-bit NES video game console from the 1980s although the Game Boy Color has a much larger color palette (56 simultaneous colors out of 32,768 possible) which had some classical NES ports and newer titles. It comes in seven different colors; Clear purple, purple, red, blue, green, yellow and silver for the Pokémon edition. Like the Game Boy Light, the Game Boy Color takes on two AA batteries. It was the final handheld to have 8-bit graphics.
The massive popularity of Let's Plays on YouTube and game streaming on Twitch has brought capturing game footage to the mainstream, so both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 feature built-in capture options. The Kinect lets you record clips just by saying "Xbox, record that," and thanks to the latest update you can easily capture what you're playing just by double-tapping the Xbox button on your gamepad and pressing X or Y to save a screenshot or video clip. You can also snap the Game DVR app to the side of the screen to record up to five minutes of footage on demand.
The Switch also has the advantage of third-party controllers. The PS4 and Xbox One are very dedicated to their first-party gamepads, with only a few third-party wired options available unless you want to shell out a significant amount of money for a SCUF or Evil Controllers product. The Switch features the first-party option of the excellent Switch Pro Controller, which feels very similar to the Xbox One wireless controller, and works with third-party gamepads from 8Bitdo and Hori. The ability to switch out your Joy-Cons for an 8Bitdo SN30 Pro or Switch Pro Controller is a huge boon, along with the sheer flexibility afforded by the Joy-Cons themselves.
At one point in the 1980s the video game industry was dying from over saturation until Nintendo took a chance with its first console: the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo set its sights on making sure that third-party developers were licensed and abided by strict rules like releasing two games a year to prevent “shovelware” and prohibiting those games on other consoles. It worked.
With the Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4; console gaming has entered a new level of visual fidelity and online play. Games on the Xbox One console and the PS4 console are bigger, more immersive and more graphically stunning than ever before. Now, with the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, you can enjoy even better graphics and processing power. Nintendo’s current console, the Switch, may not pack the same graphical punch, but has been enormously successful thanks to a stellar line up of games and the fact it can be used as a home console and a handheld.
A major new addition to the market was the trend for corporations to include a large number of "non-gaming" features into their handheld consoles, including cell phones, MP3 players, portable movie players, and PDA-like features. The handheld that started this trend was Nokia's N-Gage, which was released in 2003 and doubled primarily as a mobile phone. It went through a redesign in 2004 and was renamed the N-Gage QD. A second handheld, the Zodiac from Tapwave, was released in 2004; based on the Palm OS, it offered specialized gaming-oriented video and sound capabilities, but it had an unwieldy development kit due to the underlying Palm OS foundation. With more and more PDAs arriving during the previous generation, the difference between consumer electronics and traditional computing began to blur and cheap console technology grew as a result. It was said of PDAs that they were "the computers of handheld gaming" because of their multi-purpose capabilities and the increasingly powerful computer hardware that resided within them. This capability existed to move gaming beyond the last generation's 16-bit limitations; however, PDAs were still geared towards the typical businessman and lacked new, affordable software franchises to compete with dedicated handheld gaming consoles.
"i love...5 Star...While the ps4 platform itself is a great technological advancement I don't agree with the fact that you buy a game cd for $40 or $50 but then have to pay an additional fee to enjoy playing online with your friends personally I think that is a little ridiculous I appreciate that it's internet capable but I don't agree with having to pay for online gaming after so much money has already been shelled out...Have had a PlayStation 4 for about a year and just bought a new one for gift because to me it beats out both the Xbox One and Wii U, which I also own, and the base PS4 is a great starter console for younger players."
The Master System was essentially a conduit for SEGA to get its arcade hits into the home. Even though the Master System did not have the horsepower to completely replicate the experience of SEGA's enviable stable of arcade smashes like OutRun and Space Harrier, there was no other place to play these games outside of an arcade. But SEGA also released plenty of great, original games for the console over its lifespan, including Alex Kidd in Miracle World and one of the greatest role-playing games of all-time, Phantasy Star. However, thanks to Nintendo's iron-grip agreements, few third-party publishers ever supported the machine and software came out at a very frustrating pace. Months could go by between major releases and that made a dud on the Master System feel even more painful.
NEC brought the first fourth-generation console to market with their PC Engine (or TurboGrafx16) when Hudson Soft approached them with an advanced graphics chip. Hudson had previously approached Nintendo, only to be rebuffed by a company still raking in the profits of the NES. The TurboGrafx used the unusual HuCard format to store games. The small size of these proprietary cards allowed NEC to re-release the console as a handheld game console. The PC Engine enjoyed brisk sales in Japan, but its North American counterpart, the TurboGrafx, lagged behind the competition. The console never saw an official release in Europe, but clones and North American imports were available in some markets starting in 1990. NEC advertised their console as "16-bit" to highlight its advances over the NES. This started the trend of all subsequent fourth generations consoles being advertised as 16 bit. Many people still refer to this generation as the 16-bit generation and often refer to the third generation as "8-bit".