But beyond its hardware innovations, the Xbox 360 marked a huge software push in terms of creating an all encompassing media and gaming platform. The Xbox 360 launched with a completely revised Xbox Live online networking system, which enabled new and unprecedented ways of accessing video, audio, and game content, as well as connecting with friends. Xbox Live has since grown to be one of the most successful console-based online gaming networks ever created, with over 17 million members as of January, 2009. Through its extensive online-integration, which allows for practically boundless optimization, feature additions, and improvements, the Xbox 360 has drastically extended the lasting appeal and life expectancy of the average console.
"Before writing about games for a living, I worked full time as a technician at a cable TV company in Connecticut and was a game hobbyist on the side. When the NFL went on strike in 1982, we thought it'd be a goof to offer a "replacement" to "Monday Night Football" by getting some local kids to play Intellivision Football on our public-access channel and do play-by-play over it. When "MNF" came back on after the strike ended a couple of months later, the public-access director started getting calls asking where our "show" went, so we started doing a sports-based video-game show as a regular thing for a while, taking calls and demonstrating some of the new games. We had no idea people would be so into it."
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, and introduced graphical technologies such as scaling, and vector graphics. One way console makers marketed these advances to consumers was through the measurement of "bits". The TurboGrafx-16, Genesis, and Super NES 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, 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. For example, the NES, Commodore 64, Apple II, and Atari 2600 all used a very similar 8-bit CPU. The difference in their processing power is due to other causes. For example, the Commodore 64 contains 64 kilobytes of RAM and the Atari 2600 has much less at 128 bytes of RAM. The jump from 8-bit machines to 16-bit machines to 32-bit machines made a noticeable difference in performance, so consoles from certain generations are frequently referred to as 8-bit or 16-bit consoles. However, the "bits" in a console are no longer a major factor in their performance. The Nintendo 64, for example, has been outpaced by several 32-bit machines. Aside from some "128 Bit" advertising slogans at the beginning of the sixth generation, marketing with bits largely stopped after the fifth generation.
Some viewers also thought we should have installed components onto the motherboard before screwing it into the tower. We have done that in the past, but it's not usually necessary—this case provides plenty of room to maneuver inside, so it wasn't difficult to install the memory, the CPU, and the cooler while the board was already inside in the chassis. In my opinion, it also helps give a better idea of cabling if everything is already in the case.
This list does not include other types of video game consoles such as handheld game consoles, which are usually of lower computational power than home consoles due to their smaller size, microconsoles, which are usually low-cost Android-based devices that rely on downloading, or dedicated consoles past the First Generation, which have games built in and do not use any form of physical media. Consoles have been redesigned from time to time to improve their market appeal. Redesigned models are not listed on their own.
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"The N64 was a bit of a dud, but I was still stoked about GameCube's release when I was a senior in high school in 2001 (especially with that big, ugly black and green box coming out in the same week). The console went underappreciated for its entire lifecycle, but I never understood why. By the time I was a young college student, I dumped hundreds of hours into the likes of Eternal Darkness, Wind Waker, Viewtiful Joe and, of course, Resident Evil 4. Thankfully, my grades didn't suffer as a result."