Unlike similar consumer electronics such as music players and movie players, which use industry-wide standard formats, video game consoles use proprietary formats which compete with each other for market share.[1] There are various types of video game consoles, including home video game consoles, handheld game consoles, microconsoles and dedicated consoles. Although Ralph Baer had built working game consoles by 1966, it was nearly a decade before the Pong game made them commonplace in regular people's living rooms. Through evolution over the 1990s and 2000s, game consoles have expanded to offer additional functions such as CD players, DVD players, Blu-ray disc players, web browsers, set-top boxes and more.
The first fifth-generation consoles were the Amiga CD32, 3DO and the Atari Jaguar. Although all three consoles were more powerful than the fourth generation systems, none of them would become serious threats to Sega or Nintendo. The 3DO initially generated a great deal of hype in part because of a licensing scheme where 3DO licensed the manufacturing of its console out to third parties, similar to VCR or DVD players. However, unlike its competitors who could sell their consoles at a loss, all 3DO manufacturers had to sell for profit. The Jaguar had three processors and no C libraries to help developers cope with it. Atari was ineffective at courting third parties and many of their first party games were poorly received. Many of the Jaguar's games used mainly the slowest (but most familiar) of the console's processors, resulting in titles that could easily have been released on the SNES or Genesis.
Nintendo is the obvious choice for family-friendly gaming. It’s known for the kid-safe titles in its library, like the Mario, Donkey Kong and Pokémon franchises as well as other arcade classics that typically don’t have unsavory content. The Nintendo Switch also has a ton of exclusive and indie titles available that kids should enjoy, although it is slightly pricier than the DS consoles. The Switch supports both solo and multiplayer gaming on its small screen, and you can choose to play it on your TV or handheld on the go. With their small designs and simple interfaces, the Nintendo consoles are great options for younger kids.

Whether you prefer sports, war simulation or racing; you’ll find the titles will keep you entertained with our range of PSP, Xbox, Playstation and PC games. Find all the accessories you need to complete your gaming experience from headphones and headsets to gaming chairs, controllers and memory cards. Not forgetting the consoles themselves, shop for a PS3, Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii or if retro gaming is more your thing, a SNES or N64.
Nowadays, Nintendo has a reputation for creating strange-looking and -functioning consoles. Even those that were somewhat a commercial failure (we’re looking at you, Wii U) were innovative in their own right. While the Nintendo 64 certainly marked a jump in technological performance, the GameCube was the first of the brand’s consoles to have an appearance as out-there as its performance. That was bolstered by the unique use of mini-optical discs in place of cartridges, an incredibly odd yet effective controller design, and a carry handle mounted to the back of the device for simple portability. Still, in spite of its esoteric format, it featured some of the best games to come out at the time.
While Microsoft’s first attempt at a console was a valiant effort, the original Xbox was an insanely bulky and heavy brick that definitely scored at the bottom when it came to looks. The follow-up 360, however, took everything that was great about the first iteration and improved upon it – including a complete aesthetic makeover. This console was to the Playstation 3 what the Genesis was to the SNES, only more so – because it actually got a lot of loyal Sony fans to switch over to Xbox. Unfortunately, the 360’s relative flop of a successor would all but reverse the script back in Sony’s favor. Still, the 360 is Microsoft’s crowning achievement in the gaming console wars and will certainly go down as one of the best consoles ever – despite the “red ring of death” that plagued so many of the systems.
The strategy worked. The Wii isn't much more advanced than the GameCube, but the controller – a device Nintendo has stated began as a GameCube peripheral – has converted millions of casual gamers to become system owners. The idea of bundling Wii Sports with the system was an incredibly smart move, as people immediately understood what the Wii was and what it could do in a simple to play, well designed experience.

The Atari 7800 was a sleek and capable videogame console released in 1986. While it had a solid offering of its own games, the 7800 featured a prime system feature: full, built-in compatibility with the Atari 2600. While consoles of the past could play Atari 2600 games through the use of an optional adapter, the 7800 accepted these cartridges right in the main slot and played them without any extra add-ons.


"Not since the launch of the Dreamcast had I been as excited to get a new console as I was when the Wii debuted. It looked fresh -- and fresh was definitely something I needed. (Let's face it, how many games have felt truly "new" since the original Jet Set Radio?) I still believe in the machine and think hardcore gamers don't give it the respect it deserves, partially due to loads of shovelware (that Nintendo should have pushed back against from Day One), but also partly because it's easy to poke fun of it. Waggle is for teh babys. Haha. Oh well. It's their loss because there truly are some magnificent videogames on the Wii."
In 1990, Nintendo finally brought their Super Famicom to market and brought it to the United States as the Super NES (SNES) a year later. Its release marginalized the TurboGrafx and the Neo Geo, but came late enough for Sega to sell several million consoles in North America and gain a strong foothold. The same year the SNES was released Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog, which spiked Genesis sales, similar to Space Invaders on the Atari. Also, by 1992 the first fully licensed NFL Football game was released: NFL Sports Talk Football '93, which was available only on the Genesis. This impact on Genesis sales and the overall interest of realistic sports games would start the trend of licensed sports games being viewed as necessary for the success of a console in the US. While Nintendo enjoyed dominance in Japan and Sega in Europe, the competition between the two was particularly fierce and close in North America. Ultimately, the SNES outsold the Genesis, but only after Sega discontinued the Genesis to focus on the next generation of consoles.

To compete with emerging next gen consoles, Nintendo released Donkey Kong Country which could display a wide range of tones (something common in fifth-generation games) by limiting the number of hues onscreen, and Star Fox which used an extra chip inside of the cartridge to display polygon graphics. Sega followed suit, releasing Vectorman and Virtua Racing (the latter of which used the Sega Virtua Processor). Sega also released the 32X, an add-on for the Genesis, while their Sega Saturn was still in development. Despite public statements from Sega claiming that they would continue to support the Genesis/32X throughout the next generation, Sega Enterprises forced Sega of America to abandon the 32X. The 32X's brief and confusing existence damaged public perception of the coming Saturn and Sega as a whole.

If you really want to take the next step and become part of the game itself, enter the realm of virtual reality. Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR are two popular options that will put you in the centre of immersive, realistic game environments like you’ve never seen before. Explore vivid worlds as if you were really there, with full 360 degrees of freedom.
*”$15 Starts any new agreement” or “$15 pays your first week” offer is valid only on new agreements entered into 1/27/19-2/23/19. Customers eligible for this offer will pay $15 for the initial rental period until first renewal, up to seven days. Offer does not include tax and fees and charges you may incur. Customer must pay processing fee of $25 in California & New York and $10 in Hawaii. After the first week, regular rental rates will apply. Regular rate, term and total cost vary by item selected. Offers will not reduce the total amount necessary to acquire ownership or purchase-option amounts. Cannot be combined with any other promotion. Participating locations only. See Store Manager for complete details.
Your processor can be a bottleneck for gaming, but as long as you hit a certain performance minimum, which many modern CPUs do, it's other components that are more likely to hold you back. Recent processors are more efficient than ever, with a much more capable baseline than the average CPUs of the past. For this build, we went with an eighth-generation ("Coffee Lake") Intel Core i5-8400 CPU for $179, which is more than powerful enough for mainstream gaming.
*”$15 Starts any new agreement” or “$15 pays your first week” offer is valid only on new agreements entered into 1/27/19-2/23/19. Customers eligible for this offer will pay $15 for the initial rental period until first renewal, up to seven days. Offer does not include tax and fees and charges you may incur. Customer must pay processing fee of $25 in California & New York and $10 in Hawaii. After the first week, regular rental rates will apply. Regular rate, term and total cost vary by item selected. Offers will not reduce the total amount necessary to acquire ownership or purchase-option amounts. Cannot be combined with any other promotion. Participating locations only. See Store Manager for complete details.
Whether you prefer sports, war simulation or racing; you’ll find the titles will keep you entertained with our range of PSP, Xbox, Playstation and PC games. Find all the accessories you need to complete your gaming experience from headphones and headsets to gaming chairs, controllers and memory cards. Not forgetting the consoles themselves, shop for a PS3, Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii or if retro gaming is more your thing, a SNES or N64.

NEC had a hit on its hands in Japan with the PC Engine in 1987, a console that regularly outsold the Famicom (the Japanese NES) and wanted to replicate that success in America. So it turned to a marketing company to repackage the underpowered 16-bit machine and go head-to-head with the dominant players in America: Nintendo and SEGA. Perhaps it was the lack of third-party support. Perhaps it was the absolutely goofy inter-capped name TurboGrafx-16. Whatever the culprit, the Turbo just never made a dent in the American market.

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.

Order the Xbox One S Battlefield V Bundle and enter mankind's greatest conflict: World War 2. Join the ranks with a full-game download of Battlefield V Deluxe Edition containing paratrooper apparel for your Company of soldiers, special assignments, and weekly Airlifts. Plus, enjoy an outstanding Battlefield experience with full-game downloads of Battlefield 1943, Battlefield 1 Revolution, and one-month EA Access.
"5 stars...Love it...I called microsoft and they shipped me a new one (same as the one included) and I got it two weeks later with no hassle or extra charge so i'm happy with the console and the customer support!...I can't believe I waited to buy the Xbox One X. I already owned a 4k tv but didn't realize how amazing games and movies would look through the One X. Only 4 stars bc I'm not a big fan of battlefield."

^ Jump up to: a b Ricciardi, John (October 1, 2002). "Hands-On With Bandai's SwanCrystal ; Move over, Game Boy Advance - there's a new bird in town". Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM Media Group (159): 58. ISSN 1058-918X. On July 12, toy giant Bandai unleashed a third iteration (in stylish red and blue models) of their handheld WonderSwan system, the new-and- improved SwanCrystal, in Japan.
Pre-order the Xbox One S Minecraft Creators Bundle (1TB) and be part of a worldwide phenomenon. Jam-packed with a full-game download plus popular content from Minecraft community creators, the bundle includes the Xbox One S console with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, 4K video streaming, and a wireless controller. Play Minecraft with friends! Build, dig, and craft together with friends who are on PC, mobile, VR, and console.
Matthew Buzzi is a Hardware Analyst at PCMag, focusing on laptops and desktops with a specialty in gaming systems and games. Matthew earned a degree in Mass Communications/Journalism and interned for a college semester at Kotaku, writing about gaming before turning it into part of his career. He spends entirely too much time on Twitter (find him @M... See Full Bio

We researched and evaluated seven gaming consoles to recommend the best ones for your family gaming and entertainment needs. Our overall winner is the Xbox One X. The console has a full artillery of features, powerful hardware and a large selection of current and backwards-compatible games that are fun for new and seasoned gamers of all ages to enjoy. With the Xbox One X, you have access to free apps for streaming videos, listening to music, watching sports, getting gaming news and even chatting online. 
We all remember our first videogame console -- the moment we brought it home, the first time we powered it on, and the instant we first played a game that radiated our screen with beautiful graphic goodness. If you're anything like us, your first console was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and what began as a one-system household quickly evolved into a gamer's Mecca with consoles littering your living room. In the spirit of our healthy gaming obsession, IGN has forged a list of the Top 25 Videogame Consoles of All Time, where we have selected and ranked the most influential systems in the history of gaming to be revealed five consoles at a time for five straight days. While it may seem like a simple task on paper, sifting through 37+ years of console history for the best and brightest, while getting IGN's editorial staff to agree on one comprehensive list was an undertaking for the ages.
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.

The  truth is as well that the PS4 Pro comes incredibly close to taking the Xbox One X's throne, despite not technically being as powerful in terms of raw processing power. That's because while it can't deliver native 4K resolutions, it does have an ace up its sleeve - it's ability to power PlayStation VR, adding in virtual reality gaming. This, on top of arguably an even greater gaming ecosystem that Xbox, makes it a very worthy contender to the best games console throne.


The first fifth-generation consoles were the Amiga CD32, 3DO and the Atari Jaguar. Although all three consoles were more powerful than the fourth generation systems, none of them would become serious threats to Sega or Nintendo. The 3DO initially generated a great deal of hype in part because of a licensing scheme where 3DO licensed the manufacturing of its console out to third parties, similar to VCR or DVD players. However, unlike its competitors who could sell their consoles at a loss, all 3DO manufacturers had to sell for profit. The Jaguar had three processors and no C libraries to help developers cope with it. Atari was ineffective at courting third parties and many of their first party games were poorly received. Many of the Jaguar's games used mainly the slowest (but most familiar) of the console's processors, resulting in titles that could easily have been released on the SNES or Genesis.
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