Aside from the usual hardware enhancements, consoles of the eighth generation focus on further integration with other media and increased connectivity.[58] The Wii U introduced a controller/tablet hybrid whose features include the possibility of augmented reality in gaming.[59] The PlayStation 4 is Sony's eighth generation console, featuring a "share" button to stream video game content between devices, released on November 15, 2013. Microsoft released their next generation console, the Xbox One, on November 22, 2013.[60] On March 3, 2017, following poor sales of the Wii U, Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch, a 'hybrid' console consisting of a tablet with controller attachments that can be used as a mobile device or connected to a television via a dock.
The first handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges was the Microvision designed by Smith Engineering, and distributed and sold by Milton-Bradley in 1979. Crippled by a small, fragile LCD display and a very narrow selection of games, it was discontinued two years later. The Epoch Game Pocket Computer was released in Japan in 1984. The Game Pocket Computer featured an LCD screen with 75 X 64 resolution and could produce graphics at about the same level as early Atari 2600 games. The system sold very poorly, and as a result, only five games were made for it. Nintendo's Game & Watch series of dedicated game systems proved more successful. It helped to establish handheld gaming as popular and lasted until 1991. Many Game & Watch games were later re-released on Nintendo's subsequent handheld systems.
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.
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.
Several consoles such as the Master System and the TurboGrafx-16 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 (a technique used to create very large games) were impossible to miniaturize into a card in the late 1980s.[84][85] 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 PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch are currently the only modern systems 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 starting with the DS, because advances in memory technology made putting extra memory on the cartridge unnecessary.[86] The PlayStation Vita uses Sony's own proprietary flash-memory Vita cards as one method of game distribution.[87]
All major gaming consoles give you an impressive mix of cross-platform and exclusive games, from Gears of War to Fifa 16. If you’re keen on multiplayer action, the Xbox offers you Xbox Live, allowing you to hook up online with the worldwide Xbox player community. Across all of our major gaming consoles, jaw-dropping graphics combine with substantial system memory so you can download and store games, videos, music and more for a complete home entertainment system.
Another option is local multiplayer. You can play using two TVs in a single location or using the split-screen feature on a single TV. Many modern games don’t support local multiplayer on a single TV, as it consumes too much processing power to render a game twice over on one screen. However, Nintendo continues to create games and consoles that can abide by this option, making its consoles great for local gaming.
With it, you can browse games in the Official PlayStation Store, which has access to over 500 titles for when you need something new to play. You’ll have access to cross-platform titles, indie games and re-releases from past consoles along with more exclusive titles than any other console on the market, including Uncharted, Spider-Man and Driveclub. Though the console is the largest on the market, its modern design makes it look slim. Plus, its matte black exterior helps it blend in with your other electronics. It ships with a 1TB hard drive, though you can opt to upgrade it to 2TB or plug in an external hard drive. Inside, you’ll find a 2.1GHz eight-core AMD Jaguar CPU and a 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon-based graphics card, which is paired with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The powerful system consistently maintains 1080p output and high frame rates. The updated DualShock 4 controller boasts Bluetooth connectivity and can charge via micro-USB so you aren’t permanently tethered to your console. The glowing light bar located along the front of each controller helps identify player one from player two, and even adds a little atmospheric lighting. New features on the controller include a capacitive touch pad, a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in speaker and a dedicated screen capture button for saving screenshots and sharing them online.
Nintendo understands that not all consoles are meant for the living room. The current-gen handheld consoles include the New Nintendo 2DS and 3DS XL, as well as the Nintendo Switch. Though the hardware of the DS XLs isn’t comparable to traditional consoles, they allow you to game wherever you are. You can play AAA titles on them, and some even allow for 3D gameplay. If you want something more powerful and versatile, which allows for handheld gameplay as well as traditional couch-and-TV-based gaming, for both solo and multiplayer fun, go with the Switch.
For most gamers, a functional console, a comfortable place to sit and a steady supply of new games is all they need. Other gamers, however, have discovered that they want more, like a community built around gaming – a place where video game lovers can come together to share strategies alongside tales of victory and failure, and maybe even some laughs along the way. Luckily, such a place exists: the internet.
Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (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 (Coleco Telstar) 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, the RCA Studio II and the Atari 2600 (originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System), respectively.
The VES continued to be sold at a profit after 1977, and both Bally (with their Home Library Computer in 1977) and Magnavox (with the Odyssey² in 1978) brought their own programmable cartridge-based consoles to the market. However, it was not until Atari released a conversion of the golden age arcade hit Space Invaders in 1980 for the Atari 2600 that the home console industry took off. Many consumers bought an Atari console so they could play Space Invaders at home. The unprecedented success of Space Invaders 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 (e.g. ColecoVision) 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.
Nintendo launched the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection alongside the Wii and Nintendo DS, which utilized GameSpy's servers to offer free online multiplayer. In addition, Nintendo's Wii Shop Channel allowed for the digital distribution of downloadable games, emulated titles, and Wii applications known as "Channels", which provided functionality such as access to Netflix, YouTube and an Internet browser, as well as online-enabled contests such as the Check Mii Out Channel and Everybody Votes Channel. Nintendo's WiiConnect24 service offered information and videos of upcoming software through the Wii's downloadable Nintendo Channel, which also allowed users to download demos from the Wii console to a nearby Nintendo DS through a local wireless connection. Other WiiConnect24 services included dedicated channels for weather and news. WiiConnect24 also enabled a message board that allowed a connected Wii to receive messages from games, installed Channels and other users' consoles. In the summer of 2014, these services were discontinued, reportedly to let developers work harder on Wii U functionality. In 2018, the Wii Shop Channel was discontinued, ending digital distribution of Virtual Console games, WiiWare, and Wii Channels to Wii consoles.
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