A console for video games is a computer system that is customized and produces a signal on a video-display. It is used along with a displaying device like a monitor in order to display the game on a video. Most people in the world, who are interested in this form of entertainment, opt to use video game consoles. For this reason, 75% of the world gaming market in 2007 consisted of video game consoles. They have a rich history since they have constantly developed over time. Their development can be divided into generations, each representing a significant development in the consoles.

The first games with the use of computers appeared in 1950 and were mainly using vector displays instead of analog video. The first console with video for playing games at home, which could be connected to a TV set, was released by Magnavox, a US electronics company, in 1972. It went by name of Magnavox Odyssey whose inventor was Ralph Baer. When The Odyssey reached the market, its success became limited. This was because video games were not yet popular among the people. People only began to realize and take note in the video games when Atari’s arcade, pong game, popularized them. Since Pong seemed to be popular, Magnavox cancelled the existing version of Odyssey and opted to release another version. This version was scaled down and only played hockey and pong (American Art Museum 2012). This went by the name Odyssey 100. The version of Odyssey 200 appeared with a higher end console that added option for onscreen scoring. Smash was a third revision of game that was released with the pong home console. Soon the market flooded with these dedicated consoles. They played pong and other games which came from pong. This marked the first generation of video consoles.

The consoles of the first generation were not cartridge based, and those that had cartridges were lacking information in them. In 1976, the first cartridge based video consoles were released by fair child. It went by name as the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES). The microprocessor used by VES was programmable. Therefore, to store microprocessor instructions, the cartridge required the single ROM chip only. In order to keep up with the changing times, Atari and RCA Came up with their own version of cartridge based console and released it on the market. This shows that any technology that occurred in the industry was taken by all the firms present (Winter 1966). Otherwise, their products would be rendered obsolete and cause them to suffer losses. It was a race, and all these companies had to keep up with it. This is because the consumers always kept updated on any changes that occurred with consoles.

There was a game video crash in 1977. This is because the manufacturers of old and obsolete consoles flooded the market with cheap products. They did this to clear their stock since their products were outdated. This caused the companies which were manufacturing consoles to suffer losses. Therefore, they could not keep up with the competition. Fairchild had to close down altogether with RCA. However, Magnavox and Atari were able to survive in the market despite their losses in the 1977/1978 period. This crash of the market got revived by Atari (Experts 2009). They came up with space invaders in 1980. This was a conversion of the arcade hit. This success of space traders prompted the manufacturers of consoles to obtain exclusive rights for their own arcade title. It also affected the advertisement trends in the industry since the firms discovered that there was a whopping future in this industry. In the early 1980’s Atari dominated the consoles’ market. However, other companies were now introducing their own video games consoles. Many of such consoles they released were superior to Atari 2600. Still, Atari leads in the market due to its prior advantage of the popularity. They were the embodiment of the second generation of consoles.

In 1983, there was another video game crash. This time, it was of a higher intensity. The small companies were coming up with video games of low quality and flooding the market with them. Atari hyped games, such as E. T and yet, they were received without enthusiasm. This caused the consumers to lose their faith in the consoles. Therefore, most of the companies involved suffered losses (The Game Console 2010). Most of the small companies shut down, which is a result of bankruptcy. Mattel electronics, which were in the business sold their rights for Intel vision system to INTV Corporation. Thereafter, INTV continued to develop the new games until 1991. By 1984, all the other game consoles discontinued in North America.

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The family computer (Famicom) was released in Japan in 1983. This was done by Nintendo. It supported high resolutions as well as titled backgrounds. Therefore, Famicom games were longer and had graphics which were more detailed. Nintendo then decided to bring their version of Famicom to the United States. However, video games entertainments were viewed as outdated in the US. Therefore, Nintendo brought it to them in style. They sold this as if it were a toy and packaged it with a super Mario brothers’ game. Just similarly to space invaders of 1980, Nintendo revived the industry of video games. New consoles versions were now introduced in the market, therefore, and most companies opted to go back to the industry. Companies like Sega’s Master system tried compete with Nintendo in the United States but to no avail. Nintendo had a tremendously successful period. It marked the third generation of computers.

Sega gained tremendously gained market by releasing the fourth generation console called the Mega Drive/Genesis. It appeared in Japan in 1988, and the US in 1989. This game had increased space for storage since Sega introduced the option of Mega CD. They later introduced the 32x, which had a feature of consoles of the fifth generation. It added some functionality of the processing, which could be found in the fifth generation of consoles. The peripheral, however, was a colossal failure in the fourth generation machine, since there was no software support. Significant developments had not yet occurred in the software industry. Furthermore, developers only focused on powerful machines. This included Saturn which followed suit after a short time.

Atari Jaguar and 3 DO were the fifth generation of consoles. They were both powerful compared to the SNES System (Super Nintendo Entertainment). 3 DO used disks which were much more efficient in storing games than cartridges. They displayed more colors on the screen and were better rendering polygons. Both consoles were discontinued in 1996 for the lack of games, which could keep up with their extra power, as well as their overpricing. An apple Macintosh based console was introduced by Bandai. It went by the name Pippin and had the price of just another low cost computer. However, it failed in the market (Carl 2012). Nintendo came up with games, such as Donkey Kong country. It displayed a variety of range in tones. The fifth generation of consoles became popular with the release of Sony’s play station, Sega’s Saturn, as well as Nintendo 64. The N64 used cartridges for storing games while Saturn and play station used disks. These three would cost much less as compared to the 3DO, and they were easier in programming than Jaguar. Therefore, they were received well in the market, and they were able to reach many consumers.

The sixth generation of consoles had consoles that were visually appealing and which were much longer than the pre-existing ones. The gaming consoles had designs that were similar to those of a PC. The use of DVDs, flash and hard drives came in this generation. Online console gaming was also introduced in this generation. The Sega’s Dreamcast was released in North America in 1999. This was the last video console of the company. In this generation of consoles, it was the first one to be discontinued. Sony released Play station 2 in 2000. This was met with considerable success and was widely accepted and appreciated by consumers. Microsoft released its first video console as the Microsoft Xbox in 2001. It was the first console to include an Ethernet port. Therefore, it offered high-speed online gaming. The Nintendo game cube was also released in 2001 as its forth video console. It did not use the standard sized DVDs. Instead, it used small optical discs of 8 centimeters.

The seventh generation was characterized by the release of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s Play station 3 and Nintendo Wii. This saw significant developments in the industry which were quite impressive to the consumers. This included the use of USB, SD and other forms of removable media storage, which could be used in the storing of the games. The Sony’s Play station 3 also came up with the connection of different users using Bluetooth technology (Keneth 2012). The development of consoles has been constant ever since this time. In recent times, there have been many other developments in the industry. For example, in 2007, Nintendo introduced an eighth generation console, the Wii U. It was their first console to use high definition graphics of up to 1080 and had an in-built touch screen.


It is clear that video game consoles have a rich history which displays their development with time. The advancements in the developments increase the efficiency of the consoles. Latest designs and developments tend to be more user friendly than the ones in the past. These changes have always caused excitement in the entertainment sector for people who are interested in it. This suggests that future changes and developments in technology are likely to occur. Therefore, these interactive computers might remain at the top of the world gaming market for a long time to come.

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