Gaming consoles certainly excite people who, for once, have used a gaming device. I remember bunking my school many times just to play arcade games in the game shops. Back then, "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" and "The King of Fighters '94" were two of my favourite games.
Though bunking school was not a good thing, the attraction of those consoles was something out of the world, at that age. Lucky me, I never got caught by my parents or teachers, or else, I am certain they would have given me a beating just like the characters did in the games!
From "Brown Box" to the upcoming Microsoft "Xbox Series X" and Sony "PS5", video gaming consoles have a diverse history that is spread through the past 53 years.
Invented by Ralph H Baer in 1967, the first-ever video game console (working prototype) was a bulky rectangular brown wooden box with two attached controllers. This is how it got its name "Brown Box". There were only six simple games for the console - ping-pong, tennis, handball, volleyball, chase games and, a light-gun game.
The "Brown Box", however, was not the first official home video game console, yet, it led to licensing of the technology by Magnavox in 1972. Then the first official home video game console - Magnavox Odyssey was released. This gaming console did not support audio and the graphics of the games would be considered primitive if compared to modern game graphics.
From retro to modern gaming consoles, below is a list of seven popular gaming consoles. Of course, the choice might vary from person to person.
Mattel Electronics, in 1979, released a home video game console named "Intellivision". The development of this console began less than a year after the introduction of its main rival Atari 2600. More than three million units of this console were sold and a total of 125 games were released for the console as well. Priced at $299, Mattel profited about $100,000,000 from this console. With its brown and gold framework, wood effect lining, and retro-futuristic controllers, Intellivision rocked the 1970s.
SNK Neo Geo (1990)
Japanese game company SNK Corporation released a cartridge-based arcade system board and fourth-generation home video game console named Neo Geo on April 26, 1990. When released, the Neo Geo was a very powerful system; more powerful than any home computer or console at the time
The Neo Geo was originally a Multi Video System (MVS) coin-operated arcade gaming console. It was launched initially as MVS (Multi Video System) coin-operated arcade machine. Additionally, it was also possible to put up to six different cartridges in these consoles. The games running on the machine were stored on its self-contained cartridges. A game cabinet could also be exchanged for a different game title by swapping the game's ROM-cartridge and cabinet artwork.
Costing around $1,125, it was the most expensive home video game console ever released till 2013.
Nintendo 64 (1996)
Nintendo 64 is the last home console that used cartridges as its primary storage format. The machine was jointly built with supercomputer specialist Silicon Graphics Inc. It used an analogue joystick, which allowed accurate 3D movement making it popular amongst the users. Also Super Mario 64, the defining game of the era, ran on this device. It was released at a price of $199.99.
In December 1994, Sony Computer Entertainment released its first-ever gaming console. Since its inception, it became a major rival of the available gaming consoles of the market. With the launch of this device, Sony started the lineup of today's PlayStations.
Also, this was the first "computer entertainment platform" to ship 100 million units worldwide.
The launch price in the US market was $299, and Sony enjoyed a very successful launch with titles of almost every genre, including Battle Arena Toshinden, Warhawk, Air Combat, Philosoma, Ridge Racer, and Rayman.
Xbox 360 (2005)
Though Microsoft entered the console industry with Xbox in 2013 and has released three consoles, as of now, the Xbox 360, released in 2005, is the most popular device of the company. The Xbox 360 offered different features such as a larger internal hard drive or a fast processor at a higher price point. Microsoft also opted to support the HD-DVD format to play HD-DVD films.
This was the first console of the broadband era and offered online multiplayer functionality from the very beginning of its journey. Our modern era narrative games entered through this console, and it was priced at $299.
However, this format ended up as denounced compared to Blu-ray. Additionally, through its life-span, the Xbox 360 was troubled by a consistent hardware fault known as the "Red Ring of Death", and Microsoft spent more than $1 billion to solve the problem.
Nintendo Switch (2017)
Nintendo Switch got released in 2017. This console is considered as the first hybrid game console. It can be placed into a particular docking unit that is hooked to television and can easily be played as a home console.
Alternatively, it can be removed from the docking unit and used individually with the help of the attached joypad or can be even played as a tablet-like system via its touchscreen. The device cost around $299.
PlayStation 2 (2000)
Yes, PlayStation 2 is the most popular gaming console as of today. This may also be the only console that everyone has been familiar with. Sony's PlayStation 2 dominated the market till 2013, and it has also become the highest selling gaming console till date shipping over 150 million units.
This was the golden era that saw mainstream blockbusters - Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Pro Evo Soccer. This was when everyone realised yes, gaming is the future and bet it, everyone, for once, has dreamt of getting hold of a PS2.
In the past few years, we have seen massive systems from Sega, Atari, Intellivision, and others, but with the emergence of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, the others now are almost out of business. The compactness of PlayStation and Xbox have taken the console gaming experience to a whole new level. The configuration of upcoming consoles of Sony's PS5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X in late 2020 provides the same idea as well.
The Xbox Series X is powered by a custom 7 nm AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores running at a nominal 3.8 GHz, or when simultaneous multithreading is used, at 3.6 GHz. One CPU core is dedicated to the underlying operating system.
The graphics processing unit is also a custom unit based on AMD's RDNA 2 graphics architecture. It has a total of 56 compute units (CUs) with 3584 cores, with 52 CUs and 3328 cores enabled, and will be running at a fixed 1.825 GHz. This unit is capable of 12.155 teraflops of computational power.
The Xbox Series X target performance is to render games at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Microsoft stated that the console CPU would be four times as powerful as the Xbox One X, including support for real-time ray-tracing, up to 120 frames per second rendering, and 8K resolution via the HDMI 2.1 standard.
The rival - PlayStation five is also not going to let the users down. The PS5 is rumoured to have an AMD Zen 2-based CPU with eight cores at 3.5GHz, 16GB of GDDR6 memory and a custom RDNA 2 AMD GPU that puts out 10.28 TFLOPs of processing power.
So far, the PS5 is living up to the hype.