There have been many generations of gaming consoles released, and there have been many whove made their mark on the landscape. The console wars have raged for decades, and naturally, there were winners and losers. In the age of fancy computer chairs and protective glasses, it can be easy to forget our favorite hobbys humble beginnings, and the hardware that pushed gaming into the mainstream. This is a list of some of the consoles that pushed our preferred past time into the forefront of pop culture.
The Atari VCS originally launched in September 1977 and started the migration from arcades to the living room for gamers in the United States. By the time Space Invaders was released, the Atari V.C.S. was renamed the 2600 and bore its classic wood-paneled form and was responsible for the creation of Activision. It led the market until the disastrous launch of E.T.E.T. and its port of PacMan. Not only did Atari push the advent of home gaming, but it almost destroyed the market in 1983. Without this bad boy, gaming would have remained the domain of bars and arcades. While it did almost crash the game industry, it revealed the desire to play electronic games at home and opened up a brand new market for consumer electronics.
Nintendo Entertainment System
The future of consoles looked pretty bleak in the United States until Nintendos Famicom, rebranded as the Nintendo Entertainment System for North America, landed in 1986. Nintendos business model of licensing 3rd party developers and strict quality control almost singlehandedly saved the gaming market. With Nintendos savvy ability to wrangle American audiences with great advertising, and eye-catching console design, they brought gaming to an entire generation of kids and made them gaming diehards. Nintendos first-party software is still used to help guide new devs to make simple and compelling games to this day.
Sony struck gold with the PS2. The console is still one of the best selling home gaming systems in the world, with around 150 billion units sold. Its tech was top-notch, and the third party developers flocked to the console to make some of the most iconic and enduring games of the last two decades. It also saw a massive boom for mid-tier developers that mostly stuck to the P.C.P.C. at that time. The console also had one of the longest life cycles that had been seen, producing units until 2013. Not many consoles can lay claim to some of the most popular franchises to ever grace gaming. God of War started on Playstation 2, the Persona franchise started there as well, and many more beloved franchises made their start on the Playstation 2.
The Xbox 360 also had a great time of it during its life cycle. While not as ubiquitous as the PS2, it really picked up with the competitive first-person shooter games market exploded in the early 2000s and into the 2010s. With its simple user interface, easy matchmaking, and party chat, the Xbox 360 made online gaming more convenient and streamlined the process of playing with friends. It also boasted a suite of apps for streaming music, movies, and offered its own digital storefront. The 360 was responsible for pushing a lot of current market practices forward and changed the way we game these days.
The Final Verdict
This is certainly not a comprehensive list, and the current generation is still ongoing, so who knows what the console market will look like after the next-generation launches in 2020. Its exciting to look back at gamings past and speculate on the future.