A Brief History of Gaming Consoles And Future of Gaming

a year ago

Video Gaming has come a very long way now. Since childhood, we've experienced a great evolution in terms of Gaming. It is now a necessary part of current atmosphere. Presently, Video games have become very similar to the real world environment. All thanks to the HD graphics, perfect sound quality and fantasizing gaming environment. Video Gaming is incomplete without Gaming Consoles. But, What's the history of Gaming? How did Gaming Consoles evolved? Let's give it a read.


The Roots: Gaming Consoles History

First Video Game Console:

The first ever video game console was just a bulky rectangular brown wooden box with two attached controllers, and it was named "Brown Box". It was invented by Ralph H. Baer (The Father of Video Games) in the year 1967. At that time, there were only six basic games to play for the console, Ping Pong, Tennis, Handball, Volleyball, Chase games and a Light gun game.

Magnavox Odyssey:

After Brown Box was invented, Magnavox licensed another technology which was the first official home video game console- Magnavox Odyssey in the year 1972 with very basic graphics as compared with today's standard.

Atari:

Atari( founded by Nolan Bushnell, Godfather of Video Gaming) became the first ever gaming company to set a bench mark for a wide range of gaming community. Atari not only developed their games in homes but also created a whole new industry "Arcade" in 1973. They began to sell electronic games named Pong, and Arcade machines after that began to emerge around the world.


A Look Back:

1.) Nintendo Entertainment System:

Nintendo, no.1 household name in Video Games since they released Famicom in Japan, back in 1983. This console included interchangeable floppy disks and some very inspiring games. After Famicom became popular, Nintendo took a new initiative as Nintendo Entertainment System or NES with the games like "Super Mario Bros" and "The Legend Of Zelda" and eventually they build millions of audience. Nintendo's main focus was on Innovation and family fun. After that they came up with Game Boy, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Boy, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance, etc. This was a glimpse of Nintendo Gaming Console History.

2.) Microsoft Released Xbox:

Microsoft's CEO Bill Gates initially decided to jump and experience into the video game market but he feared that gaming consoles would compete with personal computers. Unlike all the other companies, Microsoft designed the first ever gaming system that would use PC technology. Their original plan was to use a dial-up modem, but their designers opted a high speed Ethernet cable and that decision allowed the Xbox to set brand new standard in online gaming. Microsoft also acquired game developed Bungie and there launch title was Halo: Combat Evolved. Luckily, all this was in the in the favor of Microsoft. Halo ushered in a new age of first person shooters and online gaming and Xbox was established as a haven for innovative game design. This was a glimpse of Microsoft gaming console history.

3.) Sony's PlayStation Consoles:

Sony launched its PlayStation Consoles in 1994 and after that, Sony has released four major consoles, all with new and refreshed designs. Initially, the PlayStation was released in Japan in December 1994, and it was the first video game console to ship more that 100 million units. It is considered to be a part of the 5th generation of game consoles and competed against the Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64 in mid 90's. This PlayStation didn't featured internal hard drive but required memory cards. Later, Sony also released its Controller in 1997, with some additional and better features.

Further PlayStation by Sony:

  • PSone
  • PlayStation2
  • PlayStation2 Slimline
  • PlayStation3
  • PlayStation3 Slimline etc.

This was a glimpse of Sony Gaming Console history.


Gaming Consoles History Timeline:

Here's the Gaming Console History List including the top gaming consoles from initial times:

  1. Atari Pong
  2. Sega Master System(SMS)
  3. Nintendo Entertainment System(NES)
  4. GameBoy
  5. Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  6. PlayStation
  7. Nintendo64(N64)
  8. PlayStation2(PS2)
  9. Xbox
  10. PlayStation Portable(PSP) and many more.


Modern Age Of Gaming Consoles:

The Present times which means the time after the year 2000, the three major competitors of gaming console were Xbox360, Sony PlayStation3 and Nintendo Wii as most of the companies like Atari, Coleco, NEC, Sega, etc. already phased out. All the three competing consoles were having pleasing HD graphics, Internet access and better experience.


Online Gaming Consoles:

  1. The Massively Multiplayer Online Game(MMOG): Internet connectivity is a necessity for all the MMOGs as the games are played after logging in to the server that hosts the games. The social networking aspect is also beneficial for interacting with thousands of players worldwide and generating a competitive and interesting environment. First MMOG included games like Ultina Online(1997), Lineage(1998) and Everquest(1999).
  2. Social Gaming: With the immense growth of Social Media, developers sought to grab the opportunities presented by websites like Facebook and MySpace. They utilized Animation programs such as Flash to create a Web based gaming experience with more game play, cartoon like graphics, wide appeal and greater audience. Most successful Facebook games- Mafia Wars(2008) and Farmville(2009)


Will Consoles Go The Same Way Ahead?

The game developers and console makers are constantly working to break the records in terms of gaming. All the companies are focusing on the new gaming ground for the future of gaming technology. But know knows the future? Here's some predictions for the next-next gen advanced consoles that the developers and console makers might spot for the future of gaming consoles:

  • The processor: 3nm or smaller?: Sony and Microsoft both have confirmed their consoles will feature a custom, 8 core CPU based on 7 nm Zen 2 architecture. Also Xbox series promises something similar to PS5. AMD is also rumored to launch its Zen 4 consumer processors in 2021 or 2022.
  • Fast Storage: The future of gaming may rely on the cloud for storage needs. That suggests that maybe the next-next gen consoles will store most of their content in cloud, while giving smaller capacity but super fast local storage.
  • Virtual Reality Accessories: After Sony's current console PSVR, they expect PSVR2 release. While Microsoft said that VR won't be a focus for Xbox series X.
  • Design and Looks: The design of consoles particularly depends on their hardware. With that idea, Microsoft is trying to reduce the gap between Console and PC, its likely that a future version of Xbox will be slightly larger with finally a dedicated discrete GPU. Further PlayStation designs are harder to predict but Sony has released "Slime" versions, so maybe the trend continues.

These points suggests that the next phase of Gaming industry will definitely consist innovative developers, excellence in graphics and good content.


Thanks For Reading!

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Ralph H. Baer

Sony's PlayStation with 102.49 million units sold