Every seven years or so, a new generation cycle begins in the world of video consoles. 2020 is one of those years and it will be used to say goodbye to the current generation, with PS4 and Xbox One as the main affected. The successors to these successful Sony and Microsoft machines are the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X.
It will be the ninth generation since this type of home systems on the market. The emergence of streaming, on-demand content services and technical power near high-end computers are aspects that endure.
Whoever arrives is a system capable of reproducing content up to 8K resolution. It is expected that a future model will be able to do without cables, that is, be completely wireless.
In the video game industry, consoles have been classified into different generations. Manufacturing companies launch a new one in a period that can vary between five or seven years.
It was in 1972 that the electronics company Magnavox launched the first game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. It was created by Ralph Baer, considered the father of video games.
With the release of Atari’s Arcade Pong game, the titles started to spread.
Five years later, in 1977, the second generation arrived. The absolute domain was Atari with its 2600 and 5200 versions.
After a short crisis that affected video games in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the third generation appeared. The world of consoles has practically become a Japanese monopoly. The Nintendo and Sega consoles then stood out.
The concept of multimedia makes its appearance
In 1987, NEC and Hudson released the PC Engine console in Japan and Turbografx in the rest of the world. These had a 16-bit graphics chip. It was the arrival of the fourth generation. In 1990, Nintendo followed this era by launching its Super Nintendo console. That same year, arcade producer SNK launched Neo-Geo, the most powerful console of this generation. This one stands out for the graphics chips added to the cartridge and the hardware extensions. Concepts like multitasking and multimedia then appeared.
The fifth generation started in 1994. It is characterized by the fact that many game manufacturers have equipment with characteristics similar to those of a computer. They also began to present titles in a 3D environment, taking advantage of the greater material capacity of the equipment.
This generation is known as the “32-bit era”. Although some call it “the age of 64 bits” since Nintendo would launch two years later, in 1996, this system. Sega launched the icon of the transition from video games to 3D, its Sega Saturn.
The market was then dominated by three consoles: Nintendo 64 (1996); It featured some of the most iconic video games of the era and history, such as Super Mario 64, Perfect Dark, and The Legend of Zelda, among others.
For its part Sony, innovated with the PlayStation console in 1994. This meant the irruption of this company in the world of video games. In addition, for the first time, the tracks were released on CD.
The cartridges give way
With the turn of the century came the sixth generation of consoles. Computers were produced with the architecture of a personal computer. Consoles dispensed with cartridges and used high-capacity storage media such as DVD and GD-ROM. This made the games longer and more visually appealing.
In addition, this generation also experimented with online video games on consoles. Likewise, the application of internal storage systems has been incorporated into the equipment, such as flash memories and hard drives used to store video game data.
The Sega Dreamcast was the first console of this generation. This team pioneered by having a 33.6 Kb modem, with which it was possible to access the Internet and play some online titles such as Phantasy Star Online.
Sony’s PlayStation 2 was also released in 2000. It was the first home game console to include a DVD player, allowing movies to be viewed on the system. In addition, there was the possibility of including an internal hard drive.
Around this time, the Nintendo GameCube also appeared. It was the company’s first system to do without cartridges. He continued to use a disc format similar to DVD.
The Xbox was the last console to come out of this generation and the first from Microsoft. He relied on online gambling. He innovated by providing the console with an integrated hard drive; it used the DVD format and offered the possibility of saving music from an audio CD to the console.
Wireless format, lifelike images and online games
The seventh generation arrived five years later marked by the integration of the Blu-ray optical disc format. Orders were placed wireless and motion detection was enforced.
Another important aspect was the distribution of games via the Internet. This was made possible by the emergence of broadband service around the world. Internet services have also been used to provide technical support for multiplayer games. This is the case with Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Sony’s Play Station Network and the Ninntendo WiFi connection.
At that time, the global video game market was definitely dominated by the American Microsoft and the Japanese Nintendo and Sony. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the first to appear in this generation in 2005. In November 2006, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3 arrived.
The eighth generation, which starts in 2013, is distinguished by the use of the Internet as the central axis of the functionality of consoles. A single device enables the functions of the game console and the buying and selling of movies, TV series and other content.
The transition from the seventh to the eighth generation lasted more than six years. The strong point of this generation is the launch of consoles with a fully digital video game format, such as the Xbox Series S from Microsoft and the digital version of the Play Station from Sony.