Microsoft – Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is a video game console developed by Microsoft in cooperation with IBM, ATI, Samsung and SiS. It succeeds to the Xbox, and competition, in line with the seventh generation consoles, with Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3. On 30 Septembers 2013, 78.2 million copies were sold worldwide.

It was in 2003 that the development of the new version of the Xbox started under the code name “Xenon”. Several definitive names were advanced for this new version include Xbox Next, Xbox 2, Xbox FS, Xbox HD or Nextbox6 before finally, the official name is Xbox 360. The official presentation took place May 12, 2005 on MTV.

Released a year before the competition, the Xbox 360 marks the entrance into the age of high definition and wireless controllers. Eager to take maximum lead over its direct competitor Sony, Microsoft decided to release its console as early as possible, and especially not to miss the year-end holidays. Released in November 2005 in the United States and December 2 in Europe and Japan, Xbox 360 makes the first global launch of a console in video game history, under the direction of Pierre Delattre. This output has experienced some inconveniences, such as stock-outs in the US and Europe, the Red Ring Of Death and late restockings. The Microsoft console has been given a very frosty reception by the Japanese public (less than 40,000 consoles sold during the month of December).

Sega – Saturn

The Saturn is a game console developed by Sega in 1994. The Saturn name comes from it being the sixth console sold all over the earth, hence the name, the sixth planet Saturn. Sega also wanted evoked by that name, a world totally different from what the players knew before. In fact, the arrival of 32-bit consoles and 3D gaming was revolutionary. The Saturn believed to have the advantage over the PlayStation 2 with their two big hits: Virtua Fighter 2 and Sega Rally, but with Sony’s marketing power, the PlayStation continued to dominate. The coup de grace was given to Sega when Sony released Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation in 1997.

The Saturn had its strengths, it had a great superiority in 2D and also a better sound processor. At its release in Japan for Christmas at the end of 1994, the Saturn was well received but the clientele reproached Sega for the low choice of games; it offered only 5 games at its release, when the PlayStation offered 4 times more. The biggest hit was of course Virtua Fighter; the followers of this game were waiting impatiently for its release on console. The game was excellent, but the graphics were not as impressive as expected. Sega also released the RAM cartridges. These cartridges are memory extension; they increase the memory of the console. These cartridges were one of the major strong points of the Saturn compared to the PlayStation, which could not handle such extensions. The games that were using them, were much more beautiful and richer in details.

Sega – Dreamcast

Dreamcast, the successor to the Saturn, was marketed in Japan in November 1998. It is thereby the first sixth-generation console on the market before its rivals the Sony PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s GameCube. She is the first console comes automatically with a modem, allowing the console to have online gaming support, connect to the internet and so consult web pages or reading these emails.

Sega cease marketing the Dreamcast in March 2001 in North America and withdrew completely hardware environment of fair games. However, the system is backed up to the end of 2002 in Europe, Oceania, and Japan. Despite its premature termination, the console is still supported until 2011 by independent producers.

In 2009, the ThinkGeek website remarketed how console limited to the United States. Given the enthusiasm of the players face this media community, the second-hand market in full swing.

The Dreamcast is conceived from Naomi Sega arcade system. The medium used to support the games is the GD-ROM manufactured by Yamaha. Indeed, to prevent copying of games, Sega has been developing a new medium for Dreamcast games. This is a hybrid between the CD and the DVD with a capacity of 1.2 GB, which can not be read by a PC. One of its main features is writing data in a high density and a second TOC beginning after the CD section type of GD-ROM. Dreamcast reads the GD-ROM 12X, where relatively short loading times.

Sony – PlayStation

The PlayStation is a game console created by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1994. The release of this console was a huge success; in May 2004, Sony announced that they have already sold over 100 million consoles and over 962 million games. Initially, Sony had allied with Nintendo to create a Nintendo compatible console, for playing Super Nintendo, with the cartridges and also a new CD format that Sony wanted to create.

The creation of this CD, named SNES-CD, would allow Sony to enter the gaming market. A contract was signed to this effect; however, when Nintendo’s president read the original contract of 1988, he noticed that Sony would take possession of any SNES-CD games. Furious, Nintendo secretly canceled all plans of this association with Sony and announced at the CES (largest electronics fair which still exists today) that it was now in partnership with Philips. After the collapse of the project with Nintendo, Sony was thinking of cancelling the projet, but they finally decided to reuse all that had been jointly developed to create a full-fleged console. As a result, Nintendo sues Sony in the Federal court of the United States, alleging contract breach and requesting the judge to prohibit Playstation’s commercialization. The federal judge refused to ban the production.

The PlayStation did not use cartridges, but it uses CDs instead. This allowed to increase its data capacity and to also show remarkable quality videos, as remarkable as the best PCs of the time! A real turning point in the history of video games has been scored, the 3D accessible to all with a realism never achieved before. Realism is attracting more and more players and Sony takes full advantage of this craze. With big competitors like Nintendo and Sega, Sony managed to gradually demarcate itself by an impressive number of varied games. There are about 8000 games on the PlayStation.

Sega – Game Gear

The Game Gear is a portable color console released in 1990 and produced by Sega to compete with the Nintendo Game Boy launched the previous year. Hardware side, the Game Gear is so similar to the Master System that they even share much of the same game library, with the only noticeable difference being the screen resolution. With a simple accessory, the Master Gear Converter, the player can play directly with the Master System cartridges on the Game Gear.

Unfortunately, the Game Gear never got the expected success because of some important defects for a portable console:

  • Low autonomy, 4 hours use with 6 batteries
  • The fragility of the AC connector
  • A high price, almost double the Game Boy, price justified by the backlit color display. It was not until 1998 that Nintendo launches a color console, GameBoy Color, and until 2003 for a portable console backlit color, the Game Boy Advance SP.
  • Internal components are aging badly, including capacitors which lose their power, causing a loss of sound and of screen brightness.

In 2001, Majesco has launched the idea of relauching the production by acquiring the rights to reissue from Sega, but no further action was taken. In 2006, MEDIATRONIC launches Pocket Gear, a compact re-edition of the console, that didn’t need cartridges. It was coming with about twenty Game Gear and Master System games.

Flare Technology – Jaguar

The company Flare Technology states that it can profitably produce a console superior to the Super Nintendo. Atari accepts without hesitation to finance this new console and concludes a $500 million deal for manufacturing. The Jaguar is a 64 bits console. Atari tries to show its superiority over existing 16-bit systems. Their attempt was unfortunately a failure because the hardware contained some bugs and the game developpement was very difficult, due to the complexity of the programming system.

At the Jaguar’s realease, competitors were quick to announce their next generation consoles; Ultra 64 for Nintendo, Saturn for SEGA and Playstation for Sony. Given its failure, of a meagre sale of 120,000 consoles in the United States, they attempted one last time to assert Jaguars’s superiority over existing 16-bit consoles, but it was a desperate and futile attempt.

The career of this console began in 1993 and ended abruptly in 1995. It is also interesting to note that in the beginning, Atari was working on another console called the Panther (a 32 Bit console), but the project fell through and gave way to the Jaguar. They also released a handheld pocket size console named Lynx, it can be compared to the famous Game Boy.

Nintendo – Virtual Boy

It is in April 1994 that we hear for the first time of a new console called VR-32. At the time, Nintendo was already working on Project Reality, the future Nintendo 64. Therefore, the VR machine will replace the Famicon (NES) and Super Famicon (SNES), it will have to compete with the imminent arrive of Sony’s Playstation and SEGA’s Saturn, both 32-bit consoles.

It was only during the Tokyo Shoshinkai Exhibition of 1994 that the Virtual Boy is officially named and launched. It would be accompanied, upon its release, of a dozen games priced lower than the Super Nintendo games. The advertisements are beginning and start boasting the revolutionary 3D effects and an immersion never seen before.

We are in 1996, the Japanese firm knows that its console sells poorly. Nintendo does not voluntarily communicate the sales figures for fear of scaring the potential buyers. In Japan, the console is even offered for $ 11 and some games for $ 1.

TurboGrafx-16 – Bonk’s Adventure

Bonk’s Adventure is a 2D platform game developed by Atlus and Red Company. It was launched in 1990 for the TurboGrafx-16. The player is a caveman fighting dinosaurs and other prehistoric enemies. Bonk’s mission is to save the princess Za, a small rose plesiosaur that has been kidnapped by the evil King Drool, a terrible tyrannosaurus. In the arcade version of the game Bronk receives the assistance of a character who is actually the female version of himself.

To kill his enemies, Bonk uses “Bonking” an attack that consists of hitting with his forehead. Throughout the game, Bonk has only three hearts that act as his life units. If Bonk is hit, he loses a heart; it can be recovered by eating fruits or vegetables. Bonk can also collect pieces of meat that will make him stronger and give him special abilities.

TurboGrafx-16

Resulting from a close collaboration between the Hudson Soft publisher and the electronics manufacturer NEC, PC-Engine appears in Japan in 1987, and then a few years later in North America as the TurboGrafx-16. Although its central microprocessor is an 8 bit, the US division is trying to pass the console for a 16 bit in order to compete with the rival consoles.

Over the years, the TurboGrafx-16 gets some improvements. Unfortunately, one of them bears the fatal blow to the career of the TG-16, the failed launch of the Super CD-ROM. While in Japan, almost all of the owned PC-Engine support CDs, making it a vital component, the Super CD is far too expensive. In addition, although there are hundreds of games in Japan on CD-ROM, most are RPGs full of voice and long texts that are expensive to translate. They will be sadly neglected.

The games that are translated, slowly but surely, unfortunately are not the best ones. Some great titles cannot be exploited in North America due to the exclusivity contracts that the developers signed with Nintendo, obliging them to release only NES versions.

In four years, the TurboGrafx-16 has never really managed to establish itself outside Japan (PC Engine) and, since then, NEC has not tried again to create a game console.

SNK – Neo-Geo

The Neo-Geo, also called NeoGeo Advanced Entertainment System is created and marketed by SNK in 1990. It is also one of the first available for rental in 1991. The Neo-Geo has the distinction of being, from a Technical standpoint, identical to the MVS Neo-Geo arcade system with which it shares a common library of games.

The console was born in Japan on April 26, 1990. It had a very high price of 58,000 yen, around 560 dollars, even if no game came with it, it had to be rented. Initially, four titles were available for rent: NAM-1975 MahJong Kyoretsuden, Baseball Stars Professional and Magical Lord. From July 1991 the Neo-Geo is marketed in the US by SNK Corporation of America. First scheduled to be sold at $ 599, the console will be launched in two different set:

  • The “Gold” Package for $ 650, containing the console with two joysticks, a memory card and a game, either Pro Baseball Stars or NAM-1975. Later, the pack will automatically include the Magician Lord game.
  • ​The “Silver” Package for $ 400 without games and with a single joystick.

We shouldn’t forget to mention that the Neo-Geo games were sold for 200 dollars each. Sales of the console were going well. Despite the realease of PlayStation and Saturn by the end of 1994, the Neo-Geo continues to be sold to its loyal public.