console-timeline

The Evolution Of Gaming Consoles

Posted 04/04/2016 by BrightHouse Team

Let’s take it back to 1972, an influential year in the gaming community which saw the release of the Magnavox Odyssey - the first ever cartridge home video games console.

Since then, there have been over 100 different games handheld and microconsoles released into the market. We are taking you on a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the most popular consoles over the past five decades.

Classed as a second-generation console, the Atari 5200 was released in 1982 as an upgrade to the 2600. The old-school games console used a 360 degree analog joystick and a numeric keypad, and the game slotted in the top like a tape player.

The 1987 Action Max was released by Worlds of Wonder and was a big deal in the United States for a few years. Players also needed a VCR to play and used light guns to shoot at the screen to win points.

Japan released the Neo-Geo in 1994, replacing the older cartridge models with CD format. Unfortunately the model wasn’t very successful because of its slow loading times (sometimes up to 60 seconds). The Geo came with a control pad but also worked with the original joystick that was use on previous models.

Most readers remember playing Super Mario on the 1996 Nintendo 64, released for the international markets, and was later named the ‘Machine of the Year’ by Time Magazine.

In 1998, the Sega Dreamcast was the last console that Sega ever released. The device was the very first console to market that featured a built-in internet modem and an option to play online. Unfortunately the pending release of the PlayStation 2 stole a lot of the limelight from the Dreamcast.

The PlayStation 3 was quite a big deal in terms of games consoles, providing stiff competition for the Microsoft Xbox 360. The 2006 console was the first to use Blu-ray disc as its main storage medium, and the PlayStation 3 also boasted a cohesive online gaming feature. A slimmer upgraded version of the console was also released in 2009.

Current consoles dominating the market

The likes of Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation are often in competition to be the first to market with new technology innovations, hence why the release dates are only spaced a few months apart. The current Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are neck-and-neck in the popularity stakes due to their significantly enhanced graphics and increased user interaction and gaming options.

xbox-controller

Gaming innovations – what’s next?

So the latest games consoles have come a pretty long way since the Magnavox, but what can we expect from future models as audiences and technology become increasingly demanding? The word on the gated gaming community street is that 2016 is going to be a big year for virtual reality and microtransactions.

Virtual reality gaming will see users able to experience their favourite game in 3D, and encourage interaction with the three-dimensional world through small sensors attached to an object that can detect body movement (e.g. a piece of clothing or equipment).

Microtransactions for virtual goods have seen a sharp rise in recent years as audiences and gaming brands stay ahead of the trend and take all aspects of gaming online. Most of the big-name games console brands have used microtransactions as a route for gamers to amplify and improve their game with additional low-cost upgrades. It looks like you can expect even more online add-ons and upgrades when the next console upgrade is released.

future-of-gaming

The evolution of video games

Consoles aren’t the only thing that’s developed and improved over time. Read our sister article about how games have evolved over the decades to find out how the gaming community went from the basics of Donkey Kong collecting bananas to first-person shooting in Call of Duty.

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