The era we are currently in is referred to as the seventh generation of games consoles. In the last article we referred to the fact that the PlayStation 2 was the only console which continued to be manufactured following the release of its successor. The XBox was discontinued in 2005 while the Nintendo GameCube ended production in 2007.
Microsoft’s arrival into the console market in 2001 has given Sony something to think
about – here was a rival with bottomless pockets clearly using their financial muscle to barge their way into the market and ultimately to try and force others out. Microsoft’s next step was to release their seventh generation console – the XBox 360 – before Sony were ready with their offering.
The XBox 360 was released in November 2005 (a year ahead of Sony) and was undoubtedly an impressive piece of kit. As with the first XBox it included a hard drive but this time added DVD playing capability, supporting the now defunct HD DVD standard. Processing power and gaming capabilities were massively increased.
The PlayStation 3 was released almost exactly a year later and both consoles have their
huge legions of fans. Impartially it has to be said the PS3 is the better console – it includes a Blu-Ray player (Blu-Ray won the DVD standard battle), slightly more powerful hardware, the ability to use removable media via USB and full HDMI compliance. Early versions also featured an accessible linux-based operating system. Despite these improvements, the Xbox earlier release has allowed it to gain a small market lead over the PS3.
The third entry into the console market has been the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo did
not even try to compete with Sony and Microsoft for hardware supremacy, they instead devised a wireless controller which defines the system and the games. Games are simpler and less graphically intensive which means the Wii is not a genuine seventh gen console. It’s more like a clever upgrade of the GameCube and it features backwards compatibility with the GameCube and other previous Nintendo consoles.