Video game console

A video game console is a dedicated electronic device designed to play video games. Often the output device is a separate television. Once, video game consoles were easily distinguishable from personal computers: consoles used a standard television for display, and did not support standard PC accessories such as keyboards or modems. However, as consoles have become more powerful, the distinction has blurred: some consoles can have full Linux operating systems running with hard drives and keyboards, and Microsoft's Xbox is basically a stripped down PC running a version of Microsoft Windows.

The console market has steadily developed from simple one-off games (Pong) to fully featured general purpose games systems.

Older game consoles and their software now live on in emulators as they are no longer supported by their manufacturers; however, console makers try to prevent legitimate console and software buyers from playing games on emulators, using a special mask work copyright and a special copyright on encrypted media created by the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act and foreign counterparts, especially for the newer game consoles. The emulation of ancient video game consoles, such as the NES and SNES have gradually settled down.

Note that the "bit" names of generations were in large part created by the console makers' marketing departments and may have little to do with the actual architecture of the systems.

See Also: Nintendo, SEGA, Sony, Microsoft, Atari

Table of contents
1 List of game consoles

List of game consoles

This includes stand-alone game consoles, see also hand held consoles for portable devices with integrated displays.

Future systems

  • Sony PlayStation 3 (Sony has plans to release such a system around 2005)
  • Nintendo GameCube 2 (Nintendo plans to release such a system around 2005. The official name may or may not be 'GameCube 2'.)
  • Microsoft Xbox 2 (Microsoft has plans to release such a gaming system in the future. Xbox 2 is not the official name for it; it has been rumored that the name will be Xbox Next)

Sixth generation

Fifth generation

Fourth generation

Third "8-bit" generation

Second "8-bit" generation

This generation was followed by a collapse in the video game market in North America (1984).

First generation of "8-bit" programmable systems

Dedicated (non-programmable) video game consoles

Consoles of this era were often inaccurately called "analog" but actually used discrete logic.

The First commercial home video game ever

The Odyssey - discrete logic

Consoles that never made it




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