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Mace & Crown | December 17, 2017

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A History of Home and Handheld Consoles

Audra Reigle | Technology Editor

Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have been big names in the video game industry. All three have released consoles for gamers to play the latest games on over the years. Nintendo and Sony have even launched portable systems. We’re going to take a look at the history of these three companies and see where the future will take them.

According to Nintendo, their first home console was the Nintendo Entertainment System, which launched in 1985. It was succeeded by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. The Nintendo 64, released in 1996, introduced 3D gaming to the Nintendo line of home systems.

The next home console wasn’t launched until 2001 with the release of the GameCube, which made the switch from cartridges to optical discs for games. The Wii was released in 2006, and it brought wireless motion-sensitive controls and Wi-Fi with it. The Wii U launched in November 2012, according to IGN. Nintendo Switch is the latest home system from Nintendo, and it launched in March 2017.
Nintendo’s first handheld console was the Game Boy, which launched in 1989. The Game Boy Pocket also launched in 1996, and it “…came in a variety of colors.” The Game Boy Advance launched in 2001. The Game Boy Advance SP launched in 2003 and was able to be folded. It also eliminated the need to replace batteries with a rechargeable battery.

The Nintendo DS succeeded the Game Boy Advance SP and it introduced dual screens, one of which was a touch screen, and Wi-Fi capabilities. The Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL were also part of the Nintendo DS line of handhelds.The Nintendo 3DS was launched in March 2011 and allowed players to view 3D without the need of 3D glasses. The Nintendo 3DS XL and the Nintendo New 3DS are also part of this line of systems. The Nintendo 2DS is also available, but it doesn’t offer 3D support.
Sony’s first home console was the PlayStation, launched in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the U.S., according to PC Mag. The PlayStation 2 launched in March 2000 in Japan, and the console was still able to play the original PlayStation games. The PlayStation 3 launched in November 2006, and it introduced online play through the PlayStation Network. Sony’s latest home console is the PlayStation 4.
Sony attempted to get into handheld gaming with the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2004, according to Tech Radar. The PSP allowed players to have games, movies and TV shows on the go on one device through Universal Media Discs (UMD). The PSP Go launched in 2009, but it only allowed players to download games from the PlayStation Store. The PlayStation Vita launched in 2011, and it featured touch screens and Remote Play functionality with the PlayStation 4.
Microsoft has only participated in the home console market with its Xbox line of systems. The Microsoft Xbox launched on Nov. 15, 2001, according to Tech Radar. Xbox Live was brought to the console a year after its launch, allowing players to participate in online gaming. The Xbox 360 came four years after the original Xbox. It brought players the Kinect, a motion and voice sensor, and the infamous red ring of death. Their latest system is the Xbox One, which launched November 2013, according to Business Insider.
Gaming has certainly evolved over the years. While there were other companies that have made their mark on the gaming world like Sega and Atari. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have been the top three companies in recent years. It’ll be interesting to see where they go in the future.