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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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During the first generation of video games, the first ever video game console was born, the Magnavox Odyssey. It was a first of its kind, and an amazing device for the time, however, it had a huge competitor which was physical board games. People had been so used to sitting down with the family and moving pieces around a board; holding cards, etc. They didn't realise the history which was to come. Thankfully, arcade games had just been introduced a couple of years before, so the public were familiar with this style of gaming. The Magnavox had limited capabilities as it had a very simple logic board, with 64 bytes of RAM. This console came with two, one button joysticks, however only on the 2nd edition of the console they could be removed.

During the second generation of consoles, the Atari 2600 was introduced, originally called the Atari VCS (Video Computing System) it got renamed in 1982. The company Atari did originally start off with a simple gaming console called ‘Pong' which became a great success in 1976 that the company ventured further and created the Atari series. The Atari 2600 used a popular 6502 processor which controlled most of the machine, this was a commonly found processor in computers and other consoles during this time. On the other hand, the 2600 also contained 128 bytes of RAM, double the Magnavox RAM, released less than 5 years before, as well as a 1.19 MHz CPU, something the Magnavox was also lacking. However, before Atari got too excited, the Magnavox Odyssey2 was released in 1978, only one year after the release of the Atari with much better capabilities than before. With a higher CPU, higher resolution, and a new Custom Audio interface, the Atari had no chance. However, the Magnavox still lacked in marketing. While the sales of more well-known consoles during this time grew greatly as months and years passed by, sales of the Odyssey 2 had remained at a standstill.

Now in the third generation, with Magnavox Odyssey2 slowly dying out, Atari, high in the gaming market, decided to release Atari 5200. Containing a custom CPU of 1.67 MHz, the company were now catching up to what could potentially destroy the current market, the Magnavox Odyssey. The Atari 5200 contained a unique analogue joystick which could allow a full 360-degree rotation. Additionally, Atari had added an extra firing button and a keypad for number input. Unfortunately, the 5200 did not succeed in the current market, due to the fact it contained various design flaws, including the joystick being left in a fixed position and being unable to move. Another factor as to why the 5200 didn't sell, is because Atari changed the cartridge size meaning that people who owned 2600 games could not transfer these to their new 5200. Sadly, this console died out just before 1985. However, Nintendo, a very popular company inside of Japan, had decided to release a console in North & South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. With its competitor Atari, high in market, it would be unsure if they would succeed. However, at the current time in America, video game consoles were descending due to a huge flood of poor and useless games. Luckily this small console brought the American gaming industry back to its feet.

The NES was still very present in the fourth Generation, it had now sold over 6 million consoles, in the US alone, over the span of 2 years. With its higher resolution and unique gaming peripherals, it was quite clear that NES would soon kill out Atari due to their amount of ignorance after the NES launched in America. However, Atari soon released the 7800. They believed that this console would succeed, with the hopes of the gaming market reopening. At launch, the 7800 had 12 games ready to play, as well as being compatible with 2600 games, this seemed like the new dream Atari Console. With better resolution and a faster CPU, the public were excited for this to take over the console world, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. Atari made some huge business mistakes and failed to promote the change in games for the new console, this led to backwards compatibility and led to the console only having 10 games made for it specifically in its lifetime. Selling less than the NES, this console obviously wasn't triumphing.

However continuing to the end of the fourth generation, the Atari consoles had been discontinued and with the public wanting newer, better consoles on the market, it was only right that Nintendo created a new console. Say hello to the Super NES. Practically the same dimensions as the original NES, but with a faster CPU, a higher resolution, a lot more RAM, and thousands of more colours, this new Nintendo console really was super. This new console had over 1700 games made specifically for it. However, due to Nintendo's policies at the current time, having to approve every game, their very strict censorship; was mainly reasons why the Genesis versions of games sold much better than the SNES versions. An example would be Mortal Kombat, Nintendo removed all of the gore from the game, including fatalities, whereas the Genesis version kept those things in.

Finally, we're in the 90s and gaming couldn't be any better. The Super NES was still selling and another console was in the making. However, a new company was rising. With Sony already going to create CD-ROM games for Nintendo, they already knew how the gaming system worked. After Nintendo secretly pulled out of their deal in 1991 because of Sony having full control over every game to be released for the SNES-CD, Sony announced a new console coming worldwide, called the PlayStation. Sony didn't have a very nice outlook on Nintendo and decided to take everything they learned while developing Nintendo's CD-ROM console, to create their own stand-alone video gaming system. The PlayStation was originally intended to play 2D games only, however after the president of Sony saw Sega's most popular arcade game, they saw potential and made the PlayStation a 3D-focused system.

The finished console, released in 1994, contained very high 3D capabilities that nobody had ever seen before. It had a CPU of 33.8 MHz, a huge improvement when compared to Nintendo's current console. It had 2MB of RAM and all the storage for games was kept on a separate memory card that could be transferred between consoles. The original PlayStation controller was symmetrical, at release, it didn't have analogue sticks but furthering on throughout its production, these were added. Its famous handheld design is still used on consoles today and can be recognised almost anywhere.

After the release of Sony's console, in 1996 Nintendo released its newest console, named the Nintendo 64. As its name suggests, its console design was based around a 64-bit CPU processor marking the first occurrence of a high-performance computing technology for a major game console for the public. Like previous Nintendo consoles, the N64 used cartridges as its software medium, this was a very big contrast to its main competitors, the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, who both used less expensive CD-based media. Due to this decision, less loading times were seen, however, higher manufacturing costs for game publishers was a problem, which led to a reduction in third-party software support over the N64's lifespan.

Moving through to the sixth generation, and with Sony having a stronghold in the gaming market, the PlayStation 2 sold extremely well due to the strength of the original PlayStation brand, and the consoles backwards capability with original PlayStation titles. A major selling point for the PlayStation 2, was the release of online first-party titles. After the release of the Xbox, the PlayStation Slim model included a network adapter built into the console. Microsoft's Xbox was one of the first consoles to fully integrate online gaming onto home consoles, with an annual fee to play with friends it was named Xbox Live. Also with the introduction of Nintendo's new console, the GameCube, the gaming market was slowly regaining itself again. The GameCube was Nintendo's first console with a disc medium, and they could hold up to 1.5 GB of data, meaning it was more powerful than the PlayStation 2. A broadband adapter made it possible to play online games with an Ethernet Cable.

The seventh generation of gaming includes a lot better upgrades on hardware, external add-ons and resolution. Microsoft kicked off the generation with the release of the Xbox 360. It featured an amazing processing power until the Sony PlayStation 3 was released the later year. This console was able to play Blu-ray Disc games and movies out of the box. It was one of the first consoles to support HDMI output using a full 1080p resolution. Up to seven controllers could be connected using Bluetooth and included removable storage, and with recent upgrades, the newer models of PlayStation 3 are able to play 3D games and Blu-ray movies. Nintendo released two consoles, the first being the Handheld classic, the Nintendo DS. Its design was based on the GameBoy and included a new mode of input, a touchscreen. As well as gaming consoles, handheld devices also faced competition with the increasing amount of Mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nintendo also released the Wii, a few years after the DS and unlike other systems in this generation, the Wii didn't support an internal hard drive and had a maximum resolution of 480p. Along with its lower price, the Wii is well known by its unique controller, meant to resemble a TV remote. The system used a sensor bar that emits infrared rays that are detected by an infrared camera in the Wii remote to determine the orientation and location of the remote. By 2009, mobile phone games had grown sufficiently, and powerful complex games were being implemented, with the advantage of free distribution online, known as the App Store.

Finally, caught back up with today's eighth generation, with Nintendo introducing us to the all-new Nintendo Wii U. Being very different to other consoles, it included a controller/tablet hybrid whose features include the possibility of AR in gaming. The PlayStation 4 is Sony's contribution to the eighth generation with a new ‘share' button to stream video game content between devices, it came to be a very popular console. Microsoft also joined in, with the release of the Xbox One, a couple of days after Sony. With the poor sales of the Wii U, Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch, another hybrid console which is a tablet with controller attachments. The Switch can be connected to a television via a dock. Gaming systems in the Eighth Generation faced the increasing competition from mobile devices, with Apple's iOS and Google's Android. With low-cost games for mobile phones, it presents a new challenge to classic video game systems. In the Handheld sector of games, with Nintendo's success of the DS, they released another console named the Nintendo 3DS, which is able to project 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any other accessories. It is able to play original DS consoles, in standard gameplay, and succeeded the number of consoles sold to the original DS.

GENRES

Action games include on-screen physical challenges which use your hand-eye coordination and test your reaction time. The player typically controls a character in the form of a protagonist or an avatar. They must navigate through a lever, and by doing so, they collect objects, avoid obstacles and battle enemies with their natural skills, as well as weapons and tools if at hand. At the end of a level, the player must often defeat a boss enemy or a major antagonist who is often more difficult to destroy and can deplete the players' health and lives more than usual. An example of this genre would be ‘Grand Theft Auto', and ‘Assassin's Creed'.

First-person-shooter is another video game genre that is centred around a weapon (usually a gun) with a first-person perspective, the player can experience the action as if they are the protagonist. These are 3D games which would have a first-person viewpoint, and unlike third-person shooters, where the player can see behind their character, the first-person design is used to focus on combat and firearms, more than the player. An example of this genre would be ‘Destiny', or ‘Call of Duty'.

Survival Horror is a genre of video games inspired by horror fiction, that focuses on the survival of the character as the game tries to frighten players with horror graphics or scary ambience. Although combat can be a part of the gameplay, the player is made to feel less in control than in typical action games through limited ammunition, health, speed and vision. The player is then challenged to find items that unlock paths to new areas and solve puzzles to proceed in the game. Some well-known games would be ‘Until Dawn', and ‘The Evil Within'.

A role-playing game is a genre where the player controls the actions that the character completes. These games originate from original table-top games such as Dungeons & Dragons and use a lot of the original terminology throughout the gameplay. However, the electronic medium removed the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. These games have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.  Example of role-playing games are ‘Fallout 76', ‘The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim' and ‘Fallout 4'.

ACTION

Grand Theft Auto, commonly known as GTA, is an action video game series. Each game is set in a different fictional city and focus on an open world where the player can choose missions to complete to progress through the overall story.

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