History of video game consoles (eighth generation)
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The eighth generation of video game consoles includes these: Nintendo's Wii U, released on November 18, 2012; Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 4 released on November 15, 2013; and Microsoft's Xbox One, released on November 22, 2013. These video game consoles follow the previous seventh generation: Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Microsoft's Xbox 360. For video game handhelds, the generation began in February 2011 with the release of the Nintendo 3DS, successor to the Nintendo DS, in Japan, followed by a North American and European release in March. The successor of the PlayStation Portable, the PlayStation Vita, was released in December 2011 in Japan, and Western markets in February 2012.
The eighth generation of video game consoles is predicted to face competition from smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. Due to the proliferation of these devices, some analysts speculate the eighth generation to be the last generation of home consoles. In 2013, gaming revenue on Android overtook portable game console revenue, while remaining a distant second to iOS gaming revenue. In FY 2013 (ending early 2013), Nintendo sold 23.7 million consoles of any type, while Apple sold 58.2 million of the more expensive iPads in FY 2012 (ending late 2012).
The eighth generation has seen the rise of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) as the major processor vendor. All three of the eighth generation home consoles use AMD GPUs, and two of them use AMD CPUs. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony were not aware that they were all using AMD processors until all their consoles were announced. Both AMD and Nvidia are optimistic for the PC market, as the unified CPU/GPU processors in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One use the same x86 programming architecture found in PCs, with AMD planning to introduce similar processors to desktop and laptop PCs in the near future. Nvidia claims that unlike in previous generations, game consoles will no longer be able to compete with PC graphics due to massive R&D funding by Nvidia and AMD, and stricter size and power requirements of consoles.
The multi-million dollar pre-sale success of Ouya through crowdfunding has raised open-source development and the free-to-play model as key issues to be addressed by eighth generation consoles. The GameStick, Nvidia Shield, Razer Switchblade, Ouya, MOJO, GamePop and Steam Machine are attempting to compete in this market; however these are seldom referred to as eighth generation consoles.
Though prior console generations have normally occurred in five to six-year cycles, the transition from seventh to eighth generation has lasted more than six years. The transition is also unusual in that the prior generation's best-selling unit, the Wii, is the first to be replaced in the eighth generation. In 2011, Microsoft had stated they began looking at their next console, but they, along with Sony, considered themselves only halfway through a ten-year lifecycle for their seventh-generation offerings. Sony and Microsoft representatives have stated that the addition of motion controllers and camera-based controllers like Kinect and PlayStation Move have extended these systems' lifetimes. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had stated that his company would be releasing the Wii U due to declining sales of seventh generation home consoles and that "the market is now waiting for a new proposal for home consoles". Sony considered making its next console a digital download only machine, but decided against it due to concerns about the inconsistency of internet speeds available globally, especially in developing countries.
The eighth generation of consoles also sees a re-entry of manufacturers into the Chinese market, following the lifting of a 14-year video game console ban there during 2014. The Chinese government banned video game consoles in 2000, citing concerns of their effect on youth, meaning that consoles were forbidden to be officially and legally sold in retail stores in China, forcing console gaming into a niche and creating a black market for imported game devices. Both Microsoft and Sony have announced that they intend on releasing their consoles in China via the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, with the Xbox One to be released there in September 2014, whilst the PlayStation 4 has yet to have a fixed release schedule. CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House has also explained in September 2013 that the company intends on using the PlayStation Vita TV as a low-cost alternative for consumers in an attempt to penetrate the Chinese gaming market.
In November 2010, Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime stated that the release of the next generation of Nintendo would be determined by the continued success of the Wii. Nintendo announced their successor to the Wii, the Wii U, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 on June 7, 2011. After the announcement, several journalists classified the system as the first eighth generation home console. However, prominent sources have brought this into speculation because of its comparative lack of power with respect to the announced specifications for PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
The Wii U's main controller, the Wii U GamePad, features an embedded touchscreen that can work as an auxiliary interactive screen in a fashion similar to the Nintendo DS/3DS, or if compatible with "Off TV Play", can even act as the main screen itself, enabling games to be played without the need of a television. The Wii U is compatible with its predecessor's peripherals, such as the Wii Remote Plus, the Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board.
The Wii U was released in North America on November 18, 2012, in Europe on November 30, 2012 and in Japan on December 8, 2012. It came in two versions, the Basic Model and the Deluxe/Premium Model, at the price of $300 and $349 US Dollars, respectively. On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced production of the Basic model has ended and expected supplies to be exhausted by September 20, 2013. On October 4, 2013, the Deluxe/Premium model was price cut from US$ 349 to US$ 300.
On February 20, 2013, Sony announced the PlayStation 4 during a press conference in New York City, and was released on November 15, 2013 in North America. The new console places a heavy emphasis on features surrounding social interaction; gameplay videos can be shared via the PlayStation Network and other services, and users can stream games being played by themselves or others (either through the console, or directly to services such as Twitch). The PS4's DualShock 4 controller is similar to the previous model, but adds a touchpad and a "Share" button, along with an LED light bar on the front to allow motion tracking. An updated camera accessory will also be offered for the system; it now uses 1280×800px stereo cameras with support for depth sensing similar to Kinect, and remains compatible with the PlayStation Move peripherals. The PS4 will also have second screen capabilities through both mobile apps and the PlayStation Vita, and game streaming through the recently acquired Gaikai service.
The PlayStation 4 was released on November 15, 2013 in North America and November 29, 2013 in Australia and Europe at US$399.99, A$549 and €399 respectively.
On May 21, 2013, Microsoft announced the Xbox One at an event in Redmond, Washington. The console has an increased focus on entertainment, including the ability to pass television programming from a set-top box over HDMI and use a built-in electronic program guide, and the ability to multitask by snapping applications (such as Skype and Internet Explorer) to the side of the screen, similarly to Windows 8. The Xbox One also includes an updated version of Kinect with a 1080p camera and expanded voice controls, a new controller with "Impulse Triggers" that provide force feedback, and the ability to automatically record and save highlights from gameplay.
The Xbox One was released in North America, Europe and Australia on November 22, 2013 at a launch price of US$499.99, €499 and A$599 respectively with Japan and other countries set to be released at some point in 2014.
|Name||Wii U||PlayStation 4||Xbox One|
|Manufacturer||Nintendo||Sony Computer Entertainment||Microsoft|
|Launch prices||Basic Model
|Current prices||Deluxe/Premium Model
Same as launch prices
"Without Kinect" Model
|Units shipped||Worldwide: 6.68 million (As of 30 June 2014[update])||Unknown||Worldwide: 5 million (As of 18 April 2014[update])|
|Units sold||Unknown||Worldwide: 10 million (As of 12 August 2014[update])||Worldwide: 3 million (As of 31 December 2013[update])|
|Best-selling game||New Super Mario Bros. U, 4.16 million units (as of March 31, 2014)||Killzone Shadow Fall, 2.1 million units (as of March 2, 2014)||Unknown|
|Media||Wii U Optical Disc
Similar to a 25 GB single layer BD at 5x CAV
Wii Optical Disc
Similar to a 4.7 GB DVD or 8.4 GB DVD-DL at 6x CAV
Blu-ray at 6x CAV, DVD at 8x CAV
|CPU||Tri-Core IBM PowerPC "Espresso" @ 1.24 GHz
||Octa-Core (2 quad-core modules) AMD x86-64 "Jaguar"-based @ 1.6 GHz
Secondary low power processor (for background tasks)
|Octa-Core (2 quad-core modules) AMD x86-64 "Jaguar"-based @ 1.75 GHz
|GPU||AMD Radeon "Latte" (GX2)||AMD Radeon "Liverpool"||AMD Radeon|
|Storage||500 GB HDD (user replaceable)||500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD (non-replaceable)
8 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
|Supports up to 32 GB SDHC cards
Supports up to 2 TB USB HDD (Wii U Mode only)
|No external HDD support||Supports USB HDD larger than 256 GB|
|Game Installation||Only downloaded games can be installed to storage||All games must be installed to a connected HDD||All games must be installed to a connected HDD|
|Dimensions||When lying down on its side:
Width: 172 mm (6.7 in)
Height: 46 mm (1.8 in)
Length: 268.5 mm (10.5 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 275 mm (10.8 in)
Height: 53 mm (2.0 in)
Length: 305 mm (12.0 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 309 mm (12.1 in)
Height: 83 mm (3.2 in)
Length: 258 mm (10.1 in)
(must be oriented horizontally)
|Weight||1.5 kg (3.3 lb)||2.8 kg (6.1 lb)||3.2 kg (7.0 lb)|
|Power||75 W external power supply||250 W internal power supply||External power supply|
Deluxe/Premium Model only
1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p
576i, 480i (standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen)
|4K†, 1080p, 1080i and 720p
† 4K resolution supported for videos, movies and pictures only.
|4K, 1080p and 720p
|Integrated 3DTV support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Second screen||Wii U GamePad (bundled with console)||PlayStation Vita
PlayStation App on iOS and Android devices
|SmartGlass on Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices|
|Local game streaming via Off-TV Play to Wii U GamePad for some games||Local and remote game streaming via Remote Play to PS Vita for all games,
except those that require the PS Camera or PS Move
|Touch capability||Wii U GamePad includes an integrated resistive touchscreen||DualShock 4 controller includes an integrated 2 point capacitive touchpad||N/A|
|Camera||Wii U GamePad camera (bundled with all consoles)||PlayStation Camera||Kinect|
|Online services||Nintendo Network||PlayStation Network||Xbox Live|
|Downloads games and automatic updates in the background via SpotPass||Downloads games and automatic updates in the background||Downloads games and automatic updates in the background|
|Free||Paid subscription required for online multiplayer via PlayStation Plus
(Not required for party chat or media applications. Publishers of free-to-play games can optionally offer free online multiplayer.)
|Paid subscription required for online multiplayer and party chat via Xbox Live.
(Not required for media applications)
|Free||PlayStation Plus subscription not required for use||Paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold required|
|Regional lockout||Region locked||Unrestricted ||Unrestricted Worldwide excluding China |
|List of games||List of Wii U software||List of PlayStation 4 games||List of Xbox One games|
|Backward compatibility||Virtual Console (Wii U)[a]||Not natively compatible with PlayStation, PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3 titles due to hardware incompatibility. PlayStation Now cloud support planned.[c]||Not natively compatible with Xbox or Xbox 360 titles due to hardware incompatibility.|
|System software||Wii U system software||PlayStation 4 system software||Xbox One system software|
- The Virtual Console classic video game re-release distribution service on the Wii U currently has available for purchase, via Nintendo eShop, digital versions of games for the NES/Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, and Game Boy Advance platforms. See also List of Virtual Console titles.
- The Virtual Console on Wii Mode currently has available for purchase, via Wii Shop Channel, digital versions of games for the NES/Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, Nintendo 64, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine, Neo Geo, Commodore 64 (North America and PAL regions only), MSX (Japan only) and Arcade platforms. See also List of Virtual Console titles.
- The Gaikai cloud gaming service will provide streaming of titles from previous PlayStation systems starting in 2014.
The Nintendo 3DS is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Nintendo DS. The autostereoscopic device is able to project stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software. Announcing the device in March 2010, Nintendo officially unveiled it at E3 2010, with the company inviting attendees to use demonstration units. The console succeeds the Nintendo DS series of handheld systems, which primarily competes with PlayStation Portable. It competes with Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Vita.
The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011; in Europe on March 25, 2011; in North America on March 27, 2011; and in Australia on March 31, 2011. On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a major price drop starting August 12. In addition, as of September 2011 consumers who bought the system at its original price have access to ten Nintendo Entertainment System games before they are available to the general public, after which the games may be updated to the versions publicly released on the Nintendo eShop. In December 2011, ten Game Boy Advance games were made available to consumers who bought the system at its original price at no charge, with Nintendo stating it has no plans to release to the general public.
On June 21, 2012, Nintendo announced a new, bigger model of the 3DS called the Nintendo 3DS XL. It has 90% larger screens than the 3DS and slightly longer battery life. It was released on July 28, 2012 in Europe and August 19, 2012 in North America.
On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced a low cost, 2D version of the 3DS called the Nintendo 2DS. This redesign plays all Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS games, albeit without a 3D option. Unlike previous machines of the DS family, the Nintendo 2DS uses a slate-like design instead of a clamshell one. The console launched on October 12 in both Europe and North America.
PlayStation Vita is a handheld game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan and parts of Asia on December 17, 2011 and was released in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012.
The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the Vita features a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4 core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.
The device is backward-compatible with a subset of the PlayStation Portable and PS One games digitally released on the PlayStation Network via the PlayStation Store. However, PS One Classics and TurboGrafx-16 titles were not compatible at launch. The Vita's dual analog sticks are supported on selected PSP games via button mapping. The graphics for PSP releases are up-scaled, with a smoothing filter to reduce pixelation.
|Product Line||Nintendo 3DS||PlayStation Vita|
|Name||Nintendo 3DS||Nintendo 3DS XL||Nintendo 2DS||PS Vita (PCH-1000)||PS Vita (PCH-2000)|
|Manufacturer||Nintendo||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Current prices||Wi-Fi / Wi-Fi+3G|
|Units shipped||Worldwide: 44.14 million (As of 30 June 2014[update])||Worldwide: 4 million (As of 4 January 2013[update])|
|Best-selling game||Pokémon X and Y, 12.26 million units (as of March 31, 2014)||TBA|
|5 in (130 mm) OLED 960 × 544 px||5 in (130 mm) IPS LCD 960 × 544 px|
|Approximately 16.77 million colors||Approximately 16.77 million colors|
|5 brightness levels||0-100% brightness levels|
|CPU||Dual-core ARM11 MPCore & Dual-core VFP Co-Processor||Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore|
|GPU||Digital Media Professionals PICA200||PowerVR SGX543MP4+|
|Memory||128 MB FCRAM, 6 MB VRAM||512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM|
|Camera||One front-facing and a set of two rear-facing 3D 0.3 MP (VGA) camera sensors||Front and rear 0.3 MP (VGA) camera sensors|
|Storage||1 GB internal flash memory||No internal storage||1 GB internal flash memory|
|Supports up to 128 GB SDXC, up to 32 GB SDHC and up to 2 GB SD memory cards||Supports 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB proprietary removable memory cards|
|2 GB SD card included||4 GB SDHC card included||No external storage included|
|Media||Nintendo 3DS Game Card (1–8 GB) / Nintendo DS Game Card (8–512 MB)
|PlayStation Vita Game Card (2–4 GB)
|Battery||1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
||2200 mAh lithium-ion battery
||2210 mAh lithium-ion battery
|Determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and whether 3D is active (3DS models only)||Determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and whether 3G is active (3G model only)|
|Console Connection||Wii / Wii U||PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4|
|Stylus||Extendable up to 100 mm (3.9 in) long||96 mm (3.8 in) long||N/A|
|Weight||235 grams (8.3 oz)||336 grams (11.9 oz)||260 grams (9.2 oz)||Wi-Fi
260 grams (9.2 oz)
279 grams (9.8 oz)
|219 grams (7.7 oz)|
|Online services||Nintendo Network||Sony Entertainment Network|
|Full game download/installation and automatic updates in the background via SpotPass||Full game download/installation in the background|
|List of games||List of Nintendo 3DS games||List of PlayStation Vita games|
|Backward compatibility||Downloadable only|
|System software||Nintendo 3DS system software||PlayStation Vita system software|
- The Virtual Console classic video game re-release distribution service on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS currently have available for purchase digital versions of select games for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Entertainment System platforms, via Nintendo eShop. Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors also have 10 Game Boy Advance games available for download.
There are other consoles and handhelds released during the same time period. These include microconsoles.
|Amazon Fire TV||Amazon.com||April 2, 2014||Fire OS||Quad-core Qualcomm Krait 300||Qualcomm Adreno 320|
|GamePop||BlueStacks||TBA 2014||Android 4.2||Unreleased specs||Subscription-based|
|Steam Machine||Valve Corporation||TBA 2015||SteamOS||Varied specs||Line of consoles to be developed by various vendors that meet minimum specifications for SteamOS.|
|GameStick||PlayJam||October 29, 2013||Android 4.2||Amlogic 8726-MX||Mali-400 MP GPU|
|MOJO||Mad Catz||December 10, 2013||Android 4.2.2||Tegra 4||GeForce ULP GPU|
|FGB-T4-A8||ZTE||2014||Android 4.3||Tegra 4||GeForce ULP GPU|
|Ouya||Ouya Inc. (formerly Boxer8)||June 25, 2013||Android 4.1||Tegra 3||GeForce ULP GPU|
|PlayStation TV||Sony Computer Entertainment||November 14, 2013||PSVita OS||Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore||PowerVR SGX543MP4+||A home console version of PS Vita|
|Retron 5||Hyperkin||June 6, 2014||Android-based OS||Unreleased specs||Clone console|
|Archos GamePad||Archos||December 6, 2012||Android 4.1||Rockchip Dual-core @ 1.6 GHz||Mali 400 quad-core|
|Neo Geo X||Tommo||December 18, 2012||Linux||Ingenic JZ4770 @ 1 GHz||Vivante GC860|
|JXD S7800||JXD||October 2013||Android 4.2||Amlogic MX Dual-core @ 1.5 GHz||Mali 400 quad-core|
|Wikipad||Wikipad, Inc.||June 11, 2013||Android 4.1||Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-core @ 1.4 GHz||Custom 12-core GeForce|
|Nvidia Shield||Nvidia||July 31, 2013||Android 4.4||Tegra 4 Quad-core @ 1.9 GHz||Custom 72-core GeForce|
|Archos GamePad 2||Archos||TBA||Android|
|This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (November 2013)|
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