History of video game consoles (seventh generation)
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|History of video games|
In the history of video games, the seventh generation includes consoles released since late 2005 by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony Computer Entertainment. For home consoles, the seventh generation began on 22 November 2005 with the release of Xbox 360 and continued with the release of PlayStation 3 on 17 November 2006, and Wii on 19 November 2006. Each new console introduced a new type of breakthrough in technology. The Xbox 360 offered games rendered natively at HD resolutions, the PlayStation 3 offered HD movie playback via a built-in 3D Blu-ray Disc player, and the Wii focused on integrating controllers with movement sensors as well as joysticks.
Joining Nintendo in the motion market, Sony Computer Entertainment released the PlayStation Move in September 2010. The PlayStation Move features motion sensing gaming, similar to that of the Wii. Microsoft joined the scene in November 2010, with its Kinect (previously announced under the working title "Project Natal" in June 2009). Unlike the other two systems (PlayStation 3 and Wii), Kinect does not use controllers of any sort and makes the users the "controller." Having sold 8 million units in its first 60 days on the market, Kinect has claimed the Guinness World Record of being the "fastest selling consumer electronics device". While the Xbox 360 offers wired controllers as a standalone product, all PlayStation 3 controllers can be used in wired and wireless configurations. Starting with handheld consoles, the seventh generation began on 21 November 2004 with the North American introduction of the Nintendo DS as a "third pillar", alongside Nintendo's existing Game Boy Advance and GameCube consoles.
The Nintendo DS (NDS) features a touch screen and built-in microphone, and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards. Additionally, the revised version of the NDS, the DSi, features two built in cameras, the ability to download games from the DSi store, and a web browser. The PlayStation Portable, or PSP, released later the same year on 12 December 2004, followed a different pattern. It became the first handheld video game console to use an optical disc format, Universal Media Disc (UMD), as its primary storage media. Sony also gave the PSP robust multi-media capability, connectivity with the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 (only on some games) and other PSPs, and Internet connectivity. The Nintendo DS likewise has connectivity to the internet through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and Nintendo DS Browser, as well as wireless connectivity to other DS systems and Wii consoles. Despite high sales numbers for both consoles, PlayStation Portable sales have consistently lagged behind those of the Nintendo DS; nevertheless, the PlayStation Portable has the distinction of being the best-selling non-Nintendo handheld gaming system.
- 1 Home consoles
- 2 Handheld systems
- 3 Other systems
- 4 Cloud gaming/Gaming on demand services
- 5 Software
- 6 References
Nintendo entered this generation with a new approach embodied by its Wii. The company planned to attract current hardcore and casual gamers, non-gamers, and lapsed gamers by focusing on new gameplay experiences and new forms of interaction with games rather than cutting edge graphics and expensive technology. This approach was previously implemented in the portable market with the Nintendo DS. Nintendo expressed hope that the new control schemes it had implemented would render conventionally controlled consoles obsolete, leading to Nintendo capturing a large portion of the existing market as well.
This strategy paid off, with demand for the Wii outstripping supply throughout 2007. Since Nintendo profited on each console right from the start unlike its competitors, it achieved very positive returns. With only a few exceptions, monthly worldwide sales for the Wii were higher than those of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, eroding Microsoft's early lead and widening the gap between its market share and Sony's. On 12 September 2007, it was reported by the British newspaper Financial Times that the Wii's sales surpassed those of the Xbox 360, which had been released one year previously, and became the market leader in worldwide home console sales for the generation.
As in previous generations, Nintendo provided strong support for its new console with popular first-party franchises like Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Pokémon, among others. To appeal to casual and non-gamers, Nintendo developed a group of core Wii games, consisting of Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Fit, and Wii Music, where players make use of the motion-sensing abilities of the console and its peripherals to simulate real world activities. With the exception of Wii Music, the games and their sequels have all been highly successful.
Publishers such as Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Capcom, and Majesco continued to release exclusive titles for the console, but the Wii's strongest titles remained within its first-party line-up. Analysts speculated that this would change in time as the Wii's growing popularity persuaded third-party publishers to focus on it; however, some third party developers expressed frustration at low software sales.[dated info] Goichi Suda, developer of No More Heroes for the Wii, noted that "only Nintendo titles are doing well. This isn't just because of the current situation in Japan, as this is happening outside Japan. I am very surprised about the reality about Wii, because before I was making this game, I wasn't expecting that Wii would be a console targeted only for non-gamers. I expected more games for hardcore gamers. The reality is different to what I expected." Conversely, the PAL publisher of No More Heroes Rising Star Games were greatly impressed with the game's sales. Goichi Suda later retracted his comment, saying his "point was that No More Heroes, unlike a lot of Nintendo Wii titles currently available is the kind of product that will attract a different kind of consumer to the hardware, i.e. gamers who are looking for a different genre to the products that have been successful on this platform thus far."
In early 2008, the NPD Group revealed sales data showing that, while the Wii's life-to-date attach rate was low, in December 2007, it reached 8.11—higher than the attach rates for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in that month. The Wii's low overall attach rate could be explained by reference to its rapidly increasing installed base, as financial analysts have pointed to the Xbox 360's high attach rates as indicative of an unhealthy lack of installed base growth, and warned that what actually benefits third-party developers is “quicker adoption of hardware and a rapidly growing installed base on which to sell progressively more game units,” which tends to lower the attach rate of a product.
On 23 September 2009, Nintendo announced its first price drops for the console. In the United States, the price was reduced by fifty dollars, resulting in a new Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $199.99, effective 27 September 2009. For Japan, the price dropped from ¥25,000 to ¥20,000, effective 1 October 2009. In Europe (with the exception of the United Kingdom), the price of a Wii console dropped from €249 to €199. On 3 May 2010, Nintendo announced that Wii consoles sold in the Americas now would include Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus, effective 9 May 2010. Since 15 May 2011, the Wii Console is US$149.99 and comes bundled with Mario Kart Wii.
Microsoft Xbox 360 gained an early lead in terms of market share, largely due to its established Xbox Live online gaming system, and its early launch date, which was one year before its rivals. Sales in North America and Europe have continued to be strong, even after the release of the Wii and PlayStation 3. Like its predecessor, the Xbox 360 received a muted reception in Japan, attributed to the lack of content aimed at Japanese gamers.
This early launch did come with some trouble, as technical problems appeared in a portion of Xbox 360 units sold. The most well-known problem is the "red ring of death" and Error E74, which received (and still receives) a great deal of attention due to some users having to replace their consoles multiple times. Microsoft attempted to address this by offering a three-year warranty on all affected consoles and repairing them free of charge. It also retroactively reimbursed owners of affected systems who paid for repairs. According to The Mercury News, new models of the console featuring 65-nanometer technology will address this and other issues; the new technology is expected to reduce heat production, which will lower the risk of overheating and system failures; although, this has never been officially confirmed by Microsoft.
As they share many cross-platform games and compete for the same audience as their predecessors, frequent comparisons are made between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The PS3 uses the Blu-ray format, while the Xbox 360 uses a standard DVD9. The Xbox 360 is less expensive to produce, and analysts expect that a mid-revision will allow Microsoft to break-even on manufacturing costs, while industry consensus is that the Xbox 360's conventional architecture is easier to develop for.
At the end of first half of 2007, the console stabilized at 11.6 million units shipped as sales dropped 60% while its rival, Wii, gained momentum and Sony announced a competitive price drop on the PlayStation 3. Microsoft's strategy to boost sales with the release of the highly anticipated Halo 3 in September 2007 paid off, outselling the Wii that month in North America. Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division experienced a huge increase in revenue, largely driven by the release of Halo 3, and posted a quarterly profit for the first time in two years.
The Xbox 360's advantage over its competitors owes itself to the release of high profile games, such as additions to the Halo franchise. The 2007 Game Critics Awards honored the platform with 38 nominations and 12 wins – more than any other platform. By March 2008, the Xbox 360 had reached a software attach rate of 7.5 games per console in the US; the rate was 7.0 in Europe, while its competitors were 3.8 (PS3) and 3.5 (Wii), according to Microsoft. At the 2008 Game Developers Conference, Microsoft announced that it expected over 1,000 games available for Xbox 360 by the end of the year. The Xbox 360 has managed to gain a simultaneous release of titles that were initially planned to be PS3 exclusives, including Devil May Cry, Ace Combat, Virtua Fighter, Grand Theft Auto IV, Final Fantasy XIII, Tekken 6, Metal Gear Solid : Rising, and L.A. Noire.
In August 2007, the first price drop was announced for all Stock Keeping Units (SKU's) of the Xbox 360. The Core system's price was reduced in the United States by $20, the Premium by $50, and the Elite model by $30. Also, the HDMI port, previously exclusive to the Elite system, was added to new models of the Premium and Arcade systems; the Core system was discontinued. Note: the "premium" system is sold in Australia as the "pro", Arcade and Elite systems retain the same names.
At E3 2010, Microsoft revealed a new US$299.99 Xbox 360 SKU known officially as the Xbox 360 S and referred to as the "Slim" by various media outlets. It replaced the Elite and comes with an integrated 802.11n WLAN adapter, integrated TOSLINK port, 5 USB ports and a 250 GB HDD. It also does not require an additional power supply to make use of Microsoft Kinect motion control accessory. A US$199.99 version was released on 3 August 2010 in the US which replaced the Arcade model. It has 4 GB and a 250 GB model of internal memory, it has a matte or glossy finish and it comes with a headset. At E3 2013 Microsoft revealed the Xbox 360 E, the final iteration of the Xbox 360 series, to be succeeded by Xbox One. The Xbox 360 E was originally priced at US$199.99 for a 4GB model, and US$299.99 for the 250GB model. The 360 E featured a new square design with a simplified exterior akin to the Xbox One.
Sony Computer Entertainment PlayStation 3 was released on 11 November 2006 in Japan and 17 November 2006 in the US and Canada. The system's reliance on new technologies such as the Cell microprocessor and Blu-ray format caused difficulties in manufacturing, especially the Blu-ray diode, leading to shortages at launch and the delay of the PAL region launches; however, by early December 2006, Sony announced that all production issues had been resolved. Market analysts and Sony executives noted that the success of the PlayStation 3 and the Blu-ray format were dependent on each other; Rich Marty, VP of New Business Development at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment stated that the “PS3 is critical to the success of Blu-ray," while Phil Harrison stated that the PlayStation 3's success would be ensured because "the growth of the Blu-ray Disc movie market ... is a positive factor which will play more into the consumer psyche ... as more consumer electronics firms launch standalone disc players, as more Blu-ray Disc movies become available, and as more shelf space is dedicated to the category at retail."
Sony would provide support for its console with new titles from acclaimed first-party franchises such as Gran Turismo, Team Ico, and God of War, and secured a number of highly anticipated third-party exclusive titles, including Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Yakuza 3, Valkyria Chronicles, and Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection ONLINE on the PlayStation Store. Titles that were originally exclusive or recognized with the platform, such as Devil May Cry, Ace Combat, Virtua Fighter, and Monster Hunter, have been released on other platforms. The previous Grand Theft Auto titles were originally timed exclusives on the PlayStation 2, before making their release on other platforms, such as the Xbox, months later; however, Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest installment, was released simultaneously on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Announced exclusives titles for the PlayStation 3 such as Assassin's Creed; Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, and Fatal Inertia were released on Xbox 360 as well, with the latter making its release on Xbox 360 before the PlayStation 3 version. The Katamari series, which has long been PlayStation 2 exclusives, found one of the more recent installments, Beautiful Katamari, exclusive to Xbox 360. These releases fueled rumors and fear that Final Fantasy XIII and Tekken 6, two highly anticipated exclusive PlayStation 3 games at the time, would also be available for Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3's primary competitor and at E3 2008, it was announced that Final Fantasy XIII would be simultaneously released on the Xbox 360 in Europe and North America; later on 8 October 2008, it was announced that Tekken 6 would also be releasing on the Xbox 360. After the multiplatform releases of these games, the fifth installment of the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, has also been announced for the Xbox 360; L.A. Noire, which was announced as an exclusive since the beginning of its development, has also been released for the Xbox 360; Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, has also been released on Xbox 360; the Persona series, which has a long history of being PlayStation exclusive, found the seventh generation installment, Persona 4 Arena multiplatform; however, Metal Gear Solid 4, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza 3, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection ONLINE, and Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice still remain PlayStation 3 exclusives. Sony has blamed lower-than-expected sales, loss of exclusive titles in the PlayStation 3 software library, its higher price, and stock shortages.
In July 2007, Sony announced a drop in the price of the console by $100. This measure only applied to the 60 GB models and was exclusive to the United States and Canada, where those models are no longer in production. On 18 October 2007, Sony announced a US$100 price drop for the 80 GB model and a new US$399 40 GB model to launch on 2 November 2007 with reduced features such as the removal of backward compatibility with PS2 games. Within weeks, Sony announced that sales of the 40 GB and 80 GB models by major retailers had increased 192%. In November 2008, Sony launched a $499 160 GB model, and on 18 August 2009, Sony announced the PS3 Slim. The PS3 slim sold 1 million in under a month. It was then announced that a 250GB slim model was to be released. It was released on 1 September (or 3 depending on country) and costs $299, £249 and €299. In Australia the console will cost A$499, which is A$200 less than the standard PS3. In September 2009, a $299 120 GB Slim Model was released. A $349 250 GB Model was later released later in 2009. In August 2010, the 160 GB Slim Model was released for $299. The same price for a 120 GB PS3 slim Model. In Japan, the 160GB slim model is also available in white. On 17 September 2010, Sony released the 320 GB Slim Model, but it only sold with the PlayStation Move for US$399.99.
In September 2012, Sony announced a new slimmer PS3 redesign (CECH-4000), commonly referred to as the "Super Slim" PS3. It was released in late 2012 it became available with either a 250 GB or 500 GB hard drive. The "Super Slim" model is currently the only model in production.
|Name||Xbox 360||PlayStation 3||Wii|
|Manufacturer||Microsoft||Sony Computer Entertainment||Nintendo|
|United States launch prices||
US$299.99 (Core) (discontinued)
US$499.99 (20 GB) (discontinued)
US$249.99 (white console with Wii Sports included) (discontinued)
|Japan launch prices||
¥27,800(Arcade 256 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
|Europe launch prices||
€179/ £199.99 (Arcade 256 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
€399.99 / £299.99 (40 GB) (discontinued)
€249.99 / £179.99 (white console with Wii Sports included)
|Media||DVD-DL||Blu-ray Disc||Wii Optical Disc (proprietary DVD-DL)|
|CPU||3.2 GHz IBM PowerPC tri-core codenamed "Xenon"||Cell Broadband Engine (3.2 GHz Power Architecture-based PPE with seven 3.2 GHz SPEs)||729 MHz PowerPC based IBM "Broadway"|
|GPU||500 MHz codenamed "Xenos" (ATI custom design)||550 MHz RSX 'Reality Synthesizer' (based on NVIDIA G70 architecture)||243 MHz ATI "Hollywood"|
|Memory||512 MB GDDR3 @ 700 MHz shared between CPU & GPU
10 MB EDRAM GPU frame buffer memory
|256 MB XDR @ 3.2 GHz
256 MB GDDR3 @ 700 MHz
|24 MB "internal" 1T-SRAM integrated into graphics package
64 MB "external" GDDR3 SDRAM
3 MB GPU frame buffer memory
4.4 × 16 × 21.5 cm (1,513.6 cm3) / 1.7 × 6.3 × 8.5 in (92.4 in3)
1.2 kg (2.6 lb)
^note 1 250 GB "Super Elite" consoles come with 2 Wireless controllers. 320 GB Xbox 360 S consoles come with a "transforming d-pad" controller.
|User interface||Xbox 360 Dashboard
New Xbox Experience (NXE)
*Twist Control is the unconfirmed name of the dashboard released on 6 December 2011 using Microsoft Metro (design language).
|XrossMediaBar (XMB)||Wii Menu|
|Backward compatibility||465 Selected Xbox games (as of November 2007). Additions made with software updates. Official Xbox hard drive required.||The first generation model is backwards compatible with PS1 and PS2 titles through the inclusion of the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer chips.
The second generation model offers less backward compatibility for PS2 titles. Owing to only featuring the Graphics Synthesizer, and having to emulate the CPU.
|Supports all Nintendo GameCube software and most accessories.
The "Family Edition" and "Mini" models drops support for GameCube games.
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
|Video and entertainment services||
4oD* (UK Only; Xbox Live Gold required)
4oD (UK only, via internet browser)
BBC iPlayer (UK only)
|Consumer programmability||Development on PC with XNA Game Studio ($99/year subscription, binary distribution with XNA 1.0 Refresh)||Featured development on console (excluding RSX graphics acceleration) via free Linux platform or PC (excluding all Slim models and any console updated to firmware 3.21 and later)||WiiWare
Homebrew Channel (Non-official software)
*2 USB 2.0 ports on 3rd gen and 4th gen (slim) models
|Optical media||12× DVD (65.6–132 Mbit/s), CD||2× BD-ROM (72 Mbit/s), 8× DVD, 24× CD, 2× SACD*
*Compatibility removed in 3rd & 4th gen models
|Wii Optical Disc, Nintendo GameCube Game Disc (DVD-Video playback was announced for Japan in 2007, but has not been released)|
|Video outputs||HDMI 1.2a (on models manufactured after August 2007), VGA (RGBHV), Component/D-Terminal (YPBPR), SCART (RGBS), S-Video, Composite||HDMI 1.3a, Component/D-Terminal (YPBPR), SCART (RGBS), S-Video, Composite||Component/D-Terminal (YPBPR), SCART (RGBS), S-Video, Composite|
|Resolutions||HDTV-capable (480i, 480p, 576i (50 Hz), 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p)
Various monitor resolutions available via VGA and HDMI/DVI (640×480, 848×480, 1024×768, 1280×720, 1280×768, 1280×1024, 1360×768, 1440×900, 1680×1050 & 1920×1080)
|HDTV-capable (480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p)||EDTV-capable (480i, 480p, 576i)|
|Audio||Dolby Digital, WMA Pro, DTS*, DTS-ES*
*(DVD and HD DVD movies only)
|Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Digital Plus*, Dolby TrueHD*, DTS-HD Master Audio*, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio*, DTS-ES‡, DTS 96/24‡, DTS-ES Matrix†
*DVD and Blu-ray movies only.
‡DVD movies only.
†Blu-ray movies only.
|Dolby Pro Logic II surround, stereo sound and an additional Mono speaker is built into the controller.
Optional 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter (Built in with the Slim models)
Built-in 802.11 b/g Wi-fi (all models except 20 GB)
|Built-in 802.11 b/g Wi-fi
Optional Ethernet via USB adapter
Included/Optional* detachable SATA upgradeable 20 GB, 60 GB, 120 GB,250 GB or 320 GB hard drive.
2.5-inch upgradeable SATA hard drive (upgradeable with any 2.5-inch SATA 1.0 compliant HDD or SSD).
512 MB built-in flash memory
|Integrated 3DTV support[c]||Yes||Yes||No|
^a Game packages not listed. Bundles, special editions and limited editions may include additional or exchanged items.
^b There is a verity of other input devices available for all three consoles, including rhythm game controllers, microphones and third-part gamepads/controllers.
^c All consoles are capable of producing 3D images using anaglyph or frame-compatible systems (side-by-side/SbS, top and bottom/TaB), as these do not require any special output hardware. As such, these display modes are dependent on the software being displayed rather than the console.
Facebook and Twitter apps for Xbox 360 were retired in October 2012.
Worldwide figures are based on data from the manufacturers. The Canada and the United States figures are based on data from the NPD Group, the Japan figures are based on data from Famitsu/Enterbrain, and the United Kingdom figures are based on data from GfK Chart-Track.
|Console||Units sold worldwide||Units sold to customers in Australia||Units sold to customers in Canada||Units sold to customers in Japan||Units sold to customers in the US||Units sold to customers in Europe|
(as of 31 March 2014)
(as of October 2010)
(as of 16 December 2009)
(as of 31 December 2013)
(as of 28 February 2011)
(as of December 2010)
|PlayStation 3||80 million
(as of November 2013)
(as of 31 December 2010)
(as of 6 October 2010)
(as of 11 April 2010)
(as of December 2010)
(as of December 2010)
|Xbox 360||84 million||1 million
(as of 20 April 2010 and include sales from New Zealand)
(as of 31 July 2008)
(as of 28 February 2010)
(as of December 2010)
(as of December 2010)
|Total||261.06 million||4.2 million||4.4 million||24.0 million||79.8 million||53.4 million|
Discontinuations and revisions
- The PlayStation 3 20 GB was discontinued in North America in April 2007 and effectively discontinued in Japan in early 2008.
- The PlayStation 3 60 GB was discontinued in NTSC territories by September 2007, and replaced with the 80 GB version.
- The PlayStation 3 60 GB was effectively discontinued for PAL territories in late 2007. When the remaining stock in stores was sold, the 40 GB version served as its replacement.
- Sony announced before the PS3 launch in Europe that the PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine CPU would be removed from it for cost savings, and all backwards compatibility would be software-based. This is also the same for the 80 GB model launched in the North American market in 2007.
- An HDMI out port was added to the Premium Xbox 360 in May 2007.
- The Xbox 360 Core system was discontinued and replaced by the "Arcade" version in October 2007.
- The price of the Xbox 360 Premium version was dropped to US$299 in North America on 13 July 2008. Supplies of the existing 20 GB model were exhausted by early August and it was replaced by an identical model with a 60 GB HDD at a MSRP of US$349.
- The PlayStation 3 40 GB was discontinued in all territories in early August 2008 and the new 80 GB version served as its replacement.
- The Xbox 360 Arcade 256 MB internal memory SKU was discontinued in all territories in early 2009 and a new 512 MB internal memory SKU still named the Xbox 360 Arcade was released.
- The PlayStation 3 Slim was introduced on 18 August 2009. At US$299, it is US$100 cheaper than the previous model; it is also approximately ⅓ lighter and more energy efficient. The two original PS3 Slim models, priced at US$299.99 and US$349.99 respectively, hold 120/250 GB. These were then superseded by 160 GB and 320 GB models, which are priced at US$249.99 and US$299.99 respectively.
- The black Wii console was released in Japan on 1 August 2009 and in Europe in November 2009.
- The Wii package for North America has been updated to include a copy of Wii Sports Resort as well as the required Wii MotionPlus accessory to play it, beginning 9 May 2010. The console is also available in black.
- A special edition red Wii console was released in honor of Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary.
- The Xbox 360 S was announced at E3 2010 by Microsoft. It is a smaller revision of the Xbox 360 hardware, which includes either a built-in 250 GB hard drive or 4 GB of Flash storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a TOSLINK connector, 5 USB ports and an AUX connector for the Kinect sensor device.
- The Wii Family Edition was released on 23 October 2011. It drops support for GameCube games and accessories, and is designed to sit horizontally.
- The Xbox 360 E was revealed and released at E3 2013 on June 10, 2013. It featured a new slimmer design, that was quieter than ever before.
The Wii is fully backwards compatible with titles from the GameCube of the same region as the Wii. It also offers support for some of its predecessor's accessories. The Wii Family Edition and Wii Mini drops support for GameCube games and accessories. Early versions of the PlayStation 3 and all models of the Xbox 360 only offer partial support and use software emulation for backwards compatibility. Current versions of the PS3 do not offer PlayStation 2 compatibility, though PS1 compatibility is retained. The first generation of the PS3 offered full backwards compatibility for PS2 games. The Xbox 360's compatibility is increased through game-specific patches automatically downloaded from Xbox Live or downloaded and burned to a CD or DVD from the Xbox website and the PS3's compatibility is expanded with firmware updates. All three consoles provide titles from older consoles for download; the Xbox 360 through the Xbox Originals service, the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Store, and the Wii through the Virtual Console. When purchased, the game is saved to console's internal memory or, optionally on the Wii, to an inserted SD/SDHC card. Initially the Xbox 360 also provided Xbox Live support for backwards compatible games, but the service has since been discontinued for original Xbox games. No more games will be added to the list of backwards compatible games for the Xbox 360. In response to the lack of backward compatibility for most PS3s, many popular games have been released for download as PlayStation 2 Classics and other popular series have been updated with gameplay/graphics as high-definition remasters for PlayStation consoles and have been released on Blu-ray Disc or are available for download on the PlayStation Network.
High definition and enhanced definition video
Both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 support 1080p high definition video output. However, the output signal may be protected by digital rights management and may require an HDCP-compliant display if HDMI is used. The Xbox Live Marketplace service and the PlayStation Store offer HD movies, TV shows, movie trailers, and clips for download to the console's HDD. Other regional PlayStation Stores only allow download of movie trailers and short segment clips. As of November 2009, the Video Download service present on the American PlayStation Store will be available for select European countries.
While only a small number of games render video in native 1080p, many games can be automatically scaled to output this resolution. The Wii is capable of outputting 480p for the Wii Menu and most games through a component cable, which must be purchased separately.
In the September 2009 issue of Game Informer magazine, survey results were published in which among nearly 5000 readers who responded, 54.2% of those who owned an Xbox 360 had experienced a console failure for that system, compared with 10.6% for PlayStation 3, and 6.8% for Wii.
In August 2009, warranty provider SquareTrade published console failure rate estimates, in which the proportion of its customers reporting a system failure in the first two years is 23.7% for Xbox 360, 10.0% for PlayStation 3, and 2.7% for Wii.
For video game handhelds, the seventh generation began with the release of the Nintendo DS on 21 November 2004. This handheld was based on a design fundamentally different from the Game Boy and other handheld video game systems. The Nintendo DS offered new modes of input over previous generations such as a touch screen, the ability to connect wirelessly using IEEE 802.11b, as well as a microphone to speak to in-game NPCs. On 12 December 2004, Sony released its first handheld, PlayStation Portable. The PlayStation Portable was marketed at launch to an above 25-year old or "core gamer" market, while the Nintendo DS proved to be popular with both core gamers and new customers.
Nokia revived its N-Gage platform in the form of a service for selected S60 devices. This new service launched on 3 April 2008. Other less-popular handheld systems released during this generation include the Gizmondo (launched on 19 March 2005 and discontinued in February 2006) and the GP2X (launched on 10 November 2005 and discontinued in August 2008). The GP2X Wiz, Pandora, and Gizmondo 2 were scheduled for release in 2009.
Another aspect of the seventh generation was the beginning of direct competition between dedicated handheld gaming devices, and increasingly powerful PDA/cell phone devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the latter being aggressively marketed for gaming purposes. Simple games such as Tetris and Solitaire had existed for PDA devices since their introduction, but by 2009 PDAs and phones had grown sufficiently powerful to where complex graphical games could be implemented, with the advantage of distribution over wireless broadband.
|Name||Nintendo DS / DS Lite / DSi / DSi XL||PSP-1000 series / PSP-2000 Series / PSP-3000 Series / PSP Go / PSP-E1000 series|
|Manufacturer||Nintendo||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|PSP-1000 series Pack:
PSP-2000 series Core Pack:
PSP Go (PSP-N1000): US$249.99 (equivalent to $275.00 in 2014
|Media||Nintendo DS Game Card, Game Boy Advance cartridge (DS, DS Lite only), SD (HC) Card (DSi only)||Universal Media Disc (UMD) (PSP-1000, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-E1000 series only), Memory Stick Duo (PSP-1000, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 series only), Memory Stick Micro (M2), Flash memory (PSP Go only), Content delivery via PSN (All)|
|Best-selling game||New Super Mario Bros., 29.09 million, all versions combined (as of 31 March 2012)
Nintendogs, 23.64 million (as of 31 March 2011)
|Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, 2.7 million (as of January 2009)
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories 2.7 million (as of 26 November 2008)
|Included accessories and extras||
|CPU||DS and DSL: 67 MHz ARM9 and 33 MHz ARM7
DSi: 133 MHz ARM9 and 33 MHz ARM7
|MIPS R4000-based; clocked from 1 to 333 MHz (2 of these)|
|Memory||DS and DSL: 4 MB SRAM
DSi: 16 MB
|EDRAM (5 MB reserved for kernel, 3 for music)
PSP-1000: 32 MB
PSP-2000, PSP-3000, PSP Go: 64 MB
|Dimensions||DS: 148.7 × 84.7 × 28.9 mm (5.85 × 3.33 × 1.13 inches)
DS Lite: 133 × 73.9 × 21.5 mm (5.24 × 2.9 × 0.85 inches)
|PSP 1000: 74 mm (2.9 in) (h) 170 mm (6.7 in) (w) 23 mm (0.91 in) (d)
PSP Slim & Lite:71.4 mm (2.81 in) (h) 169.4 mm (6.67 in) (w) 18.6 mm (0.73 in) (d)
PSP Go: 69 mm (2.7 in) (h) 128 mm (5.0 in) (w) 16.5 mm (0.65 in) (d)
||DS: 275 g (9.7 oz)
DSL: 218 g (7.7 oz)
DSi: 214 g (7.5 oz)
DSi XL: 314 g (11.1 oz)
|PSP 1000: 280 g (9.9 oz)
PSP Slim & Lite 189 g (6.7 oz)
PSP Go: 158 g (5.6 oz)
|Online service||Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, DSi Shop (DSi only), DSi camera(DSi only), DSi sound(DSi only), Internet browser(DSi only), Flipnote studio(DSi only), Facebook(DSi XL only)||PlayStation Network, RSS reader, Skype (PSP-2000 series, PSP-3000 series and PSP Go only), PlayStation Store
Internet browser, Digital comics, Remote Play
|Backward compatibility||Game Boy Advance (DS, DS Lite only)||PlayStation (downloadable PSone Classics only), TurboGrafx-16/TurboGrafx-CD (via PlayStation Store), Neo Geo (via PlayStation Store), PlayStation 3 (through Remote Play)|
|System software||Nintendo DS Menu (DS, DS Lite), Nintendo DSi Menu (DSi)||XrossMediaBar (XMB)|
|Consumer programmability||See Nintendo DS homebrew||See PlayStation Portable homebrew|
|Resolutions||256 × 192 (both screens)||480 × 272|
|Network||Wi-Fi 802.11b, Wi-Fi 802.11g (DSi only, only functions with DSi-specific software), wireless ad hoc with other DS units and Nintendo Wii||Wi-Fi 802.11b (PSP-1000, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP Go only), IrDA (PSP-1000 series only), Bluetooth (PSP Go only), wireless ad hoc with other PSP units and PS3|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone jack||Stereo speakers, headphone jack|
|I/O||1 Nintendo DS Game Card slot
1 GBA slot (DS, DS Lite only)
1 SD (HC) card slot (DSi Only)
|UMD drive (PSP-1000, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-E1000 series only)
1 USB device port (proprietary connector on PSP Go, mini-b connector on other models)
1 Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo slot (Memory Stick Micro (M2) on PSP Go)
1 IrDA (PSP-1000 series only)
|Storage||Nintendo DS Game Card, SD (HC) card (DSi only)||Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo (Memory Stick Micro (M2) on PSP Go), 16 GB flash memory (PSP Go only)|
|Battery life||DS, backlight on: 14 hours
DS Lite, minimum brightness setting: 15–19 hours
DSi, minimum brightness setting: 9–14 hours
|MP3 playback: 10 hours
Game: approximately 3–6 hours
Video playback: 3–7 hours depending on screen brightness setting
Wi-Fi internet browsing: approximately 3–4 hours
|Units sold (all models combined)||Worldwide: 153.98 million (as of 31 December 2013)
Japan: 32.99 million (as of 31 December 2013)
|Worldwide: 80 million (as of November 2013)
Japan: 11,078,484 (as of 28 December 2008)
Note: First year of release is the first year of the system's worldwide availability.
There were also other consoles released during the seventh generation time period. Generally, they are either niche products or less powerful.
|EVO Smart Console||Envizions||2006||Can be considered as a Media PC|
|Zeebo||Zeebo Inc.||2009||Sold in Mexico, Brazil and India only|
|HyperScan||Mattel||2006||Designed for children's use|
|Game Wave||ZAPiT Games||2005||Family-friendly built-in games|
|Vii||JungleTac||2007||Chinese Wii clone|
|Wii Mini||Nintendo||2013||redesigned version of the Wii|
|Clickstart My First Computer||LeapFrog||2007|
|CAANOO||GamePark Holdings||16 August 2010||Runs emulators|
|Fusion: 30-In-1 Portable Arcade||Jungle Soft||2010?||Built-in games|
|GP2X Wiz||GamePark Holdings||12 May 2009|
|Leapster2||LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.||2008||Educational games|
|Mi2 / PDC Touch||Planet Interactive/Conny Technology/Videojet||November 2009 – Benelux, China, France,
Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal
|Many built-in games|
|Pandora||OpenPandora||May 2010||Runs on Linux and designed for homebrew|
|Pelican VG Pocket||Pelican Accessories||August 2006|
- Released in China only
|Dingoo A320||Shenzhen Dingoo Digital Co., Ltd.||March 2009|
|Ez MINI||Mitac or Mio||2005|
- Released in South Korea only
|GP2X||GamePark Holdings||10 November 2005|
Cloud gaming/Gaming on demand services
|OnLive||OnLive||17 June 2010|
|Gaikai||Gaikai||27 February 2011|
|Playcast Media Systems|
- Assassin's Creed II (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft was met with widespread critical acclaim. Its success spawned two direct sequels, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. It garnered Metacritic scores of 91, 90, and 86 respectively. The game was praised for its stronger emphasis on open-world exploration and interaction, non-linear gameplay and greater mission variety compared to the first Assassin's Creed.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Rocksteady Studios, Eidos Interactive, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has been praised for its innovation, gameplay, and compelling storyline. It won a Guinness World Record for 'Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever'. It broke the record in this category by achieving an average score of 91.67 from reviews around the world. Its sequel Batman: Arkham City (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U) would later become even more critically acclaimed than its predecessor, becoming the highest-rated game of 2011. It received universal acclaim for its narrative, character and world designs, and Batman's combat and navigation abilities and was the recipient of several awards including: Game of the Year, Best Action Game, Best Action Adventure Game, Best Adventure Game, and Best Original Score from different media outlets.
- Bayonetta (PS3, Xbox 360) by Platinum Games and Sega received universal critical acclaim, including perfect scores from Famitsu and Edge, and is considered to have surpassed peers in its genre.
- BioShock (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Irrational Games and 2K Games is considered a major influential and artistic game of this generation with a plot that quickly created controversy with the decisions the player makes during the game. BioShock 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) and BioShock Infinite (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), the franchise's subsequent titles also received similar acclaim from critics and players alike. BioShock Infinite received universal acclaim upon release, with reviews singling out the game's plot and visual aesthetics as the main standouts, becoming the highest rated first-person shooter of 2013. It was also favorably compared to the first BioShock game, with some critics even considering Infinite had surpassed it.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Infinity Ward and Activision garnered universal critical acclaim and is considered among the best games in its genre. With the release of its direct sequel and every single installment up until the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Call of Duty franchise quickly propelled into the fastest and best selling video game franchise of the seventh generation of video games.
- Dark Souls 2 (Ps3, PC, Xbox 360) generated critical acclaim upon release, and is considered an incredible followup from its predecessor. Being released after the releases of new generation consoles at the time, Dark Souls II is considered one of if not the best game in the late years of the cycle of the seventh generation to play.
- Gears of War (PC, Xbox 360) by Epic Games and Microsoft Studios had preorder sales that were second only to Halo 2 in the studio's history. Gears of War was also the first Xbox or Xbox 360 game to sell out and reach the top ten charts in Japan. On 7 November 2006—the day that it was released—it became the most popular game on the Xbox Live service, overtaking Halo 2, which had held the spot since its launch in November 2004. By 19 January 2007, just ten weeks after its debut, over three million units of the game had been sold.
- Grand Theft Auto IV (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Rockstar North and Rockstar Games is a sandbox-style action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North. The game received universal acclaim, and was so popular that a few Hollywood producers set precedent by beginning to browse video-game release dates to check for conflicts with movie release dates, due to Grand Theft Auto IV's potential harm to the 2 May 2008 release of Iron Man. As of January 2014, the PS3 and Xbox 360 version has taken the fourth and seventh positions of GameRankings' best-rated games of all time, respectively. GTA IV also shattered worldwide weekly sales records of any entertainment media to date by grossing over $500 million within the first week of its release. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360) as one of the AAA titles to release initially in the seventh generation of video game consoles, it was highly anticipated preceding its release. It was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised the story, presentation and open world gameplay. It broke industry sales records by earning US $800 million in the first 24 hours of its release, and $1 billion within its first three days, making it the fastest selling entertainment product in history.
- Guitar Hero and Rock Band (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii), music game franchises which used specially-designed controllers that mimicked musical instruments and allowed uses to play a large selection of licensed music, were extremely popular during the seventh generation, with over twenty different title releases across various platforms. Activision's Guitar Hero series sold more than 25 million units with over $2 billion in retail revenue, while Harmonix's Rock Band series has sold over 13 million copies; both series were augmented with a large volume of downloadable content. However, due to saturation of the market in 2009 along with the economic recess, both series have since ceased publishing, though Harmonix has stated they will bring back Rock Band to the eighth-generation when the time is right.
- Halo 3 (Xbox 360) by Bungie and Microsoft Studios broke many first day records, including preorders (1.7 million+), and first day sales (US$170 million+), surpassing its predecessor, Halo 2, in both of these fields. It also featured advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology for enemies, though the player's allies' intelligence was less refined.
- LittleBigPlanet (PS3) by Media Molecule and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) was one of the most highly anticipated games of 2008. Upon release, it received high critical acclaim with a score of 95/100 on Metacritic and was the second most highly rated game of that year (behind Grand Theft Auto IV). It was praised by G4 as a game that "not only lives up to the hype but exceeds it so many ways" and IGN called it "nothing short of astounding". It's sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2 was released in 2011 to similar critical acclaim.
- Mario Kart Wii (Wii) by Nintendo EAD and Nintendo received highly positive reviews which commended the wide array of characters, tracks, karts, and distinctive online gameplay. Overall, it is the second best-selling game for Wii at 35.53 million copies sold, after Wii Sports as of March 31, 2014. Mario Kart Wii is also the best-selling racing game of all time.
- Mass Effect 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Bioware and Electronic Arts, the most acclaimed game of the Mass Effect series, set a new standard for expansive yet cohesive storytelling and character development. It remains one of the best reviewed games of the generation (96% on Metacritic for the 360 version) and won numerous awards including the BAFTA and AIAS Game of the Year awards.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) by Kojima Productions and Konami received widespread critical acclaim upon release, receiving a perfect 10 from IGN, GameSpot and numerous other game reviewers. It also got a 94% from Metacritic. The game was a financial driving force for Konami, reaching 5 million units sold in the financial year of 2009. It's often considered one of the best games of the generation by critics and players alike.
- Portal and Portal 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Valve Corporation were critically acclaimed and have sold millions of copies. Both games are often cited as some of the most influential games of the decade for rejuvenating the "first person puzzle" genre and have been selected, along with a few other titles, to be put in the Museum of Modern Art as an example of a work of art in video games.
- Red Dead Redemption (PS3, Xbox 360) by Rockstar San Diego and Rockstar Games is one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2010. It won numerous Game of the Year Awards and received a 95/100 on the review aggregate site Metacritic.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks was one of the fastest selling games of all times, and one of the most critically acclaimed of this generation. The art style of the game world drew acclaim from many reviewers and it became the highest rated role-playing game of 2011.
- Street Fighter IV (Arcade, PC, PS3, Xbox 360) by Dimps and Capcom garnered universal critical acclaim and is considered perhaps the finest 2D fighter ever made.
- Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development (Nintendo EAD) and Nintendo sold more copies in its first week, including over 500,000 in the US, than any other Mario title in the history of the franchise. As of November 2012, Galaxy and its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, are the first and third highest rated games of all time respectively, as listed on GameRankings, along with being the recipients of many game of the year awards.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) by Sora Ltd. and Nintendo is the first in the series to have third-party characters, with the inclusion of Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. It dominated sales during its first week in Japan and the United States, selling 820,000 in Japan and becoming the fastest-selling video game in Nintendo of America's history with 1.4 million sold in the US. The game was critically acclaimed, receiving 93% on Metacritic.
- The Last of Us (PS3) by Naughty Dog and SCE scored over 50 perfect scores from gaming publications. It has been rated as the best PlayStation 3 game of 2013 on Metacritic, and has had one of the biggest launches of the year with 1.3 million sold.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) by Naughty Dog and SCE was the most positively-reviewed game of 2009 and is one of the most critically acclaimed games of the generation. It received universal critical acclaim with a Metacritic score of 96 out of 100, a GameRankings score of 96.38%. At E3 2009, Uncharted 2 won the most E3 awards of any game. Critics praised almost every aspect of the game ranging from high quality music and sound to graphics.
- Wii Sports (Wii) by Nintendo EAD and Nintendo has been attributed as a major factor in the Wii's worldwide success. The game, along with Wii Fit, has been cited as attracting a more broad mainstream audience. This is a rarity among seventh generation games, as developers tend to try to attract young men. It has also been cited as one game that can provide a bonding experience among family members, and as a means of exercising and losing weight when played regularly. As of 31 March 2014, the game has sold 82.54 million copies worldwide—including bundled copies, making it the best-selling Wii game and the best-selling video game of all time.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) by Nintendo EAD and Nintendo received perfect scores from at least 30 publications and was praised for its intuitive motion-based swordplay.
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