Eighth generation of video game consoles

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History of video games

In the history of video games, the eighth generation includes consoles released since 2012 by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. For home consoles, the eighth generation began on November 18, 2012 with the release of the Wii U, and continued with the release of the PlayStation 4 on November 15, 2013,[1] and Xbox One on November 22, 2013.[2][3] The Wii U was eventually discontinued in 2017 due to low sales to make way for the Nintendo Switch on March 3, 2017, a handheld-console hybrid.[citation needed] These video game consoles follow their seventh generation predecessors: Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, respectively. 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. Nintendo released additional variants in the 3DS family, such as the New Nintendo 3DS and the New Nintendo 2DS.[4] The successor of the PlayStation Portable, the PlayStation Vita, was released in Japan in December 2011, and in Western markets in February 2012.

The generation was predicted to face competition from smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.[5][6][7][8][9][10] In 2013, gaming revenue on Android overtook portable game console revenue, while remaining a distant second to iOS gaming revenue.[11] In FY 2013 (ending early 2013), Nintendo sold 23.7 million consoles,[12] while Apple sold 58.2 million iPads in FY 2012 (ending late 2012).[13] One particular threat to the traditional console game sales model has been the free to play model, wherein most users play free and either a small number of dedicated players spend enough to cover the rest, or the game is supported by advertising.[14]

Before 2017, all three of the eighth generation home consoles use AMD GPUs, and two of them use AMD CPUs, a transition from IBM's PowerPC Architecture used in the previous generation. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony were not aware that they were all using AMD processors until all their consoles were announced.[15] 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.[16]. With the release of the Nintendo Switch however, Nintendo used an Nvidia GPU and an Nvidia Tegra X1 chip as their CPU.

Various microconsoles have been released since 2012, although they are seldom referred to as part of the eighth (or any) generation of consoles. These have included the Ouya, Nvidia Shield Console, MOJO, Razer Switchblade, GamePop, GameStick, and PC-based Steam Machine consoles.[17][18][19]

Transition[edit]

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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[21][22][23][24] 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.[25] 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".[26] 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.[27]

Chinese market[edit]

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.[28][29] 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.[30] Both Microsoft and Sony have announced that they intend on releasing their consoles in China via the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone,[31][32] with the Xbox One released there in September 2014,[33] whilst the PlayStation 4 launched in China in March 2015.[34] 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.[35]

Home consoles[edit]

Wii U[edit]

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.[36] Nintendo announced their successor to the Wii, the Wii U, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 on June 7, 2011.[37] After the announcement, several journalists classified the system as the first eighth generation home console.[20][38][39] However, prominent sources have disputed this because of its comparative lack of power and older disc media type with respect to the announced specifications for PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.[40][41]

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.[42]

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 the 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.[43]

The Wii U had lifetime sales of about 13 million, in sharp contrast with the Wii, which had over 100 million over its life. This financially hurt Nintendo, with several financial quarters running at a loss through 2014. Nintendo had anticipated the Wii U would sell similarly to the Wii. Nintendo officially discontinued the Wii U on January 31, 2017, about a month before the release of the Nintendo Switch.[44]

Switch[edit]

Due to the poor sales of the Wii U, along with competition from mobile gaming, then-president Satoru Iwata sought to revitalize the company by creating a new strategy for Nintendo that included embracing mobile gaming, and developing new hardware that would be attractive to a wider range of audiences.[citation needed] The hardware product was announced under the codename NX in a press conference held with DeNA on March 17, 2015,[45] and fully revealed as the Nintendo Switch on October 20, 2016. The unit was released worldwide on March 3, 2017.

The Switch is considered by Nintendo a home console that has multiple ways to play. The main unit, the Console, is a tablet-sized device with a touch-sensitive screen. It can be inserted into a Docking Station which allows games to be played on a connected television. Alternatively, two Joy-Con, motion-sensitive controllers comparable to the Wii Remotes, can be slotted onto the sides of the Console so the unit can be played as a handheld. Further, the Console can be set on a kickstand, allowing multiple players to see the screen and play games with separate Joy-Con. Additionally, Nintendo built the Switch on standard industry components, allowing for ease of porting games onto the system using standard software libraries and game engines rather than Nintendo's proprietary approaches. This enabled them to bring several third-party and independent game developers on board prior to launch to assure a strong software library.

The Switch was met with critical praise and commercial success. Nintendo had anticipated selling about 10 million Switches in the first year of release but ended up exceeding this projection with total first-year sales of over 17 million units, exceeding the Wii U's lifetime sales.

PlayStation 4[edit]

On February 20, 2013, Sony announced the PlayStation 4 during a press conference in New York City, and it 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.[46][47]

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.

Xbox One[edit]

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 features a new controller with "Impulse Triggers" that provide force feedback, and the ability to automatically record and save highlights from gameplay. An updated version of Kinect was developed for Xbox One, with a 1080p camera and expanded voice controls. Originally bundled with the console, it has since been downplayed and excluded from later bundles.[48][49]

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 was later released in 26 other markets in 2014. It had two mid-generation upgrades, one released in 2016 called the Xbox One Slim, and the other called the Xbox One X. The Slim was the cheaper option, but did not power 4K gaming like the X.

Comparison[edit]

Product Line Wii U Nintendo Switch PlayStation 4 Xbox One
Name Wii U Nintendo Switch PlayStation 4 PlayStation 4 Slim PlayStation 4 Pro Xbox One Xbox One S Xbox One X
Manufacturer Nintendo Sony Microsoft
Image(s) Wii U Console and Gamepad.png Nintendo-Switch-Console-Docked-wJoyConRB.jpg PS4-Console-wDS4.png Sony-PlayStation4-Pro-Console-FL.jpg Microsoft-Xbox-One-Console-wKinect.png Microsoft-Xbox-One-S-Console-wController-L.jpg
A white Wii U console and GamePad A Nintendo Switch console in docked mode with Joy-Con controllers in Grip A PlayStation 4 console and DualShock 4 controller A PlayStation 4 Slim console A PlayStation 4 Pro console An Xbox One console, controller and Kinect sensor An Xbox One S console and controller An Xbox One X console
Release dates
  • NA: November 18, 2012
  • EU: November 30, 2012
  • AU: November 30, 2012
  • JP: December 8, 2012
  • WW: March 3, 2017
[50]
  • NA: November 15, 2013
  • EU: November 29, 2013
  • AU: November 29, 2013
  • JP: February 22, 2014
  • WW: September 15, 2016
[51]
  • WW: November 10, 2016
[52]
  • NA: November 22, 2013
  • EU: November 22, 2013 (select countries only)[53]
  • AU: November 22, 2013
  • JP: September 4, 2014[54]
  • NA: August 2, 2016 (select countries only)
  • EU: August 2, 2016 (select countries only)
  • AU: August 2, 2016
  • JP: November 24, 2016
  • WW: November 7, 2017
[55]
Launch prices Basic Model
  • US$299.99
  • £/, set by individual retailers
  • AU$348.00
  • ¥26,250

Deluxe/Premium Model

  • US$349.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • AU$428.00
  • ¥31,500
Launch Model[50] Launch Model[56]
  • US$399.99
  • €399
  • £349
  • A$549
  • ¥41,979
  • US$299
Launch Model
  • US$499.99
  • €499
  • £429
  • A$599
  • US$299

1TB Model

  • US$499.99
Current prices Deluxe/Premium Model
  • US$299.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
Launch Model
  • US$349
  • £299[57]
  • A$479 (500 GB Model)[58]
Launch Model
Same as launch prices
1TB Model (without Kinect)
Discontinued
  • WW: January 31, 2017
In production
  • WW: September 15, 2016
In production
  • WW: November 22, 2016
In production
Units shipped Worldwide: 13.56 million (as of December 31, 2016)[62][63] Worldwide: 14.86 million (as of December 31, 2017)[64] Worldwide: 82.2 million (as of June 1, 2018)[65] Worldwide: 10 million (as of December 2014; as of fall 2015, Microsoft does not report shipped unit numbers)[66][67][68]
Units sold Worldwide: 13.56 million
(as of June 30, 2017)[69]
Worldwide: 19.67 million (as of June 30, 2018)[70] Worldwide: 81.2 million (as of July 22, 2018)[71] Worldwide: 39.1 million
(as of March 31, 2018 estimate[72])
Best-selling game Super Mario Odyssey, 10.41 million (as of March 31, 2018)[70]
Media Wii U Optical Disc
Similar to a 25 GB single layer BD at 5x CAV[73]
Wii Optical Disc
Similar to a 4.7 GB DVD or 8.4 GB DVD-DL at 6x CAV
Nintendo Switch game card[74] Blu-ray, DVD
Blu-ray at 6x CAV, DVD at 8x CAV[75]
Blu-ray, DVD, CD HDR-supported Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, CD[76]
CPU Tri-Core IBM PowerPC "Espresso" @ 1.24 GHz[77]
  • L1 cache: 64 kB per core (32 kB instruction + 32 kB data)
  • L2 cache:MB L2 cache (Core 0: 512 KB, Core 1: 2 MB, Core 2: 512 KB)
  • L3 cache: Shared 32 MB (off-chip)
  • 45 nm

Secondary low power ARM9 processor (for background tasks)

Octa-core (2 quad-core modules) Nvidia Tegra X1 ARMv8-A SoC @ 1.02 GHz[78] Octa-Core (2 quad-core modules) AMD x86-64 "Jaguar"-based @ 1.6 GHz[79]
  • L2 cache: 4 MB (Cores 0-3: 2 MB, Cores 4-7: 2 MB)[80]
  • 28 nm

Secondary low power ARM processor (for background tasks)[81]

Octa-Core AMD x86-64 "Jaguar"-based @ 2.1 GHz
  • 14 nm
Octa-Core (2 quad-core modules) AMD x86-64 "Jaguar"-based @ 1.75 GHz[82]
  • L2 cache: 4 MB (Cores 0-3: 2 MB, Cores 4-7: 2 MB)[83]
  • 28 nm (Xbox One), 16 nm (Xbox One S)
Octa-Core (2 quad-core modules) AMD x86-64 "Jaguar"-based @ 2.3 GHz[84]
  • 16 nm
GPU AMD Radeon "Latte"[85] Nvidia GM20B Maxwell-based GPU[87]
  • 256 CUDA cores @ 307.2 - 384 MHz while undocked, 307.2 - 768 MHz while docked
  • 20 nm
AMD Radeon "Liverpool"
  • 1152 shaders @ 800 MHz (1.84 TFLOP/s)[83]
  • 25.6 Gpixel/s, 57.6 Gtexel/s[88]
  • 28 nm
AMD Radeon "Neo"
  • 2304 shaders @ 911 MHz (4.20 TFLOP/s)
  • 29.15 GPixel/s, 131.2 GTexel/s
  • 14 nm
AMD Radeon "Durango"
  • 768 shaders @ 853 MHz (1.31 TFLOP/s) [89]
  • 13.6 Gpixel/s, 40.9 Gtexel/s [90]
  • 28 nm
AMD Radeon
  • 768 shaders @ 914 MHz (1.4 TFLOP/s) [91]
  • 14.6 Gpixel/s, 43.8 Gtexel/s
  • 16 nm
AMD Radeon
  • 2560 shaders @ 1,172 MHz (6 TFLOP/s)[92]
  • 16 nm
Memory
1 GB available for games[94]
  • 4 GB LPDDR4 @ 1600 MHz (3200 MHz effective) (25.6 GB/s)[96]
  • 8 GB GDDR5 RAM @ 1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective) (176.0 GB/s)[83]
4.5–5.5 GB (flexible memory) available for games[citation needed]
  • 256 MB DDR3 RAM (for background tasks)[81]
  • 8 GB GDDR5 RAM @ 1700 MHz (6800 MHz effective) (217.6 GB/s)
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM (for background tasks)
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM @ 1066.5 MHz (2133 MHz effective) (68.3 GB/s)[83]
5 GB available for games[97][98]
  • 32 MB eSRAM @ 1706 MHz (3412 MHz effective) [204-218 GB/s (Xbox One), 219 GB/s (Xbox One S)] (on-die)
  • 12 GB GDDR5 RAM (326 GB/s)
Storage 8 GB/32 GB eMMC flash memory (non-replaceable)
1 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
32 GB eMMC NAND flash memory (non-replaceable)[87] 500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD (user replaceable)[99][100] 1 TB HDD (user replaceable) 500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD (non-replaceable)[101]
8 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)[90]
500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD, 2 TB HDD (non-replaceable)
8 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
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)[102]
Supports microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC up to 2 TB[103] Supports USB HDD over 240GB up to 8 TB (with System Software 4.50)[104] Supports USB 3.0 HDD larger than 256 GB up to 16 TB[105][106]
Game Installation Only downloaded games can be installed to storage Downloaded games can be installed to internal memory or SD card All games must be installed to a connected HDD[107] All games must be installed to a connected HDD
Network
  • Fast Ethernet (requires an attachment)
  • Built-in 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz
  • Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi @ 5 GHz (connection to the Wii U GamePad)
  • Ethernet (requires LAN adapter)
  • Built-in 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi @ 2.4 and 5 GHz[103]
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Built-in 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi[109]
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Built-in 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz[110]
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Built-in 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz[111]
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)
Console laying flat:
Width: 102 mm (4.0 in)
Height: 13.9 mm (0.55 in)
Length: 203.1 mm (8.00 in) (Console only)
239 mm (9.4 in) (Joy-Con attached)
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: 265 mm (10.4 in)
Height: 39 mm (1.5 in)
Length: 288 mm (11.3 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
When lying down on its side:
Width: 295 mm (11.6 in)
Height: 55 mm (2.2 in)
Length: 327 mm (12.9 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)[109]
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)[112]
When lying down on its side:
Width: 295 mm (11.6 in)
Height: 64 mm (2.5 in)
Length: 227 mm (8.9 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)[76]
When lying down on its side:
Width: 300 mm
Height: 60 mm
Length: 240 mm
Weight 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) 0.297 kg (0.65 lb) (Console only)
0.398 kg (0.88 lb) (Joy-Con attached)
2.8 kg (6.2 lb) 2.1 kg (4.6 lb) 3.3 kg (7.3 lb)[109] 3.2 kg (7.1 lb)[citation needed] 2.9 kg (6.4 lb)[76] 3.8 kg (8.4 lb)[84]
Power 75 W (external power supply)[113] 4,310 mAh, 3.7 V lithium-ion battery Max. 223 W (internal power supply) Max. 163 W (internal power supply) Max. 289 W (internal power supply)[109] (PSU)

Max. 310 W (internal power supply)[109] (Product Page)

Max. 220 W (external power supply) Max. 125 W (internal power supply) Max. 245 W (internal power supply) [84]
Included accessories

All Models

Deluxe/Premium Model only

  • Wii U GamePad stand
  • Wii U GamePad charging cradle
  • Wii U console stand
  • Two Joy-Con controllers (L and R)
  • Two Joy-Con straps
  • Joy-Con Grip
  • Switch Dock
  • HDMI cable
  • Xbox One controller
  • Wired mono headset
  • HDMI cable
Video 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p

576i, 480i (standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen)

720p (undocked)[103]

1080p (docked)

1080p, 1080i, 720p, and 480p
  • HDMI out 1.4b
4K, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, and 480p
  • HDMI out 2.0
1080p and 720p[114]
  • HDMI in/out 1.4b

4K, 1440p, 1080p and 720p[84][114][115]

  • HDMI in/out 2.0a
  • AMD FreeSync support
Integrated 3DTV support No No Yes Yes[116]
Second screen Wii U GamePad (bundled with console) N/A PlayStation Vita
PlayStation App on iOS and Android devices
SmartGlass on Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices
Local game streaming via Off-TV Play to Wii U GamePad for some games N/A Local and remote game streaming via Remote Play to PS Vita, macOS and Windows, or selected Sony Xperia smartphone[117] for all games,
except those that require the PS Camera or PS Move[118][119]
Local game streaming via Xbox App to Windows 10 PC[120]
Audio
  • 5.1 LPCM output via HDMI
  • Analog stereo via "AV Multi Out" port
  • Stereo speakers on Wii U GamePad
  • Stereo output via 3.5mm jack on Wii U GamePad
  • 5.1 LPCM output via HDMI
  • Stereo speakers on Console
  • Stereo output via 3.5mm jack on Console[103]
  • 7.1 LPCM and bitstreaming output via HDMI
  • 2.0 LPCM and bitstreaming output via optical out
  • Stereo output via 3.5mm jack on DualShock 4
  • Mono speaker on DualShock 4
  • 7.1 LPCM and bitstreaming output via HDMI
  • 2.0 LPCM and bitstreaming output via optical out
  • Internal system speaker[121]
  • Stereo output via extension port on controller (requires adapter for 3.5 mm jacks) and via 3.5 mm jack port (present only on 2nd and 3rd controller revisions)
Peripheral abilities
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • 2 HDMI (1 in port and 1 out port)[122]
  • 3 USB 3.0 ports (1 at side of console, 2 at rear)
  • Kinect port
  • Optical out port
  • Ethernet port
  • IR Blaster
  • Bluetooth 4.0[123]
  • 2 HDMI (1 in port and 1 out port)[76]
  • 3 USB 3.0 ports (1 at front of console, 2 at rear)
  • Optical out port
  • S/PDIF
  • Ethernet port
Controller
Touch capability Wii U GamePad includes an integrated resistive touchscreen Console includes multi-touch capacitive touchscreen[103] DualShock 4 controller includes an integrated 2 point capacitive touchpad N/A
Camera Wii U GamePad camera (bundled with all consoles) N/A PlayStation Camera Kinect Kinect (adapter required to use)[127]
Online services Nintendo Network Nintendo Switch Online
  • Nintendo eShop
PlayStation Network Xbox Live
Downloads games and automatic updates in the background via SpotPass Downloads automatic updates in the background Downloads games and automatic updates in the background Downloads games and automatic updates in the background[128]
Free Paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription required for online multiplayer, except for free-to-play titles[129] Paid PlayStation Plus subscription required for online multiplayer, except for free-to-play titles[130][131] Paid Xbox Live Gold subscription required for online multiplayer and party chat
Game DVR Screenshots with Miiverse integration (can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Tumblr) Screenshots with Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr integration[132] Screenshots with Facebook and Twitter integration Screenshots with Twitter integration
Gameplay replays with YouTube integration (select games only) Up to 30 seconds of gameplay with Facebook and Twitter integration[133][134] Up to 1 hour of gameplay with Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube integration; 720p for all PS4 models, 1080p for PS4 Pro Up to 5 minutes of gameplay; 1080p for all Xbox One models,[135] 4K for Xbox One X (external storage required)[136]
N/A N/A Live streaming with Dailymotion, Twitch, Ustream and YouTube Gaming integration Live streaming with Mixer and Twitch integration
Free Free Free Paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold required[137]
Regional lockout Region locked[138] Unrestricted Unrestricted[139] Unrestricted[140][141]
List of games List of Wii U games List of Nintendo Switch games List of PlayStation 4 games List of Xbox One games
Backward compatibility Supports Wii software on disc and downloaded from Wii Shop Channel. Games from previous generations available for digital purchase and download via Virtual Console on Nintendo eShop. Select games from previous generations are available for digital purchase and download on Nintendo eShop. This is limited to games published by third parties, or specifically ported to the nintendo switch. No Virtual Console system exists, and no legacy games purchased on previous consoles may be transferred to the nintendo switch, as they could be from the Wii to the Wii U. PlayStation Now cloud support for selected PlayStation 3 games began in January 2015 for North America. Subscription required.[142] Selected Xbox 360 and Xbox games; Requires download of digital version of game at no additional charge to existing owners of the game.[143][144][145]
System software Wii U system software Nintendo Switch system software PlayStation 4 system software Xbox One system software
Updates are downloaded and installed automatically in Standby Mode Automatic updates can be enabled by turning on Automatic Software Updates in System Settings[146] Updates are downloaded and installed automatically in Rest Mode Updates are downloaded and installed automatically in Instant-on Mode

Handheld systems[edit]

A trend starting from the eighth generation of handheld systems is that the general shift from dedicated handheld gaming consoles to mobile gaming on smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets. As such, smart devices have eroded sales of dedicated handheld gaming consoles, with analysts predicting that smart devices will replace handheld gaming consoles in the near future.[147]

3DS[edit]

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.[148] The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software.[148] Announcing the device in March 2010, Nintendo officially unveiled it at E3 2010,[148][149] with the company inviting attendees to use demonstration units.[150] The console succeeds the Nintendo DS series of handheld systems,[148] which primarily competes with PlayStation Portable.[151] It competes with Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Vita.[152]

The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011; in Europe on March 25, 2011; in North America on March 27, 2011;[153][154] 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.[155]

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 as well as Australasia on August 23, 2012, and Brazil on September 1, 2012.[156]

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[157] as well as Australasia.[158]

On August 29, 2014, Nintendo announced a newer model of the 3DS called the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL. It was released in Japan on October 11, 2014; in Australasia on November 21, 2014; in Europe on February 13, 2015; in North America on February 13, 2015, for the XL version. The smaller version for North America was released on September 25, 2015 bundled with the game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer.[159] In April 2017, Nintendo announced the New Nintendo 2DS XL, due for release in Japan on July 13, 2017, and in North America on July 28, 2017. It is a streamlined version of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, with identical screen sizes and its updated processor, but with a refreshed design and a thinner build.[160]

PlayStation Vita[edit]

PlayStation Vita is a handheld game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment.[161] It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan on December 17, 2011[162] and was released in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012.[163][164]

The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED/LCD multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the PS 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.[165][166]

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.[167] However, PS One Classics and TurboGrafx-16 titles were not compatible at launch.[168] 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.[169]

Comparison[edit]

Product Line Nintendo 3DS[170] PlayStation Vita
Name Nintendo 3DS Nintendo 3DS XL Nintendo 2DS New Nintendo 3DS New Nintendo 3DS XL New Nintendo 2DS XL PS Vita (PCH-1000) PS Vita (PCH-2000)
Manufacturer Nintendo Sony (SCE/SIE)
Console Nintendo-3DS-AquaOpen.png Nintendo-3DS-XL-angled.jpg Nintendo-2DS-angle.jpg New Nintendo 3DS New Nintendo 3DS XL New Nintendo 2DS XL PlayStation-Vita-1101-FL.jpg PlayStation-Vita-2001-FL.jpg
Release dates
  • JP: February 26, 2011
  • EU: March 25, 2011
  • NA: March 27, 2011
  • AU: March 31, 2011
  • KOR: April 28, 2012
  • JP: July 28, 2012
  • EU: July 28, 2012
  • NA: August 19, 2012
  • AU: August 23, 2012
  • KOR: September 20, 2012
  • EU: October 12, 2013
  • NA: October 12, 2013
  • AU: October 12, 2013
  • KOR: December 2013
  • JP: February 27, 2016
  • JP: October 11, 2014
  • AU: November 20, 2014
  • EU: January 6, 2015 (Ambassador Edition)
  • EU: February 13, 2015 (General release)
  • NA: September 25, 2015
  • JP: October 11, 2014
  • AU: November 20, 2014
  • EU: February 13, 2015
  • NA: February 13, 2015
  • AU: June 15, 2017
  • JP: July 13, 2017
  • KOR: July 13, 2017
  • NA: July 28, 2017
  • EU: July 28, 2017
  • JP: December 17, 2011
  • EU: February 22, 2012
  • NA: February 22, 2012
  • AU: February 23, 2012
  • JP: October 10, 2013
  • EU: February 7, 2014
  • NA: May 6, 2014
Launch prices
  • ¥25,000
  • US$249.99[171]
  • £/€, set by individual retailers[172]
  • A$349.95[173]
  • ¥18,900
  • US$199.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • A$249.90
  • US$129.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • A$149.95
  • ¥16,000
  • A$219.95
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • ¥18,900
  • A$249.95
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • US$199.99
Wi-Fi
  • ¥24,980
  • US$249
  • €249
  • £229.99
  • A$349.95[175]
Wi-Fi+3G
  • ¥29,980
  • US$299
  • €299
  • £279.99[176]
  • A$419.95
  • ¥19,929
  • £180
Current prices
  • ¥15,000[177]
  • US$169.99[178]
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • A$249.99[177]
Wi-Fi / Wi-Fi+3G
  • ¥19,980
  • US$199.99[179]
  • €199
  • £, set by individual retailers[180]
  • A$269.95
Units shipped Worldwide: 71.99 million (as of December 31, 2017)[62] Worldwide: 4 million (as of January 4, 2013)[181]
Best-selling game Mario Kart 7, 16.76 million units (as of December 31, 2017)[182]
TBA
Display Top Screen:

Bottom Screen:

Top Screen:
  • Autostereoscopic (3D) LCD
  • 4.88 in (124 mm)
  • 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 px per eye in 3D)

Bottom Screen:

  • 2D LCD resistive touchscreen
  • 4.18 in (106 mm)
  • 320 × 240 px QVGA
Top Screen:
  • 2D LCD
  • 3.53 in (90 mm)
  • 400 × 240 px

Bottom Screen:

  • 2D LCD resistive touchscreen
  • 3.02 in (77 mm)
  • 320 × 240 px QVGA
Top Screen:

Bottom Screen:

Top Screen:
  • Autostereoscopic (3D) LCD
  • 4.88 in (124 mm)
  • 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 px per eye in 3D)

Bottom Screen:

  • 2D LCD resistive touchscreen
  • 4.18 in (106 mm)
  • 320 × 240 px QVGA
Top Screen:
  • 2D LCD
  • 4.88 in (124 mm)
  • 400 × 240 px

Bottom Screen:

  • 2D LCD resistive touchscreen
  • 4.18 in (106 mm)
  • 320 × 240 px QVGA
5 in (130 mm) OLED capactive touchscreen 960 × 544 px[183] 5 in (130 mm) IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen 960 × 544 px
Approximately 16.77 million colors[184] Approximately 16.77 million colors
5 brightness levels 0-100% brightness levels
Autostereoscopy (3D) Yes No Yes (with 'Super Stable 3D' technology) No No
CPU Dual-core ARM11 MPCore[170] & Dual-core VFP Co-Processor[170] Quad-core ARM11 MPCore[170] & Quad-core VFP Co-Processor[170] TBA Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore[183][185]
GPU Digital Media Professionals PICA200 TBA PowerVR SGX543MP4+[183]
RAM 128 MB FCRAM, 6 MB VRAM 256 MB FCRAM, 10 MB VRAM TBA 512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM[186]
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[183]
Audio
  • Stereo speakers (2) (with pseudo-surround support)
  • Headphone jack
  • Mono speaker (1)
  • Headphone jack
  • Stereo speakers (2) (with pseudo-surround support)
  • Headphone jack
  • Stereo speakers (2)
  • Headphone jack
Storage 1 GB internal flash memory TBA No internal storage 1 GB internal flash memory
Supports up to 512 GB SDXC, up to 32 GB SDHC and up to 2 GB SD memory cards[187] Supports up to 512 GB MicroSDXC, up to 32 GB MicroSDHC and up to 2 GB MicroSD 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 4 GB microSDHC card included 4GB microSDHC Memory Card No external storage included
Media Nintendo 3DS Game Card (1–8 GB) / Nintendo DS Game Card (8–512 MB)
Digital distribution
PlayStation Vita Game Card (2–4 GB)
Digital distribution
User interface
  • Circle Pad (2× with add-on (3DS/3DS XL only))
  • C-Stick (New 3DS/New 2DS XL/New 3DS XL Only)
  • D-pad
  • Autostereoscopic (3D) 15:9(5:3) screen (top screen) (2DS and New 2DS XL displays 2D only)
  • Resistive 4:3 touchscreen (bottom screen)
  • 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope[184]
  • Volume slider
  • 3D depth slider (Not available on 2DS/New 2DS XL)
  • Front 2D camera and rear 3D camera sensors
  • Microphone
  • Wireless communications switch (3DS/3DS XL only)
  • SLEEP switch (2DS only)
  • 12 × buttons
    (X, Y, A, B, L, R (ZL and ZR with add-on or New 3DS/New 2DS XL/New 3DS XL), START, SELECT, HOME, POWER)
Battery 1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 3DS Mode: 3–5 hours
  • DS Mode: 5–8 hours
1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 3DS Mode: 3.5–6.5 hours
  • DS Mode: 6–10 hours
1300 mAh lithium-ion battery[189]
  • 3DS Mode: 3.5–5.5 hours
  • DS Mode: 6–9 hours
1400 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 3DS Mode: 3.5–6 hours
  • DS Mode: 6.5-10.5 hours
1700 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 3DS Mode: 3.5–7 hours
  • DS Mode: 7–12 hours
TBA 2200 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Gameplay: 3–5 hours
  • Video playback: 5 hours
  • Music: 9 hours[190]
2210 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Gameplay: 4–6 hours
  • Video playback: 6 hours
  • Music: 10 hours
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)
Connectivity
  • Integrated 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
  • IR port
  • NFC for Amiibo support (only on New 3DS/3DS XL; older 3DS series need to use a 3DS NFC reader accessory)
  • Integrated 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
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 76.5 mm (3.01 in) long 86 mm (3.4 in) long N/A
Weight 235 g (8.3 oz) 336 g (11.9 oz) 260 g (9.2 oz) 253 g (8.9 oz) 329 g (11.6 oz) 260 g (9.2 oz) Wi-Fi
260 g (9.2 oz)
Wi-Fi+3G
279 g (9.8 oz)
219 g (7.7 oz)
Dimensions
  • Width: 134 mm (5.3 in)
  • Depth: 74 mm (2.9 in)
  • Height: 21 mm (0.83 in)
  • Width: 156 mm (6.1 in)
  • Depth: 93 mm (3.7 in)
  • Height: 22 mm (0.87 in)
  • Width: 144 mm (5.7 in)
  • Depth: 127 mm (5.0 in)
  • Height: 20.3 mm (0.80 in)
  • Width: 156 mm (6.1 in)
  • Depth: 93 mm (3.7 in)
  • Height: 22 mm (0.87 in)
  • Width: 160 mm (6.3 in)
  • Depth: 93.5 mm (3.68 in)
  • Height: 21.5 mm (0.85 in)
  • Width: 182 mm (7.2 in)
  • Depth: 83.6 mm (3.29 in)
  • Height: 18.6 mm (0.73 in)[183]
  • Width: 183.6 mm (7.23 in)
  • Depth: 85.1 mm (3.35 in)
  • Height: 15 mm (0.59 in)[191]
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
Free Free
Preloaded applications

Applications

Multitasking Applications

  • Welcome Park
  • near
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Videos
  • PlayStation Store
  • Trophies
  • Friends
  • Party
  • Group Messaging
  • Notifications
  • Internet Browser
  • Email
  • Maps
  • Content Manager
  • Remote Play
  • Cross-Controller
  • Settings
Regional lockout Region locked[194] No region lock[195]
List of games List of Nintendo 3DS games List of PlayStation Vita games
Backward compatibility Nintendo DS / Nintendo DSi

Downloadable only

Downloadable only
System software Nintendo 3DS system software PlayStation Vita system software
  1. ^ The Virtual Console classic video game re-release distribution service on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS, New Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS XL and New Nintendo 2DS XL currently have available for purchase digital versions of select games for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Super Nintendo Entertainment System platforms, via Nintendo eShop. Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors also have 10 Game Boy Advance games available for download.

See also[edit]

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