Depending on your age, you may very well feel like gaming consoles have been around forever, even though they’ve changed an evolved dramatically over the years. However, the reality is that gaming consoles only really came to be in 1972 with the invention of the Magnavox Odyssey, designed by Ralph H. Baer, a man often described as the “father of gaming”. The console was incredibly simple (by today’s standards) and was pretty much just a machine connected to a television.
Of course, things have changed a lot since then, with technology having progressed and becoming more and mor advanced every single year. Indeed, it wasn’t long before there were plenty of companies all around the world that started developing gaming consoles with new technology, all competing to create the best possible experience for users.
Stick with us as we go on a journey back in time and have a look at the most popular and the most influential gaming consoles in the history of the gaming tech industry.
- Atari 2600: 1977
There’s no doubt about the fact that the Atari 2600 laid the foundation for the gaming industry. By bringing the arcade experience into people’s homes and living rooms, this console was able to make gaming in general far more accessible.
The Atari 2600 was (and is) famous for classics including Pac-Man and Space Invaders, both of which continue to be incredibly popular games to this day. The establishment of this console all the way back in 1977, only six years after the first gaming console was development, made gaming as a pastime accessible to a far broader audience than ever before.
- Nintendo Entertainment System (NES): 1985
Today, Nintendo is a name that everybody knows whether they’re familiar with consoles and the world of gaming or not. Nintendo’s NES revolutionized the industry with its iconic square controller, as well as its lineup of incredible games that have since become iconic – including the likes of Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda.
But, arguably the most important role of the NES in the history of gaming consoles is the role it played in contributing to revitalizing the video game industry after the infamous crash of 1983. That is, before the launch of the NES, there was a massive influx of low-budget, rushed-to-market games that really shrunk the market for expensive games. However, the NES changed all this in the mid-80s.
- Sega Genesis: 1988
The Sega Genesis is possibly best known for introducing the iconic game (and character) of Sonic the Hedgehog into the gaming industry. But on top of that, it also introduced the concept of “blast processing” – the notion that the Sega Mega Drive’s main processor was twice as powerful of that of the company’s rivals, changing the game completely.
This console sparked the age-old rivalry between Sega and Nintendo, that led to many years of intense competition between these two gaming giants.
- Sony PlayStation: 1994
Possibly one of the best-known gaming consoles is the Sony PlayStation, the first edition of which was released in 1994. But there was far more to it than just being well known and popular – the Sony PlayStation changed the industry and the entire game altogether – by using CD-ROM technology, 3D-graphics and legendary titles like Final Fantasy VIII and Metal Gear Solid, it established itself as one of the leading forces in the gaming industry.
- Nintendo 64: 1996
Released to the world in 1996, the Nintendo 64 marked the company’s introduction to the world of 3D gaming, and it led to the release of games like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This is a console that had a massive impact on the industry as a whole, mostly because of its multiplayer capabilities and its innovative controller.
- Sony PlayStation 2: 2000
After the success of the original Sony PlayStation in 1994, the second edition of this console was expected to do very well – and it certainly did. In fact, it is the best-selling console of all time, and it offers a vast library of games in a range of different categories and niches. Furthermore, its DVD playback capability managed to expand its appeal even more, which solidified Sony’s dominance in the gaming market.
- Microsoft Xbox: 2001
In 2001, Microsoft entered the world of gaming with the Xbox, along with their Xbox Live online gaming service. They released games like Halo: Combat Evolved and the Xbox Live feature of this console marked a brand-new era of multiplayer gaming, which paved the way for online communities to thrive.
- Nintendo Wii: 2006
In 2006, ten years after its success with the Nintendo 64, Nintendo had more significant success with the Nintendo Wii, a console that took the world by storm with its motion-sensing controls. This technology changed the way in which games were played and it also made gaming accessible to a far broader demographic.
Immediately, Wii Sport became immensely popular – in fact, some called it a cultural phenomenon – as it showcased the console’s innovative approach to interactive entertainment and the possibilities that this technology brought with it.
- Sony PlayStation 4: 2013
Although Sony PlayStation released the PlayStation 3 in 2006, it was the Sony PlayStation 4 released in 2013 that really made waves, delivering powerful hardware and a robust lineup of brand-new games. In and amongst these PS4 games were The Last of Us and God of War, both of which have continued to be immensely popular, and the console emphasized a shift towards the world of digital gaming.
- Nintendo Switch: 2017
In 2017, Nintendo introduced the world to the hybrid concept of the Nintendo Switch, which allowed for seamless transitioning between handheld and home console modes. Much like Treasure Mile casino which allows for desktop and mobile play, the Nintendo Switch made it easy to play at home and on the go. It included popular titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it quickly became immensely popular, both due to the popularity of the games and the technology it used.