History of video game consoles (eighth generation)

History of video game consoles (eighth generation)
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In the history of video games, the eighth generation of video game consoles is a term to describe the next iteration of video game consoles that are expected to follow the current seventh generation: Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii. It also describes handheld game units released in the similar timeframe. The Nintendo 3DS was released on February 26, 2011 and Sony's PlayStation Vita is due to be released on December 17, 2011 in Japan.

Presently, only Nintendo has announced its home console successor, the Wii U, to be released in 2012. Several journalists have classified the system as the first eighth generation system.[1][2][3]

Though previous console generations have normally occurred in five year cycles, the transition from seventh to eighth generation units has lasted more than six years.[2] The transition is also unusual in that the previous generation's best-selling unit, the Wii, is the first to be replaced in the eighth generation.[2] Both Microsoft and Sony have stated they have begun looking at their next iteration of consoles, but consider themselves only halfway through a ten-year lifecycle for their current seventh-generation offerings.[4][5][6][7] The addition of motion controllers and camera-based controllers like Kinect and PlayStation Move are considered to have extended these systems' lifetimes.[8]

It is anticipated that the eighth generation of video game consoles will face stiff competition from the smartphone and tablet gaming markets.[9][10][11][12] There are some that dispute this though.[13]

Home consoles

Wii U

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.[14] Nintendo announced their successor to the Wii, the Wii U, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 on June 7, 2011.[15] It is slated for release in 2012.[3]

The Wii U's main controller features an embedded touchscreen that can work as an auxiliary interactive screen, in a fashion similar to the Nintendo DS/3DS, or even as the main screen itself, enabling games to be played without the need of an extra screen connected to the console. It will also be compatible with its predecessor's standard controller, the Wii Remote and its upgraded version, the Wii Remote Plus, along with all of their peripherals and the Wii Balance Board.

Name Wii U
Console Wii U console illustration.svg

Wii U controller illustration.svg

WiiU.svg
Release dates After March 2012
Media Wii U Optical Disc 25 GB (single layer)
CPU IBM Power-based multi-core 45 nm microprocessor[16]
GPU Custom-designed AMD Radeon HD[17]
Storage Internal flash memory, expandable via SD memory cards and/or USB hard disk drives[18]
Integrated 3DTV support[a] Yes[19]
Controller
  • Main Wii U Controller
  • Wii Remote/Wii Remote Plus (up to 4 via Bluetooth)
  • Wii MotionPlus attachment (for Wii Remote)
  • Nunchuk attachment (for Wii Remote/Remote Plus)
  • Wii Classic Controller attachment (up to 4 via Wii Remote compatibility)
  • Wii Zapper (including upgraded version with
    docks for main controller and Wii Remote/Remote Plus)
  • Wii Balance Board
User interface

(Wii U Main Controller)

  • Built-in:
3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope
Microphone and speakers
Front-facing camera
IR sensor strip
6.2 inch (15.7 cm) 16:9 resistive touchscreen
  • Two Circle Pads and one D-pad
  • Stylus
  • Select, Start, Home and Power buttons
  • A/B/X/Y face buttons, L/R bumper buttons and ZL/ZR trigger buttons
  • Controller sync button
Video
Composite video
YPBPR component video
S-Video (NTSC consoles only)
RGB SCART (PAL consoles only)
D-Terminal (Japan only)
  • HDMI out port
Audio
  • Analog stereo via the Analog AV port.
  • Six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI
Peripheral capabilities
  • SD memory card slot (supports SDHC cards)
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports (2 at front of console, 2 at rear)
  • Bluetooth
  • Sensor Bar power port
  • "AV Multi Out" port
  • HDMI out port
List of games List of Wii U games

^a 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.

Handheld systems

Nintendo 3DS

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.[20] The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software.[20] Announcing the device in March 2010, Nintendo officially unveiled it at E3 2010,[20][21] with the company inviting attendees to use demonstration units.[22] The console succeeds the Nintendo DS series of handheld systems,[20] which primarily competes with Sony's PlayStation Portable.[23] It will compete with Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Vita.[24]

The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011; in Europe on March 25, 2011; in North America on March 27, 2011;[25][26] 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. Later the same year, ten Game Boy Advance games will also be available to consumers who bought the system at its original price at no charge, with Nintendo stating it currently has no plans to release to the general public.[27]

PlayStation Vita

PlayStation Vita is an upcoming handheld game console under development by Sony Computer Entertainment.[28] It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It is set to be released in Japan and parts of Asia on December 17, 2011[29] and in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012.[30][31]

The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the Vita features a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4 core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.[32][33]

The device is fully backwards-compatible with PlayStation Portable games digitally released on the PlayStation Network via the PlayStation Store.[34] However, PS One Classics/TurboGrafx-16 titles will not be compatible at (Japanese) launch.[35] The Vita's dual analog sticks will be supported on selected PSP games. The graphics for PSP releases will be up-scaled, with a smoothing filter to reduce pixelation.[36]

Handheld comparison

Nintendo 3DS PlayStation Vita
Console Nintendo-3DS-AquaOpen.png
Nintendo 3DS (logo).svg

PlayStation Vita illustration.svg

PlayStation Vita logo SVG.svg
Release dates
  • JP February 26, 2011
  • EU March 25, 2011
  • NA March 27, 2011
  • JP December 17, 2011
  • NA February 22, 2012
  • EU February 22, 2012
Launch prices ¥25,000
US$249.99[37]
£/€ - Set by individual retailers, usually about £230[38]
A$349.95[39]
$249/€249/¥24,980 - Wi-Fi
$299/€299/¥29,980 - Wi-Fi+3G[40]
Current prices ¥15,000 (as of August 11, 2011)[41]
US$169.99 (as of August 12, 2011)[42]
£/€ - Set by individual retailers
A$249.99 (as of August 12, 2011)[41]
N/A (not yet released)
Units Shipped Worldwide: 6.68 million (as of September 30, 2011)[43] N/A (not yet released)
Weight 230 grams (8.1 oz) TBA
Dimensions 134 mm (5.3 in) (w)
74 mm (2.9 in) (d)
21 mm (0.83 in) (h)
182 mm (7.2 in) (w)
83.55 mm (3.289 in) (d)
18.6 mm (0.73 in) (h)[44]
Media Nintendo 3DS Game Card (2-4 GB) PlayStation Vita Game Card (2-16 GB)
CPU ARM11 (Proprietary Nintendo design) 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore[45][44]
GPU DMP PICA200 200 MHz[citation needed] PowerVR SGX543MP4+[44]
Memory 128 MB FCRAM 512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM[46]
Storage
  • 256 MB NAND flash internal storage
  • Expandable to 32 GB through SD Cards
  • 2 GB SD card included
4 to 32 GB external storage
Display Top screen:
3.53 in (90 mm), Autostereoscopic (3D) LCD 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 px per eye)
Bottom screen:
3.02 in (77 mm), 320 × 240 QVGA
5 in (130 mm) OLED 960 × 544 px[44]
3D enabled Yes No
Battery 3-8 hours, depending on screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and 3D effect
(1300 mAh)
3-5 hours, depending on screen brightness, 3G is active, Wi-Fi, and sound volume
(2200 mAh)
Connectivity
User interface
Camera One front-facing and a set of two rear-facing 3D 0.3 MP (VGA) cameras Front and rear 0.3 MP (VGA) cameras (320×240(QVGA) @ 120 Hz; 640×480(VGA) @ 60 Hz)[44]
Regional Lockout Yes No
Online services
Preloaded applications
  • DS Download Play[50]
  • Nintendo 3DS Camera
  • Nintendo 3DS Download Play
  • Nintendo 3DS Sound[51]
  • Nintendo eShop
  • Activity Log[52]
  • Game Notes
  • Friend Roster
  • Notifications Menu
  • Internet Browser
  • AR Games
  • Face Raiders
  • Mii Maker
  • StreetPass Mii Plaza
  • Internet Browser
  • Friends
  • Music
  • Trophies
  • Photos
  • Group Messaging
  • Welcome Park
  • Near
  • Party
  • Activity
  • PlayStation Store
List of games List of Nintendo 3DS games List of PlayStation Vita games

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