History of video game consoles (seventh generation)

History of video game consoles (seventh generation)
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In the history of video games, the seventh generation of consoles is the current generation as of 2011, and includes consoles released since late 2005 by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. For home consoles, the seventh generation began on November 22, 2005 with the release of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and continued with the release of Sony's PlayStation 3 on November 11, 2006, and Nintendo's Wii on November 19, 2006. Each new console introduced a new type of breakthrough in technology. The Xbox 360 offered games rendered natively at HD resolutions (as opposed to upscaling, which could be done in a small number of sixth generation titles), the PlayStation 3 offered, in addition to HD gaming, HD movie playback out of the box via a built-in Blu-ray Disc player, and the Wii focused on integrating controllers with movement sensors as well as joysticks.[1]

Joining Nintendo in the motion market, Sony released the PlayStation Move in September 2010. The PlayStation Move features motion sensing gaming, similar to that of the Nintendo's Wii. Microsoft also joined Sony and Nintendo, with its Kinect. Unlike the other two systems (PlayStation 3 and Wii), Kinect does not use any controllers of any sort and makes 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".[2][3] 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 November 21, 2004 with the North American introduction of the Nintendo DS as a "third pillar", alongside Nintendo's existing Game Boy Advance and GameCube consoles.[4]

The Nintendo DS (NDS) features a touch screen and built-in microphone, and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards.[5] 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 December 12, 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.[6][7] Sony also gave the PSP robust multi-media capability,[8] connectivity with the PlayStation 3 and other PSPs, and Internet connectivity.[9][10] 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.[11]

Home consoles

Wii

Nintendo entered this generation with a new approach embodied by its Wii. The company planned to attract current hardcore and casual gamers,[12] non-gamers,[13] and lapsed gamers by focusing on new gameplay experiences and new forms of interaction with games rather than cutting edge graphics and expensive technology.[14] This approach was previously implemented in the portable market with the Nintendo DS.[15] 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.[16]

This strategy paid off, with demand for the Wii outstripping supply throughout 2007.[17] Since Nintendo profited on each console right from the start unlike its competitors,[18] it has already achieved very positive returns.[19] With only a few exceptions, monthly worldwide sales for the Wii have been higher than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3,[20][21][22] eroding Microsoft's early lead and widening the gap between its market share and Sony's.[15] On September 12, 2007, it was reported by the British newspaper Financial Times that the Wii's sales had surpassed the Xbox 360, which had been released one year previously, and became the market leader in worldwide home console sales for the current generation.[23]

As in previous generations, Nintendo has 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,[24] and Wii Music,[25] where players make use of the motion-sensing abilities of the console and its peripherals to simulate real world activities.[26] With the exception of Wii Music, the games and their sequels have all been highly successful.

Publishers such as Ubisoft, EA, Capcom, and Majesco continue to release exclusive titles for the console, but the Wii's strongest titles still remain within its first-party line-up. Analysts speculated that this will change in time as the Wii's growing popularity persuades third-party publishers to focus on it;[21][27] however, some third party developers are beginning to express frustration at low software sales. 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."[28] Conversely, the PAL publisher of No More Heroes Rising Star Games were greatly impressed with the game's sales.[29] 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."[30]

In early 2008, the NPD Group revealed sales data showing that, while the Wii's life-to-date attach rate is low, in December 2007, it reached 8.11—higher than the attach rates for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in that month.[31] 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.[32]

On September 23, 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 September 27, 2009.[33] For Japan, the price dropped from ¥25,000 to ¥20,000, effective October 1, 2009.[34] In Europe (with the exception of the United Kingdom), the price of a Wii console dropped from €249 to €199.[35] On May 3, 2010, Nintendo announced that Wii consoles sold in the Americas now include Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus, effective May 9, 2010.[36] Since May 15 2011 the Wii Console is now US$149.99 Bundled with Mario Kart Wii.

Xbox 360

Microsoft's 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,[37] attributed to the lack of content aimed at Japanese gamers.[38]

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", 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.[39] It also retroactively reimbursed owners of affected systems who paid for repairs.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41] 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,[42][43] while industry consensus is that the Xbox 360's conventional architecture is easier to develop for.[44][45]

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.[46][47] 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.[20] 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.[48]

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.[49][50] 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.[51] 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.[52] The Xbox 360 has managed to gain a simultaneous release of titles that were initially planned to be PS3 exclusives, including Devil May Cry,[53] Ace Combat,[54] Virtua Fighter,[55] Grand Theft Auto IV,[56] Final Fantasy XIII,[57] Tekken 6,[58] Metal Gear Solid : Rising,[59] and L.A. Noire.[60]

In August 2007, the first price drop was announced for all Stock Keeping Units (SKU's) of the Xbox 360.[61] The Core system's price was reduced in the United States by $20, the Premium by $50, and the Elite model by $30.[61] 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.[62] 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's Kinect motion control accessory. A US$199.99 version was released on August 3, 2010 in the US which replaced the Arcade model. It only has 4 GB of internal memory, has a matte rather than glossy finish and does not come bundled with a headset; otherwise it is the same as the 250 GB model.

PlayStation 3

Sony's PlayStation 3 was released on November 11, 2006 in Japan and November 17, 2006 in USA 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.[63] Market analysts[64] 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,"[65] 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."[66]

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, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Agent, and Demon's Souls. Titles that were originally exclusive or recognized with the platform, such as Devil May Cry,[53] Ace Combat,[54] Virtua Fighter,[55] and Monster Hunter,[67] 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.[56] Announced exclusives titles for the PlayStation 3 such as Assassin's Creed;[68] 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.[69] The Katamari series, which has long been PlayStation 2 exclusives, found one of the more recent installments, Beautiful Katamari, exclusive to Xbox 360.[70] These releases, which had fueled rumors and fear to the fans that Final Fantasy XIII and Tekken 6, two highly anticipated exclusive PlayStation 3 games at one point in time, would also be available for Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3's primary competitor[71][72][73][74][75] and at E3 2008, it was announced that Final Fantasy XIII would be simultaneously released on the Xbox 360 in Europe and North America;[57] later on October 8, 2008, it was announced that Tekken 6 would also be releasing on the Xbox 360;[58][76] 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; however, Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Demon's Souls, and Agent still remain PlayStation 3 exclusives.[77][78][79][80][81] Sony has blamed lower-than-expected sales, loss of exclusive titles in the PlayStation 3 software library, its higher price, and stock shortages.[82][83][84]

In July 2007, Sony announced a drop in the price of the console by $100.[85] 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.[86] On October 18, 2007, Sony announced a US$100 price drop for the 80 GB model and a new US$399 40 GB model to launch on November 2, 2007[87] 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%.[88] In November 2008, Sony launched a $499 160 GB model,[89] 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 September 1 (or 3 depending on country) and costs $299, £249 and €299.[90] In Australia the console will cost A$499, which is A$200 less than the standard PS3.[91] In September 2009, a $299 120 GB Slim Model was released. A $349 250 GB Model was later released later in 2009. The Slim model is currently the only model in production. 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.[92] On September 17, 2010, Sony released the 320 GB Slim Model, but it only sold with the PlayStation Move for US$399.99.

Comparison

Name Xbox 360 PlayStation 3 Wii
Console

Xbox 360 S with controller

Xbox 360 logo.svg

60 GB PS3, 120 GB "slim" PS3 with controller

PlayStation 3 Logo neu.svg

Wii with Wii remote

Wii.svg
Release dates
  • NA November 22, 2005
  • EU December 2, 2005
  • JP December 10, 2005
  • AUS March 23, 2006
More...
  • JP November 11, 2006
  • NA November 17, 2006
  • PAL March 23, 2007
More...
  • NA November 19, 2006
  • JP December 2, 2006
  • AUS December 7, 2006
  • EU December 8, 2006
More...
United States launch prices

US$299.99 (Core) (discontinued)
US$399.99 (Premium - 20 GB) (discontinued)
US$249.99 (Premium - 60 GB) (discontinued)
US$479.99 (Elite) (120 GB) (discontinued)
US$299.99 (Arcade - 256 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
US$199.99 (Arcade - 512 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
US$299.99 ("Super Elite") (250 GB) (discontinued)
US$299.99 (Xbox 360 S - 250 GB)
US$199.99 (Xbox 360 S - 4 GB internal memory)

US$499.99 (20 GB)[93] (discontinued)
US$599.99 (60 GB)[93] (discontinued)
US$499.99 (80 GB - old)[94][95] (discontinued)
US$399.99 (40 GB)[96] (discontinued)
US$399.99 (80 GB - new) (discontinued)
US$499.99 (160 GB) (discontinued)
US$299.99 (120 GB "Slim") (discontinued)
US$249.99 (160 GB "Slim")[97]
US$349.99 (250 GB "Slim")[98](later 320 GB)
US$399.99 (320 GB "Slim". Only with PlayStation Move)

US$249.99 (white console with Wii Sports included) (discontinued)
US$199.99 (white console or black console with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus included; red console packaged with Wii Sports and New Super Mario Bros. Wii)[36](discontinued)
US$149.99 (white console or black console with Mario Kart Wii and Wii Remote Plus

Japan launch prices

¥27,800 (Arcade 256 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
¥27,800 (Arcade 512 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
¥29,000 (Core) (discontinued)
¥39,795 (Premium) (20 GB) (discontinued)
¥29,800 (Premium) (60 GB) (discontinued)
¥47,800 (Elite) (discontinued)

¥49,980 (20 GB) (discontinued)[93]
¥59,980 (60 GB) (discontinued)
¥39,980 (40 GB) (discontinued)[99]
¥49,980 (80 GB) (discontinued)
¥39,980 (80 GB - new) (discontinued)[93]

¥25,000 (white console)
¥25,000 (black console)[100]
¥33,000 (black console with Monster Hunter Tri and Classic Controller Pro included)[101]

Europe launch prices

179/ £199.99 (Arcade 256 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
€179 / £199.99 (Arcade 512 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
€299.99 / £209.99 (Core) (discontinued)
€399.99 / £279.99 (Premium) (discontinued)
£299.99 (Elite) (discontinued)
€249.99 / £199.99 (Xbox 360 S - 250 GB)[102]
€199.99 / £149.99 (Xbox 360 S - 4 GB)[103]

€399.99 / £299.99 (40 GB) (discontinued)
€599.99 / £424.99 (60 GB) (discontinued)
€399.99 / £299.99 (80 GB - new) (discontinued)
€299.99 / £249.99 (120 GB "Slim") (discontinued)

€249.99 / £179.99 (white console with Wii Sports included)
€199.99 / £179.99 (black console with Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus included)[104]

Media DVD-DL Blu-ray Disc Wii Optical Disc
Best-selling game Call of Duty: Black Ops, 12 million[105] Call of Duty: Black Ops, in excess of 6.37m[106] Wii Sports (pack-in, except in Japan), 76.76 million [107]

Best selling non-bundled game: Mario Kart Wii (28.23 million)[108]

CPU 3.2 GHz IBM PowerPC tri-core codenamed "Xenon" Cell Broadband Engine (3.2 GHz POWER-based PPE with seven 3.2 GHz SPEs) 729 MHz PowerPC based IBM "Broadway"[109]
GPU 500 MHz codenamed "Xenos" (ATI custom design) 550 MHz RSX 'Reality Synthesizer'[110] (based on NVIDIA G70 architecture)[111] 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

Dimensions

8.3 cm × 30.9 cm × 25.8 cm (6,616.9 cm³) / 3.3 in × 12.2 in × 10.2 in (403.8 in³)

"Slim"- 6.5 cm × 29 cm × 29 cm (5,466.5 cm³) / 2.6 in × 11.4 in × 11.4 in (337.9 in³)[112]
Original- 9.8 cm × 32.5 cm × 27.4 cm (8,726.9 cm³) / 3.9 in × 12.8 in × 10.8 in (532.5 in³)[113]

4.4 cm × 16 cm × 21.5 cm (1,513.6 cm³) / 1.7 in × 6.3 in × 8.5 in (92.4 in³)

Weight

3.5 kg (7.7 lb)[114]

Mid-2011 "Slim" (CECH-30xxA/B): 2.6 kg (5.7 lb)[115]
"Slim": 3.2 kg (7.1 lb)[112]
Original: 5 kg (11 lb)[113][116]

1.2 kg (2.6 lb)[117]

Included accessories[a]
  • Controller:
    • Wired (Core model only)
    • Wireless controller (all models except Core)[note 1]
  • Wired headset (all models except Core, Arcade and 4 GB Xbox 360 S consoles)
  • AV cable:
    • Composite AV cable (all models except Pro/Premium and pre-Sept 2009 Elite)
    • Component HD AV cable (Pro/Premium and pre-Sept 2009 Elite only)[note 2]
  • Ethernet cable (Pro/Premium and pre-Sept 2009 Elite only)
  • HDMI cable and audio adapter (pre-Sept 2009 Elite only)
  • Removable storage:
    • Various removable hard disk drives, size dependent on SKU (all models except Core, Arcade and 4 GB Xbox 360 S consoles)
    • 256 MB Memory Unit (some Arcade models only, later replaced with on-board (non-removable) storage)

^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.
^note 2 replaced with the D-Terminal HD AV Cable (D 端子 HD AV ケーブル?) in Japan

  • Controller:
    • Sixaxis wireless controller (20 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB and some CECHExx 80 GB models only)
    • DualShock 3 wireless controller (all models except 20 GB, 40 GB and 60 GB and some CECHExx 80 GB models)
  • USB A → mini-B cable
  • AV cable (composite video/stereo audio)
  • Composite AV cable
  • Wii Remote controller and Nunchuk attachment
  • Sensor Bar
  • Console stand and plate
Accessories (retail)

see Xbox 360 accessories

see PlayStation 3 accessories

Controller[b]
User interface Xbox 360 Dashboard
New Xbox Experience (NXE)
XrossMediaBar (XMB) Wii Menu
System software
features
Backward compatibility 465 Selected Xbox games (as of November 2007). Additions made with software updates. Hard drive required. North American and Japanese 20 GB and 60 GB models have full backwards compatibility for PS1 and PS2 titles.[122]

The PAL region 60 GB model and North American and Japanese 80 GB versions offer partial backwards compatibility through part hardware, part software emulation[123] with additions made with software updates.
The 40 GB, 80 GB (new), and 160 GB models in all regions have support for PS1 titles, but not PS2 titles.[124]

Supports all Nintendo GameCube software and most accessories.
Online services Xbox Live
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Marketplace
Xbox Live Vision (webcam), headset
Xbox Live Video Marketplace
Windows Live Messenger
Hulu Plus
Netflix (North America Only, separate subscription required)
ESPN (North America Only; available with Xbox Live Gold Subscription)
Foxtel (Australia only; available only with Xbox Live Gold Membership)
Sky Go (UK Only; separate subscription required)
Facebook (Only Available with Xbox Live Gold Subscription)
Twitter
last.FM
Zune
TELUS Optik TV (Canada Only; separate subscription required)
AT&T U-Verse (North America Only; separate subscription required)
Vodafone Casa TV (Portugal Only; separate subscription required)
Remote Play
PlayStation Network
PlayStation Store
Internet browser
Video chat using PlayStation Eye camera or other USB webcam
What's New
PlayStation Home
Qore (North America only)
FirstPlay (Europe only)[125])
VidZone (Europe, Australia & New Zealand only)
Qriocity (Europe only, separate subscription required)[126]
Mubi (Europe only, separate subscription required)[127]
BBC iPlayer,[128] 4oD[129] and ITV/STV/UTV Player[129] (UK only, via internet browser)
TVNZ ondemand (New Zealand only, via internet browser)[130]
Life with PlayStation
LoveFilm (UK only, separate subscription required)[131]
Netflix (North America only, separate subscription required)[132]
Facebook
MLB.tv (North America only, separate subscription required) [133]
Hulu Plus
ABC iView (Australia only)

PLUS 7 (Australia only)

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
WiiConnect24
BBC iPlayer (UK only)
Internet Channel (web browser)
News Channel
Forecast Channel
Everybody Votes Channel
Wii Shop Channel
Check Mii Out Channel
Nintendo Channel
Netflix (North America only, separate subscription required, Internet Channel required)[132]
Wii no Ma (Japan only)
Wii Speak Channel (Available only with purchase of Wii Speak)
Food Delivery Channel (Japan only)
TV Guide Channel (Japan only)
Today and Tomorrow Channel (Japan and UK only)
Everybody Loves Theatre Channel (Japan only)
Homebrew Channel (Non-official software)
Consumer programmability Development on PC with XNA Game Studio ($99/year subscription, binary distribution with XNA 1.0 Refresh)[134] 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)
I/O

IrDA-compliant infrared for remote
2 Memory Card slots*
3 USB 2.0 ports**
1 Ethernet port

*Discontinued on Slim models
**5 USB 2.0 ports on Slim models

Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
4 USB 2.0 ports*
1 Gigabit Ethernet port
1 Memory Stick slot Pro/Duo**
1 SD/mini SD port**
1 Compact Flash port**

*2 USB 2.0 ports on 3rd gen and 4th gen (slim) models
**Only 60/80(old) GB versions only

Bluetooth 2.0
2 USB 2.0 ports
Four controller and two memory card ports (GameCube)
1 SD(HC) Card slot[135][136]

Optical media 12× DVD (65.6–132 Mbit/s), CD 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)[137]
Video outputs HDMI 1.2a (on models manufactured after August 2007),[138] VGA (RGBHV),[139] 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*,[140] DTS-ES‡, DTS 96/24‡, DTS-ES Matrix[141]
*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.
Network 100BASE-TX Ethernet
Optional 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter (Built in with the Slim models)
10BASE-T/100BASE-TX/1000BASE-T Ethernet
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
Storage Included/Optional* detachable SATA upgradeable 20 GB, 60 GB, 120 GB or 250 GB hard drive.
Xbox 360 memory cards
USB mass storage (AV content)

*Premium version includes 20 GB or 60 GB HDD, Elite includes 120 GB HDD, and all HDDs are available for separate purchase.

2.5-inch upgradeable SATA 20/40/60/80/120/160/250/320 GB (depending on model) hard drive (upgradeable with any 2.5-inch SATA 1.0 compliant HDD or SSD).
Memory Stick, SD, & Type I/II CompactFlash / Microdrive*
USB mass storage
*60/80(old) GB models only
512 MB built-in flash memory
SD card (up to 32 GB with 4.0 software)

Nintendo GameCube Memory Cards
The Wii Remote contains a 16 KiB EEPROM chip from which a section of 6 kilobytes can be freely read and written

Integrated 3DTV support[c] No 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.

Sales standings

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 shipped to retailers (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
Wii 86.01 million[142]
(as of March 31, 2011)
2 million[143]
(as of October 2010)
2 million[144]
(as of December 16, 2009)
11.45 million[142]
(as of December 31, 2010)
35+ million[145]
(as of February 28, 2011)
24.9 million[146]
(as of December 2010)
Xbox 360 57.6 million[147]
(as of September 30th, 2011)
1 million[148]
(as of April 20, 2010 and include sales from New Zealand)
870,000[149]
(as of July 31, 2008)
1,235,049[150]
(as of February 28, 2010)
25.4 million[146]
(as of December 2010)
13.7 million[146]
(as of December 2010)
PlayStation 3 55.5 million[151]
(as of November 2, 2011 (2011 -11-02))
1.1 million[152]
(as of December 31, 2010)
1.5 million[153]
(as of October 6, 2010)
5 million[154]
(as of April 11, 2010)
15.4 million[146]
(as of December 2010)
14.7 million[146]
(as of December 2010)

Discontinuations and revisions

  • The PlayStation 3 20 GB was discontinued in North America in April 2007[155] and effectively discontinued in Japan in early 2008.[156]
  • The PlayStation 3 60 GB was discontinued in NTSC territories by September 2007, and replaced with the 80 GB version.[157]
  • 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.[158] This is also the same for the 80 GB model launched in the North American market in 2007.[159]
  • An HDMI out port was added to the Premium Xbox 360 in May 2007.[160]
  • The Xbox 360 Core system was discontinued and replaced by the "Arcade" version in October 2007.[161]
  • The price of the Xbox 360 Premium version was dropped to US$299 in North America on July 13, 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.[162]
  • 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.[163]
  • The PlayStation 3 Slim was introduced on August 18, 2009. At US$299, it is US$100 cheaper than the previous model; it is also approximately ⅓ lighter and more energy efficient.[164] 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$299.99 and US$399.99 respectively.
  • The black Wii console was released in Japan on August 1, 2009[100] and in Europe in November 2009.[104]
  • 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 May 9, 2010. The console is also available in black.[36]
  • A special edition red Wii console was released in honor of Mario's 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.[165]

Backward compatibility

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. Later 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[166] 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.

High definition and enhanced definition video

Both the PlayStation 3[167] and the Xbox 360[168] 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.[169][170] 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, all 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.

Reliability

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.[171]

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.[172]

Handheld systems

For video game handhelds, the seventh generation began with the release of the Nintendo DS on November 21, 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.[173] On December 12, 2004, Sony released its first handheld, PlayStation Portable. The PlayStation Portable was marketed at launch to an above 25 year old[174] or "core gamer" market,[175] while the Nintendo DS proved to be popular with both core gamers and new customers.[176]

Nokia revived its N-Gage platform in the form of a service for selected S60 devices. This new service launched on April 3, 2008.[177] 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. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010, Nintendo revealed the successor to the Nintendo DS called the Nintendo 3DS. It was released on February 26, 2011 in Japan, and in March 2011 in Europe and North America.[178] In 2011, at a privately held conference called "PlayStation Meeting", Sony revealed the successor to the PSP, named the PlayStation Vita.[179]

Handheld comparison

Name Nintendo DS / DS Lite / DSi / DSi XL PSP-1000 series / PSP-2000 Series / PSP-3000 Series / PSP Go / PSP-E1000
Console Nintendo DS Trans.png Nintendo-DS-Lite-w-stylus.png Nintendo DSi.png Nintendo DSi XL-edited2.png


Pictured left to right: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo DSi XL

Sony-PSP-1000-Body.png PSP-2000-trans.png PSP-3000-Model.pngPSPGo - Piano Black.png PSP E1000.png


Pictured left to right: PSP-1000 series, PSP-2000 series, PSP-3000 series, PSP Go/PSP-N1000 series, PSP-E1000 series

Release dates
  • NA November 21, 2004
  • JP December 2, 2004
  • AUS February 24, 2005
  • EU March 11, 2005
  • JP December 12, 2004
  • NA March 24, 2005
  • PAL September 1, 2005
Logos Nintendo DS Logo.svg

Nintendo DS Lite logo.svg
Nintendo DSi logo.svg
Nintendo DSi XL logo.svg

PSP Logo.svg

PSP Go logo.svg

Launch prices DS:
Japan: ¥15,000
North America: US$149.99
Europe: 149.99
UK: £99.99

DS Lite:

Japan: ¥24,800 (¥26,040 tax incl.)[180]
North America: US$129.99 / C$299.99[181]
Europe: €249 [181]
UK: £179.99
PSP-1000 series Pack:
Japan: ¥19,800 (¥20,790 tax incl.)[182]
North America: US$199.99 / C$229.99[183]
Europe: €199.99 [184]
UK: £179.99

PSP-2000 series Core Pack:

Japan: ¥19,800[185]
North America: US$169.99 / C$199.99[186]
Europe: €169 / £129.99[187][188]
UK: £129.99

PSP-3000 series:

North America: US$169.99 (core package), US$199.99 (bundle package)

PSP Go (PSP-N1000): US$249.99

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 Nintendogs, 22.27 million, all versions combined (as of March 31, 2009)[189]
New Super Mario Bros., 18.45 million (as of March 31, 2009)[189]
Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, 2.7 million (as of January 2009)[190]
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories 2.7 million (as of November 26, 2008)[191][192][193]
Included accessories and extras
  • Launch model DS: Stylus, wrist strap, Metroid Prime Hunters demo (not in Japan)
  • DS Lite: Stylus, wrist strap (Japan only)
  • PSP-1000 Value Pack: PSP Case, Hand Strap, 32 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo, Headphones with Remote control
Accessories
(retail)
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
Interface
  • D-pad
  • Six face buttons
  • Two shoulder buttons
  • Touch screen
  • Microphone
  • 0.3 Megapixel camera & VGA camera (DSi only)
  • D-pad
  • Six face buttons
  • Two shoulder buttons
  • "Home" button ("PS" button on PSP-3000, PSP-E1000 and PSP Go)
  • Analog nub
  • Microphone (PSP-3000 and PSP Go Only)
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)
Weight
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 sound, Internet browser, Flipnote studio, Facebook 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 Plays almost all Game Boy Advance cartridges (DS, DS Lite only). Plays some PS3 games and all PlayStation games through PS3 via remote play or downloaded from PlayStation Store
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[194]
DSi, minimum brightness setting: 9–14 hours[194]
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: 146.42 million (as of March 31, 2011)[142]

Japan: 32.76 million (as of March 31, 2011)[142]
United Kingdom: 8.8 million (as of January 3, 2009)[195]
United States: 28 million (as of January 31, 2009)[196]
Australia: 3 million (as of December 2010)[197]

Worldwide: 71.4 million (as of September 13, 2011)[198]

Japan: 11,078,484 (as of December 28, 2008)[199][200][200]
United Kingdom: 3.2 million (as of January 3, 2009)[195]
United States: 10.47 million (as of January 1, 2008)[201][202][203]
Australia: 675,000 (as of December 31, 2010)[152]

Note: First year of release is the first year of the system's worldwide availability.

Cloud gaming/Gaming on demand services

Name Manufacturer Release date
OnLive OnLive June 17, 2010
Gaikai Gaikai February 27, 2011
OTOY OTOY
Playcast Media Systems
G-cluster
Spoon.net

Milestone titles

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) 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.[204]
  • BioShock (Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) is considered a major influential and artistic game of this generation[205][206] with a plot that quickly created controversy with the decisions the player makes during the game.[207]
  • Gears of War (Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360) had preorder sales that were second only to Halo 2 in the studio's history.[208] Gears of War was also the first Xbox or Xbox 360 game to sell out and reach the top ten charts in Japan.[209] On November 7, 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.[210] By January 19, 2007, just ten weeks after its debut, over three million units of the game had been sold.[211]
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) is a sandbox-style action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North. A few Hollywood producers have set precedent by beginning to browse video-game release dates to check for conflicts due to Grand Theft Auto IV's potential harm to the May 2, 2008 release of Iron Man.[212] As of October 2008, the PS3 and Xbox 360 version has taken the third and eighth positions of GameRankings' best-rated games of all time, respectively.[213] 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.
  • Halo 3 (Xbox 360) 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.[214][215] It also featured advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology for enemies, though the player's allies' intelligence was less refined.[216][217]
  • LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3) 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).[218] It was praised by G4 TV 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".[219]
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii), currently one of the most critically acclaimed titles of not only the seventh generation, but of all time, 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.[220] As of July 2011, it and its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, are the second and third highest rated games of all time respectively, as listed on GameRankings,[213] along with being the recipients of many game of the year awards.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) is a product of Nintendo, with a small portion of content made in cooperation with Sega and Konami.[221][222] It is the third in a series of cross-over fighting games. It is also the first in the series to have third-party characters, with the inclusion of Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog.[223] 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.[224][225][226]
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3) was the most positively-reviewed game of 2009[227] 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 95.50%, and a GameStats score of 9.5 out of 10.[228][229][230] 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.[231][232]
  • Wii Sports (Wii) has been attributed as a major factor in the Wii's worldwide success.[233] The game, along with Wii Fit, has been cited as attracting more casual, female, and elderly gamers.[234] This is a rarity among seventh generation games, as developers tend to try to attract young men.[235] It has also been cited as one game that can provide a bonding experience among family members,[236] and as a means of exercising and losing weight when played regularly.[237] As of March 31, 2009, the game has sold over 60 million copies worldwide—including bundled copies, making it the best-selling Wii game and the best-selling video game of all time.[238]

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