Frankly, I don’t get too many opportunities to write about the history of consoles. So, posts like Retro Stations Part 2 is a real treat for me.
It’s a perfect opportunity to deviate from my usual routine of writing about cool movies and awesome games. Not that i’ll ever get bored from that really. However, it’s a nice and welcoming change for me. Furthermore, the Retro Stations Part 2 post is a continuation of the Retro Station History Part 1. In the first separate attempt, I tried to dissect (and present) the best of the best in the first four generations of consoles. Now, in the second post, I’ll attempt do the same about the next four generations.
It’s another blast from the past, but a more recent one. Let’s put it that way. I’ll be focusing on the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth generations of video game consoles. Certainly, I’ll be mentioning the upcoming ones that are about to be released. But first thing first. Let’s start from the start. Shall we?
Retro Stations Part 2: Fifth generation
When I mentioned new kids on the block, I meant it. While Nintendo ruled the 80’s, SONY ruled in the ’90s. Sure there were plenty of other consoles that made their mark in the fifth generation (from 1993 to 2005). The generation even started with FM Towns Marty, but Fujitsu discontinued this console just 2 years later. Amiga CD32 appeared on the market the same year (1993), and SEGA put Sega Saturn on the market.
However, nothing could compare to the impact that SONY would have on that same market. Why? Because SONY PlayStation arrived in 1994, and it literally (and figuratively) changed the game. Choosing to put a CD-ROM is one of the most important decisions that SONY ever made. Furthermore, the new and improved functionality really paid off. The PlayStation became an instant success right around this time, and it signaled the rivalry between these two giants. And that particular rivalry would dominate the industry to this day. But more on that later in this post. However, the PlayStation console was the first “computer entertainment platform” to ship and eventually sell over 100 million units. Not bad right? I would say so.
Retro Stations Part 2: Sixth Generation
SONY’s struggle for dominance was not diminished in the 6th generation of consoles. Of course, this particular generation started in 1998 and lasted until 2013. But this is also the generation in which Flextronics and Microsoft presented the notorious Xbox. Why it was a revolutionary console you might ask? Well, for starters, it was the first major console produced by an American company. Well, since the Atari Jaguar ceased production in 1996. But what was so special about Xbox?
Well, first and foremost, it was noted for its PC-like size and weight. And secondly, this was the first console to feature a built-in hard disk. A real novelty of the era. So, as of today, the Xbox has sold more than 25 million units, making it one of the most successful consoles of the 6th generation. But not the most successful. That title belongs to PlayStation 2, which sold about 155 million units. Not bad? You bet.
Retro Stations Part 2: Seventh Generation
As you can clearly notice, these past few generations have been a real struggle for market dominance. Between PlayStation and Xbox of course. The Game Wave Family Entertainment System kicked off the generation back in 2005, and it was a weird concoction. It was a strange hybrid between a DVD player and a video console. But no amount of weirdness can be compared with the notorious Xbox360. I say notorious because it’s still despised by my poor suffering husband. And not only that…. The mere mention of the name sends shivers down his spine. Why might you ask? Because he was unfortunate enough to buy one the infamous „Red Ring Of Death“ series of consoles.
Yup. The defect ones that were a real blunder for the company. Yeah, it was a waste of money, time and nerves. And it would put him off playing for a significant period of time. A mistake that would turn him into a SONY PlayStation fan too. He still keeps the console BTW. As a reminder of his youthful stupidity, I suppose. But I digress. And despite all the problems, IGN still named the Xbox 360 the sixth-greatest video game console of all time.
But in addition to the PlayStation 3, Xbox360 (and Kinect), this generation marked the release of Wii. Nintendo had a real comeback with Wii in 2006. And with Wii, Nintendo also introduced the Wii remote controller. A handheld pointing device which detects movement in three dimensions. But in terms of sales, Wii has sold 101.63 million consoles worldwide (as of 2019). Again… Solid numbers don’t you think?
Retro Stations Part 2: Eight generation
Welcome to the end of this post. Nearly. There are currently 4 consoles in the eighth and final generation. Probably the most famous one is the PlayStation 4, which as of 2019 has sold in more than 106 million units. I myself, recently purchased this particular console, to keep me sane (and entertained) during the long and tedious lock-downs. And it’s great, to be honest. Second, in terms of sales is the Nintendo Switch (with more than 55 million units sold), but can’t really forget about the Xbox One. Released in the same year as the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One is a decent rival nonetheless.
What about the future?
Which are the upcoming consoles you might ask? Well, there are two currently on the roster for the last quarter of 2020. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. However, two versions of PS5 are expected for launch. The base PlayStation 5 will include an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive, while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition will omit this drive. Only serving as a lower-cost version for consumers who prefer to buy games through digital download. Cool right?
What are your thoughts on the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth generations of consoles? Which one is your favorite? And what’s your opinion about the two upcoming consoles? Which one will you be buying? Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know.