Major Figures in Early Gaming History
The first gaming console was a prototype made in 1967 called the Brown Box. The console was a simple wooden box that had six simple games, ping-pong, tennis, handball, volleyball, chase games and a light-gun game. The console was invented by Ralph H. Baer, the quote, father of video games. Little did he know, consoles would become one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world.
A major hero of the gaming universe was the famous console developed by Atari, the Magnavox Odyssey. While the name may not be familiar to many of those born recently, the Magnavox Odyssey hosts one of the most recognizable games, Pong. The Pong arcade machine, developed by Atari, was so popular that Atari developed a home console for it in 1975. The Magnavox led to many advancements in gaming technology such as, Atari 2600.
The classic wood finished console was surely a significant figure in gaming history. The Atari 2600 came out unscathed during the shaky holiday season for consoles in 1977. Many consoles had an excess supply while the 2600 emerged as a success and a best seller. The console hosted many games such as, Outlaw, Space War, and Breakout. These games were not what left the 2600 in history, though. The game that left the Atari system among the greats was in fact Space Invaders. Space Invaders allowed people to play one of their favorite arcade games in the comfort of their own home.
With consoles of the past typically directed towards younger children and teens Sony changed the way people viewed consoles. Along with Sony’s new marketing campaign of bringing older generations into gaming they also brought in the revolutionary disc format to the table. With Sony’s effort, the PlayStation became the first console to sell over 100 million units.
Like Sony, Microsoft’s goal was to bring a new experience to the table. Microsoft decided to bring computer power to console gaming like never before. Xbox, which used to stand for DirectX Box, was able to grab a place in the competition by doing better than GameCube.
Console Wars – Xbox Vs. PlayStation
With the success of its previous two consoles, PlayStation came to the table with a pricier system that costed about 599 dollars. While the PlayStation 3 came with new Blueray technology, it its higher price point meant that consumers were naturally inclined to go for more cheaper options. This increase in price was ultimately a poor decision by Sony. The new technology that came with the console did not ultimately come in Sony’s favor. Microsoft took advantage of Sony’s ordeal and developed a relatively cheaper console. While Xbox 360 had only a DVD player versus a Blueray, this did not seem to deter many buyers when choosing between the two.
A major aspect of modern console gaming is the online play. With the popularity of multiplayer in games on the original Xbox, Microsoft came back again with its popular Xbox Live. One downside to Xbox Live was that it was a paid subscription. Unlike like PlayStation, Xbox Live was subscription based and required a monthly fee to play online at all. This meant that more money conscious gamers suffered more when buying Xbox. While PlayStation offered a subscription, it was optional to play online. This meant that those who purchased a PlayStation did not have to worry about paying for anything right away.
The original Xbox 360 came out with 512 MB of system ram with 3 cores and a CPU speed of 3.2 GHz. The Xbox came with a DVD player and upgradable memory. The PlayStation 3 at release came with 256 MB of system ram with 7 cores and a CPU speed clocking at 3.2 GHz. The PlayStation stood out from Xbox the most in its disc technology. The PlayStation 3 came with Blueray instead of the standard DVD that Xbox had used. The specifications of the consoles are quite similar, the 360 has twice the amount of system ram as the PS3 which makes it superior in that aspect. However, the PS3 has 7 cores rather than 3. The Blueray technology at the time was far more superior than DVD. With Xbox you often times had to install games on to the console with multiple disks before playing. With PlayStation, multiple disks was unnecessary due to the higher capacity of Blueray disks.
While buying a PlayStation or Xbox is ultimately up to the buyer, the preference over them is too. Both consoles have their pros and cons when it comes to certain things. When deciding which console to purchase the buyer must weigh the pros and cons of both.
Handheld Gaming – Gameboy
As consoles grew another story of handheld gaming was being made. What attracted people to consoles also attracted people toward handheld devices. Many people had the desire of bringing the arcade not only to their homes but to their pockets as well. One of the most famous ways of doing so was through Nintendo’s Gameboy. Gameboy allowed gamers to bring the games they loved wherever they went. This popularity sparked a history of handheld gaming devices that spanned up until the era of the smart phone.
PC Gaming – A New Way to Game
As popular consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation grow, some may wonder what had happened to PC gaming. An estimate of 85 percent of the surface area of stores is now dedicated to console gaming. Walk in to many stores and you will find that the majority of PC games are in a limited section of the store with often one or two shelves dedicated to it. This is not due to PC becoming less popular. It is actually due to a newer form of distribution for PC games.
Steam is no longer just a water vapor. In today’s PC gaming world when someone says the word steam they are most likely referring to the popular digital game distribution software, Steam. The distribution platform has reshaped the way gamers purchase and experience games. With its fairly simple layout, customers are able to choose from a wide array of games that range from Goat Simulator to Call of Duty. The program also allows gamers to add screenshots, friends, and share games. No longer do gamers need to drive to the store to purchase a game. Gamers are now able to purchase games in the comfort of their own homes.
Building or Buying
One option PC gamers have over consoles is the choice of building or buying their PC. Many people can find it intimidating to assemble a PC, however, with the power of the internet and sites like Google and YouTube anyone can do it. Finding components can be daunting but with many sources and how-to guides finding the right components should not be that difficult. A benefit to building your own PC is that you can customize it to what you prefer. If you are a gamer that prefers playing lighter graphical games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike, then building a computer with a higher end graphics card may not be necessary. Buying a PC allows gamers to avoid the hassle of choosing parts and taking time out to build the PC. Purchasing a prebuilt PC, however, can often times cost more than building your own. Building your own PC that can run most recent games can range from $650 to $850 dollars.
New Gaming Technology
With gaming becoming even more popular than before, technology companies are finding new ways to satisfy gamers. With over one million sales, Sony’s PlayStation VR is tapping into the new technology trend. While VR may be the next big thing, it has had a difficult time finding ground.
The newest popular trend in the past few years has become virtual reality. Almost every major technology company has tapped into the new trend, Google, Sony, Nintendo, and even Facebook. Each company has created their own take on virtual reality. Gamers can expect to find a variety of versions of the headsets for sale. One variation of virtual reality is converting your phone into a headset. Google Cardboard and Google Daydream for example, allows gamers to attach their smartphones to the headset to play. The phone screen is enlarged in two magnifying glasses attached to the headset. While this is one option, many do not consider it a revolutionary technology. An alternative to using your phone would be Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s headset. These headsets are designed with the screens built in. One downside to this however is that the headsets require a strong computer system to support it. Oculus Rift and HTC require high quality GPUs and processors to support them.