something about the evolution of the games industry will help in your
quest to become a professional in this business. It’s just one of those
things that you need in order to be taken seriously by other gamers.
is a (very) brief history, beginning with the birth of SEGA, with
particular emphasis on milestones in hardware development.
First There Was SEGA
a U.S. company providing coin-operated (arcade) games primarily for
military bases, SEGA began life as Services Games. After purchasing a
Japan-based machine company in the early-‘60s, the company transformed
itself into SEGA. During that same time, an industry founding father,
Nolan Bushnell, designed an arcade version of “Asteroids” to play on
his newly developed dedicated game machine. Thus the first
cartridge-based game system was born, introduced to the market as VCS
and later known as the Atari 2600.
this era, other companies created their own game systems, including
Coleco and its Colecovision, Milton Bradley Electronics and its
Microvision and Vectrex, Mattel Electronics and its Intellivision, and
Commodore Computer and its Commodore 64, all of which had impact on,
but eventually disappeared from the scene.
not a dominating force until the mid-’80s when it caught the attention
of the U.S. gaming community with the introduction of the Nintendo
Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo was actually founded in 1889. It
is, in fact, the oldest game company still in existence. Atari and SEGA
competed head to head with Nintendo, but the company proved a worthy
opponent with the release of its Game Boy handheld device and the
smashing success of the Super Nintendo (SNES) console.
the next few years, the unfolding battle witnessed SEGA’s release of
its Sega Master System to compete against NES, and Atari’s release of
the 7800. Commodore Computer also entered the fray with the CDTV. While
the TurboGrafx-16, SEGA Genesis, and Atari Lynx machines tried to
compete, Nintendo ultimately stole the bulk of the marketshare. Thanks
to its portability and associated free games (“Tetris” and “Super
Mario”), Game Boy sales were significant.
The Console Wars Heat Up
Sony entered the scene, the 32-bit console wars began. Initially, Sony
and Nintendo collaborated on the development of a CD player to work
with the SNES. While this development project failed, it gave Sony an
idea. The company chose to develop a 32-bit game machine known as
PlayStation (PSX) to compete directly with Nintendo. Among other
notable competitors who jumped on the 32-bit bandwagon was The 3DO
Company, started by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, who announced
his new 32-bit gaming console in association with Panasonic. However,
Panasonic eventually acquired the 3DO technology for use in other
to reclaim lost marketshare, Atari then came out with its doomed 64-bit
system known as Jaguar. By the late-‘90s, the market was totally
confused as evidenced by alarmingly sluggish sales. The SEGA 32X and
Saturn came and went, and Nintendo bombed with a few platform releases
as well. Eventually, Atari was forced out of the hardware business.
the industry’s popular development platforms are the personal computer
(PC), Sony’s PlayStation 2, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Nintendo’s
GameCube and Game Boy Advanced (GBA). The market for PDAs and mobile
phones is also gaining momentum and promises to be the next growth
we have Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft competing for market share with
their next-generation consoles; Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was released in
November while Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii are due out this
fall. SEGA is still creating games but has chosen to halt production of
hardware. Atari chose this same path years ago.
How will you contribute to the continuation of this story?