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Here is our thought about the future of consoles:
In the previous part of this editorial, we left the console market on the brink of the 90s, which brought a major revolution in gaming technology.
In the first years of the 1990s, there was a big upgrade in terms of storing capabilities of video game consoles. The storing medium slowly shifted from cartridges to compact discs. Considering that cartridges were capable of holding around 4 megabytes of memory and CDs had some 700 megabytes at disposal, it opened the door to much bigger games, full motion video sequences and the most important, the transition of 2D graphics to 3D.
The first CD console was launched by Philips in 1991 and it was called CD-i. Unfortunately, it was remembered as a failure due to its subpar games and controls. The other consoles quickly jumped on the bandwagon and soon we had CD versions of already established consoles.
The first famous console to go CD was NEC TurboGrafx-16 which was upgraded to the TurboGrafx-CD in 1992. However, it soon lost to the Sega’s counterpart, called simply Sega CD. Atari entered the game with what it turned to be their last console appearance with CD-based called Atari Jaguar in 1993. Jaguar was supposed to compete against 16-bit consoles like Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Unfortunately, the next generation of consoles like Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation soon removed Atari from the console market. Another player entered the console market in form of Commodore, who became famous for home computers. They made Amiga CD32 in 1993, just a few months before the company declared bankruptcy, which abruptly ended the sales.
In 1994, a company known for the production of televisions, VCRs and other house electronics decided to step into the console realm with its first revolutionary Sony PlayStation console. Needless to say, PS1 was a huge success with highly advanced 3D graphics and hundreds of amazing games during its lifetime. There is a huge number of gaming franchises that began or thrived on this console.
SEGA, on the other hand, went on to expand its Genesis series with two more consoles, and it also developed an entirely new device called Sega Saturn, in order to compete with the rest of the CD-based consoles. Nintendo was the only manufacturer which stuck with cartridge system in Nintendo 64. Despite the fact that Nintendo had better graphics and stronger franchises and some of the best games of all time, the cartridges were really expensive, which undermined the sales. Speaking about cartridges, even SNK moved on from them, basing their next console on CD technology, with Neo Geo CD. This console was way less expensive than its predecessor, costing around $300, while games were around $50, which was a sharp drop compared to AES.
NEC came back with the obsolete PC-FX, which was more like a home PC than a console. It came too late to be relevant with Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn ruling the market, and after that NEC didn’t produce consoles anymore.
There were many other less significant causes appearing during that time, all of them are known to most of the people. Bandai, Casio and even Apple produced their own consoles, not to much avail. The final achievement of the mid-90s was The Virtual Boy by Nintendo, which had a head-mounted display to view 3D graphics.
The fifth generation of consoles had some really important moments in video game history, the most significant of them being Sony stepping into the market with one of the greatest consoles of all time. The next generation will start with a console that was a way ahead of its time, and it will end with another unexpected company joining the console market.