Article by Mark Robinsson
It’s curious how video game consoles have evolved over the years. From the toy-like appearances of the earlier game consoles, to the sophisticated and more PC-like capabilities of the seventh-generation video game consoles, there has been years of evolution and improvement in video game technology. Right now we are at the 7th generation of gaming consoles.
The 7th generation is marked by several defining features. First, they are now mini-PCs in their own right. Second, they have moved from having CDs as storage media into DVDs. Right now, they are using the second-generation DVD format: the Blu-Ray. One particular game console employs HD-DVD, since it was released before the close of the format war between the proponents of the HD-DVD format and the Blu-Ray format.
Third, they have high capacity hard-drives for storing game information like saved data, and many others. They are becoming more and more like personal computers rather than the video game consoles of earlier generations. Last, but not the least, seventh-generation game consoles are capable of outputting high-definition video, in full 1080p resolution.
Since the gaming industry has mostly been taken over by large companies, there are currently four seventh-generation video game consoles available for the consumer to choose from. Here are some pieces of information on those three consoles.
The Xbox 360 is the successor to the highly successful Xbox game console from software giant Microsoft. It is the only one of the four that uses HD-DVD as a format, because Microsoft had been a proponent of the HD-DVD format opposite the companies headed by Sony under the Blu-Ray banner. The Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005.
One of the defining features of Microsoft’s gaming console is its ability to connect to the Internet. It does so using a built-in Ethernet port. If there is no phone line available, players can still connect to the Internet using an accessory that grants WiFi access through the Xbox 360. It also allows for wireless controllers rather than the cabled ones in other game consoles. The Xbox 360 carries up to 120 GB of hard drive capacity, depending on which version you are buying.
The Sony Playstation 3 is the successor of the first two Playstation consoles, manufactured by Blu-ray standard bearer Sony Corporation. The best feature of the Playstation 3 is that it can output HD-resolution video straight from the disc and not through peripherals. Unlike its earlier predecessors, the Playstation 3 can accommodate up to 7 controllers via a Bluetooth connection rather than a physical port. It is also able to play Blu-ray DVD movies in full 1080p resolution. Just like the Xbox, it has a hard drive of varying capacity. Available hard drive capacities include 20 GB, 60 GB, 40 GB and 160 GB. However, some versions of the Playstation 3 are not available in some parts of the globe as some versions were discontinued in certain regions.
The Sony Playstation 3 had different release dates. In North America, it hit the racks on November 17, 2006. In Europe, the stores started selling Sony Playstation 3′s on March 23, 2007. Japan, as always, had first access to the Sony Playstation 3 since it was released there on November 11, 2006.
The Nintendo Wii is the third and final contender in the seventh generation console competition. Out of the three systems out in the market, the Wiii is most distinctive. Instead of trying to rival its competitors systems, Nintendo has chosen to approach things differently.
First, it does not support hard drives for storage. Instead, it relies on a 512 MB built-in Flash memory. If it is not enough, the Wiii supports SD cards instead. Another striking feature of the Nintendo Wii is non-support for HDMI output. It can only output 480p resolution. That also makes it cheaper than the other two seventh generation gaming consoles, which more than makes up for its lack of features.
Last but not the least, the Wiii does not use standard game controllers. It uses an infrared remote controller, which is distinctive for its similarity aesthetically with the remote for televisions. The Wii also has backwards compatibility with its predecessors like the Nintendo GameCube and many others.
Mark Robinsson writes for GizmoDesk.com. It’s a technology blog about consumer electronics.
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