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Console wars keep popping up

Business Technology | December 26, 2013

Debating whether to buy your kids a Microsoft Xbox One this holiday season? Or perhaps you think the Sony PlayStation 4 is the better choice. If you’re unable to determine which video-game console is ideal, take some comfort in the fact that consumers have been weighing the pros and cons of home gaming systems for more than three decades. As PCMag emphasizes in a recent story, video-game makers have long battled for superiority and consumer cash. The skirmish between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is just the latest of these brawls.

Quiet times

The PCMag story traces the history of console wars to the late 1970s. That’s when the Atari 2600 exploded on the scene. The console didn’t feature nifty graphics. And its games tended to be simple point-and-shoot affairs. But the console dominated its time period. Its biggest challenger was probably Mattel’s Intellivision. But the Intellivision, despite better graphics, never really mounted a serious challenge to the 2600’s dominance.

Sega takes on Nintendo

From 1989 through 1994, Nintendo was the number-one video-game maker in the us with its NES and Super Nintendo. The company, though, had a respectable challenger with the Sega Genesis, which used the famed attack ad “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” to take on its rival. Sega never did surpass Nintendo, but it sure made an appealing challenger.

The three-way battle

Today, the home-gaming battle is a three-way battle. Microsoft, with its Xbox series, and Sony, with its PlayStations, tend to fight for the dollars of hardcore gamers. Nintendo is taking a different approach with its Wii consoles, targeting casual and family gamers. Which system is the fan’s favorite? We’ll learn more this holiday shopping season.


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