Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A history of computer games, part three: 2000s

Modern video game history, from the 2000s till now has been an exciting time, filled with new technology and great games. The Dreamcast, made by Sega, kicked of the 6th generation of consoles. It was one of my favourite consoles but despite early success it didn't do aswell as it could of and ultimately failed due to several reasons. The Dreamcast would be Sega's last console and they left the hardware market after it's release.
Sega Dreamcast

Part of the reason the Dreamcast failed was due to the launch of Sony's next console, the Playstation 2. Followed shortly after by the GameCube by Nintendo. The Playstation 2 did extremely well and still has a loyal following to date, with games still being released and openly traded. The Gamecube, however, wasn't quite as successful. It was Nintendo's first disc-based console but suffered from a reputation of being a console for kids and a lack of more mature games. The Xbox, by Microsoft, was the next console to be released and was Microsoft's first entry into the console market. Microsoft sold the console at a personal loss in order to stay competitive and aimed to regain profits from other areas. Halo was released shortly after the Xbox's launch and really became the underpinning of the console's success. The Halo series would go on to become one of the most successful console shooters of all time and a person favourite of mine.

Xbox - Playstation 2 - Gamecube
From this point on games became more complex and adult-oriented, with most of the succesfful 6th generation games having a rating of T abd M. Big gaming franchies like Halo and Resident Evil did well during this time. Even Nintendo, which was normally aimed towards a younger audience, started publishing more M rated games such as Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime.

Apple iphone
The N-Gage phone was released in 2003 and was Nokia's attempt to make mobile gaming more mainstream in Europe. The N-Gage didn't do very well and was taken off the market. Despite this first fail the mobile gaming market did become more popular and with the development of smartphones and, most notably, the iphone by Apple in 2007, mobile gaming became extremely successful.

After the success of their consoles all 3 big companies, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony entered a console war. Each trying to make a better, faster and more desirable console than each other. Microsoft were the first to kick off the 7th generation of consoles with the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005. Followed by Sony in 2007 with the Playstation 3. Both consoles were a large technological step forward and were the first consoles to really challange the power of the PC.  Nintendo released their next console, the Wii, shortly after the PS3. The Wii had lower specs than its competition but had the edge of a revolutionary way to play games at home, motion control. The Wii was considered a novelty console by many and avoided by more serious gamers, but since its launch both Microsoft and Sony have released their own versions of motion control, the Kinect and Playstion Move.
Xbox Kinect - Playstation Move - Wii

While this advancement in technology and video gameshas been great for us gamers it hasn't been so great for the people making them. The increased complexity of production has meant a massive rise in the cost of development. This means game companies are struggling to make profits and most, even large well established companies are making huge losses. The industry is rapidly burning money and something has to give. With money so tight companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are holding off on development of new consoles are are instead trying to recoop on current consoles.
The industry has reached a deciding moment where something has to change in order for it to continue. Its difficult to imagine what that might be and how things might change in the future. But gaming has come so far already we would never have imagined what we have now 50 years ago, so we can't know what we might be able to do a few years from now.

What ever it is...I'll be part of it.

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