As mentioned above, the races between manufacturers of video game consoles base on two things speed and high-quality graphics. Both of them relate to the characteristics of gaming machines in terms of bits. Therefore, it is common that in advertisings, developers must say that their products have higher bits. Sony PlayStation 2, for instances, is claimed to be backed up by 128-bit system so does the Microsoft Xbox although in fact the processor, the brain of video game consoles, of Xbox is only 32-bit. This situation raises questions about the representation of ‘bits’.
By meaning, bits represent the capability of video game consoles in producing output that has a greater range of colors, more sprites, and provides graphical technologies such as scaling, and vector graphics. The old video game consoles like TurboGrafx 16, Genesis, and SNES, for instances, were generations that claim to use 16-bit processors and refer to 16-bit era. Meanwhile, a previous model like Atari was known to live at 8-bit era. However, consumers often misperceive the terms of bits. For instances, TurboGrafx 16 actually has only an 8-bit CPU/processor but provides a 16-bit dedicated graphics processor.
It is similar to the case of Xbox that advertise to get into 128-bit era although in fact the machine only uses 32-bit processor. As described above, the key changes of video games console is the use of faster machine. Therefore, advanced technology becomes differentiation for game consoles manufacturer in order to win a fierce competition. This is in line with the theory of differentiation strategy by developing products or services that have particular features that are different from competitors have. The reason of attaining product’s differentiation is to differentiate a company’s product from competitors’ products.
Therefore, manufacturers of video game consoles race towards developing consoles that provide high-quality graphics, high-speed processor that ensure smooth and comfortable gaming experience, and portability. Since 1967, the year that historians recognized as the coming of first generation video game consoles, the race towards producing high quality game consoles get intense. Recently, the latest generation of game consoles is Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, which consider being at the seventh generation.
To be precise, the seven generations of video game consoles are as following: The first generation computer was actually appeared in 1950s but the “brown box” (figure 1). The console was designed by Ralph Baer, a german television engineer, and his co-workers. This first console works by using a player and connects it to a television. At that time, the developers of “brown box” developed a totoal of 12 games. Source: www. time. com After the invention of ‘brown box”, in 1972, Magnavox Odyssey first launched its video game consoles in 1972.
Fortunately, the first game console that rings the game market was not Odyssey but Atar’s game called PONG, which developed by Nolan Burhnell, the founder of Atari in 1972. Unfortunately, in 1975, Atari sold a home version of Pong in Sears Stores, which further labeled Atari under Sears Tele-Games. The second generation of video game consoles started at 1976 where Fairchild produce Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES). The particular feature of VES lie on the its characteristic that has a programmable microprocessor. This feature was beneficial since the cartridge only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions.
Realizing the competition from new competitiors, RCA and Atari immediately released cartridge-based consoles, which enable customers to change games instead of palaying similar games in a machine. In 1977, Atari released Atari 2600 VCS that soon became a hit in video game console industry due to its accompanied games such as Space Invaders, Missile Command, and Combat. The year of 1977 also causes Fairchaild and RCA to leave the vidoe game console competition, leaving only Atari and Magnavox in the console market. . The third generation of video game console started in 1985 when Nintendo, a Japanese manufacturer, launched Famicom.
The feature of this video game console include its high resolution, full color, and high-resolution sprites. The attractive features soon put Nintendo Entertainment System as the leader in the game console market. Unlike Atari, NES used a front loading cartridge like video cassette recorder (VCR) at that ime. Interestingly, Nintendo advertises its NES as a toy since NES is accompanied with a plastic “robot” and a light gun. Realizing that the key to hit in video game console market is to develop attarctive games like done by Atari in Space Invaders, Nintendo breakout the market by introducing Super Mario Brothers, which become a famous game.