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A console game is a form of video game, consisting of manipulable photo (and usually sounds) generated by a video game console and displayed on a television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to the console, called a controller. The controller generally include a number of buttons and directional controls such as analogue joysticks, each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling the photo on the screen. The display, speakers, console, and controls of a console shouldalso be incorporated into one tinyobject known as a handheld game.

Console games usually come in the form of an optical disc, ROM cartridge, digital download or in the case of dedicated consoles, shop on internal memory. The global console games market was valued at about $26.8 billion in 2018.

The differences between consoles create additional challenges and opportunities for game developers, as the console manufacturers (e.g. Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony) may provide extra incentives, assistanceand marketing for console exclusive games. To aid development of games for consoles, manufacturers often create game development kits that developers shouldutilizefor their work.


A screenshot of a re-released version of Pong

Early console games

The first console games were for the Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, and consisted of easygames angry of three white dots and a vertical line. These hardware limitations, such as the lack of any audio capability, meant that developers didn't have a lot of freedom in the kindof games they could create. Some games came pack with accessories such as cards and dice to enhance the experience to make up for the shortcomings of the hardware.

The second generation of consoles introduced more strongcapabilities, less hardware limitations than the first generation and coincided with the golden age of arcade video games. Developers had admissionto primarygraphical capabilities of the console allowing them to create sprites of their own choosing and more advanced sound capabilities. Controllers were beginning to containmore buttons giving developers more freedom in the kindof interactions they could provide to the player.

Due to the success of arcades, a number of games were adapted for and released for consoles but in many cases the quality had to be reduced because of the hardware limitations of consoles compared to arcade cabinets.

The second generation of games introduced a number of notable gaming concepts for the first time. Adventure for the Atari 2600 introduced the concept of a "virtual zonebigger than the screen" for the first time with the game consisting of multiple rooms to player could visit as opposed to a single static screen. Video Olympics was one of the first console games to have a computer controlled enemyin its "Robot Pong" game mode and genres such as platforming and graphical journeygames began.

Video game industry crash

By the end of 1983, consoles had become cheaper to develop and produce causing a saturation of consoles which in turn led to their libraries becoming saturated too. Due to the levels of games on the market, prices were low and despite awesomesales figures, developers weren't making enough cashfrom sales to justify staying in the market.

Many companies went out of business and despite massivemarketing, the quality of the games couldn't back up the marketing claims of their quality. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, a port of the original arcade game of the same name, was the best selling game for the console The result of the crash were primarily felt in the North American market but it still had an impact, albeit smaller, in the Asian and European markets.

In the years following the crash, console development was significantly reduced in the North American and European markets. Privatecomputers rose in popularity and began to fill the gap in the market that consoles had left. They had become affordable, were technologically superior and were multi-function.

Third and fourth generations

The third console generation started with the release of freshconsoles from Nintendo, Sega and Atari. These two generations saw the introduction of notable franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear and Metroid.

The console manufacturers took back control of third party development and regulated the market, ensuring the levels of saturation didn't happen again. Measures introduced to achieve this contain limiting the number of games a developer could release a year, controlling the manufacture of game cartridges, demanding payment for cartridges up front and ensuring the game adheres to a set of rules. This put pressure on publishers and added a risk to development. It meant developers were forced to concentrate on the quality of their games more so than the quantity and speed at which they could be angry. Atari and Sega incorporated backward compatibility in the Atari 7800 and Master System respectively, elongating the lifespan of their early console games. Both companies never released another backward compatible console, with the partial exception that the Sega Genesis shouldplay Master System games using a separately sold peripheral.

Metroid contain an open globewhere the player shouldtraverse the globein all directions, where most games similar to it are primarily side-scrolling in a single direction. It also has a powerfulfemale protagonist who is often credited for her role in improving the photoof women in gaming. Star Fox was Nintendo's first utilizeof polygonal graphics and Sonic the Hedgehog introduced a rival to Nintendo's mascot, Mario, who became a long-standing herofor Sega in a number of different kind of media.

From 2D to 3D

The fifth generation of consoles saw the move from games using 2D graphics to 3D graphics and the modifyin storage media from cartridges to optical discs. Analogue controllers became famousallowing for a finer and smoother movement control scheme compared to the directional pad. The utilizeof full motion video became famousfor cutscenes as optical discs permittedfor the storage of high quality video with pre-rendered graphics that a game couldn't render in real time.[citation needed]

Games released during the fifth generation took advantage of the fresh3D technology with a number of notable franchises moving from 2D, such as Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, Mario and The Legend of Zelda, the latter often being considered one of the best games of all time[citation needed] and being influential not only to its genre but video games as a whole. Other games that were released during this generation such as Crash Bandicoot, GoldenEye 007, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and FIFA International Soccer were influential in their own genres and started their own franchises that would span multiple generations and consoles. Resident Evil began the "survival horror" genre and Metal Gear Solid popularised the stealth genre[citation needed] as well as storytelling through cinematic cutscenes rendered in game. Gran Turismo and Sega Rally Championship popularised realism in the racing genre with different surfaces and realistic features such as tire grip.

Internet capabilities

By the sixth generation the console market had become huge than the PC market.

While earlier consoles did provide online capabilities, it wasn't until the sixth generation that online services became popular. Games introduced online features such as downloadable content, social features and online multiplayer. Online networks were madeby console developers such as PlayStation Network and Xbox Live providing a platform for games to utilise. Online multiplayer permittedplayers to play together from almost anywhere in the globewith an internet connection and the social features of the platforms gave players the means to organise over these long distances.

Downloadable materialbecame famousand meant developers could release updates after a game was launched and could containfreshmaterialor fixes to existing problem.


The DualShock 4 controller for the PlayStation 4


Console games getcommands from the player through the utilizeof an input device, commonly called a controller. Unlike a PC which utilize a keyboard and mouse or a mobile device that utilize a touch interface, console games are limited in their control schemes by the hardware accessiblefor the console. They usually containa wayto move the player character (joystick, d-pad or analogue stick) and a variation of buttons to perform other in-game actions such as jumping or interacting with the game world. The kindof controller accessibleto a game shouldfundamentally modifythe style of how a console game will or shouldbe played.

The limitation of the amount of buttons compared to a PC keyboard or a custom arcade cabinet means that controller buttons will commonly perform multiple, different actions to make up for the lack of extra buttons. For example, The Witcher 3 Xbox One controls will utilizethe "A" button to interact with the globewhen pressed but to make the herosprint when held, whereas the PC control scheme shouldseparate these functions into separate buttons. The limitation of input keys shouldleta developer to create a more refined and succinct control scheme that shouldbe learned by the player more easily and different games in the same genre tend to create control schemes similar to each other allowing players to easily adapt to freshgames.

There are games that require additional accessories to act as alternative method to control the game and to bypass the limitations of a standard game controller. Such stuffshouldinclude light guns, electronic instruments or racing wheels.


Consoles commonly utilizea television as their visual output device: optimal for viewing at a greater distance by a huge audience. As a result, many video games are plannedfor local multiplayer play, with all players viewing the same TV set, with the screen divided into several sections and each player using a different controller.

Video games have generally had admissionto less computing power, less flexible computing power, and lower resolution displays. Dedicated consoles were advanced graphically, especially in animation. This is because video game consoles had dedicated graphics hardware, were able to load data instantly from ROM, and a low resolution output would look better on a television because it naturally blurs the pixels.


Storage mediums play an necessaryrole in the development of a console game as it creates a fixed limit on the amount and quality of materialthat a game shouldhave. Unlike arcade games but similar to PC and handheld games, console games are generally distributed separately from their platforms and require a form of storage to keeptheir data. There are 3 basickind of storage medium for consoles – cartridges, optical disc and hard disk drive, all of which have considerably improved over time and provide more storage zoneto developers with each improvement.

A Nintendo 64 cartridge


Early cartridges had storage limitations which grew in size as the technology developed. They deliveredmore safetyversusthird party developers and the illegal copying of games. Some could be partially re-writable allowing for games to save their data to the cartridge itself meaning no extra saving media was required.

While cartridges became less famouswith the introduction of disc based media, they are still famousto utilizefor handheld consoles and are still in utilizeon consoles in later generations such as the Nintendo Switch.


Discs became famousas the storage medium for console games during the fifth generation due to the ability to shophugeamounts of data and be produced cheaply. The increase in zonedelivereddevelopers with a medium to shophigher quality assets but means they had to take into accthat you could not write to the disc. Most consoles that utilize discs had a means of saving game either on the console or in the form of a memory vehicle which meant developers had to control the size of their game saves.

Console storage

It is common for games after generation six to be shop partially or fully on the console itself, most commonly on a hard drive. Similarly to how a PC game shouldbe installed, the console game shouldcopy key files to the console's storage medium, which is utilize to decrease load times but still requires the original game storage medium to play. The second wayis for the game to be fully shop on the console and run directly from it, requiring no physical media to run at all. This offers players the opportunity to have games which have no physicality and shouldbe downloaded through the Internet to their console, as well as giving the developers the ability to provide updates and fixes in the same manner, effectively meaning development on a game doesn't have to stop once released.

As there is only a fixed amount of zoneon a console by default, developers do still have to be mindful of the amount of zonethey shouldtake up, especially if the install is compulsory. Some consoles provide users the ability to expand their storage with huge storage mediums, provide admissionto removable storage and release versions of their console with more storage.

Cloud gaming

Cloud gaming services letplayers to admissiongames as a streaming service. No specialist hardware is usually neededto admissionthese services and shouldbe run from most modern PC operating systems negating the need for a dedicated device for console gaming. The question of ownership is the largestdifference in comparison to other storage mediums for console games as they could be considered only a wayof renting the game.

OnLive is a cross between console and other game streaming software, they deliveredthe hardware, considered to be a microconsole, that would connect to their service but only as means of displaying the streamed content


To play console games on any other device than the console it has been developed for, emulation of that console is neededwhether it is programor hardware based emulation and some console developers will provide this as a means to play games from their older systems on newer devices. For example, the Xbox 360 provides some admissionto Xbox games and the Wii's Virtual Console has a customised emulator with each game tweaked to provide the best performance as opposed to a single emulator to do everything.[citation needed]

Games' resulton console sales

Where a PC is multi-functional and will be purchased to perform tasks other than gaming, a dedicated gaming console must have games accessiblefor it to be successful. A awesomelibrary of games will give a consumer reason to purchase the console and in turn create opportunities for more games to be madefor it. Console developers will lower their profit margins on devices to encourage sales of the games as more profit shouldbe obtained from programroyalties than the sale of the consoles themselves.

Games are frequently utilize to market a console and shoulddo so either by exclusivity to a specific console or by using existing famousintellectual properties (IPs) that already have a powerfulfollowing. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 was already a well known arcade game and was expected to assistthe sales of 2600 devices due to its popularity despite it being heavily criticized.


A powerfulmascot shouldcome organically from a game and shouldplay a hugepart of a console's marketing strategy. A well plannedand famousmascot will naturally generate further games. A awesomeexample of a mascot who has come from an existing game is Nintendo's Mario. He was madeas a herofor the Donkey Kong arcade game and wasn't expected to become famoussup id="cite_ref-yahoo_54-0" class="reference"> yet has gone onto become one of the most iconic gaming hero in history.

A herofrom a game shouldbe plannedto serve as a mascot, such as Sonic the Hedgehog. He was madewith the intent to rival Mario and was plannedwith abilities to counter Mario's weaknesses.

Both mascots exist outside of their respective video games and have become a part of the identity of each company, appearing in various kind of media such as TV present, books and film as well as a hugenumber of other video games.

Following the emergence of mascots during the late 1980s and early 1990s, for a few years it was considered necessaryto a console's sales that it have a game starring a famousmascot. However, video game mascots became increasingly unimportant to console sales during the mid-1990s due to the aging games market (older gamers are less likely to searchmascots appealing) and the stronger selling power of cross-licensing. A number of once-successful mascots such as Bonk, Gex, Bubsy, and Zool were dropped from usage in both marketing and programreleases during this time. The few surviving mascots remain relevant due to their value in increasing brand awareness.[citation needed]


The core development process for a console game is very similar to its counterparts and primarily differs in the high level concept due to demographics and the techback-end. Consoles developers will usually make a development kit accessibleto game developers which they shouldutilizeto trytheir games on with more ease than a consumer model.

Early console games were commonly madeby a single person and could be modify in a short amount of time due to the simplicity of the games at the time. As technology has improved, the development time, complexity and cost of console games has increased where the size of a squadfor an eighth generation game shouldnumber in the hundreds. Similarly, the programming languages utilize in video game development has modify over time with early games being developed primarily in assembly. As time went on developers had more choice on what they could utilizebased on the availability on the console but some languages became more famousthan others.

First and third party development

Many console developers will also have a branch of the organizationthat develops games for their console and are considered "first party" developers, a concept that' isn't commonly seen in PC development due to the variation of hardware configurations and lack of complete ownership of a system by a single manufacturer. First party developers have the advantage of having direct admissionto the console's development which gives them the opportunity to make the most of the hardware they are developing for.

Companies that are separate from the console manufacturer are considered to be "third-party" developers. They commonly have restrictions territory upon them and their games by the console manufacturers as a methodto control the library of their consoles.

Comparison between arcade, PC and handheld games

The basicdifferences in arcade game development is the fact that players have to pay per play and arcade games are mostly found at external venues. Arcade games are ultimately developed to testto receivea continuous stream of revenue from the player and to holdthem playing over the life of the machine. Console games have a high cost up front so they had to develop with the consideration that the player would need to receivesomething different out of the experience, primarily more content.

Handheld gaming needs to be portable and able to play in shorter time frames which ultimately affects the kindof games that are developed. Games that rely on long, unbroken sessions of gameplay or long cutscenes are not ideal for handhelds where as a console player is expected to have longer sessions.[citation needed] On handheld consoles of a smaller size, developers need to consider the amount of detail that will be visible to the player whereas console developers shouldsafely assume their games will be played on a huge screen such as a television.

In comparison to PC and mobile games, console game developers must consider the limitations of the hardware their game is being developed as it is unlikely to have any major modify. PC and mobile technology progresses quickly and there are many different configurations of their hardware and software. This is beneficial at the start of a console's life cycle as the technology will be relatively current but as the console ages, developers are forced to work with ageing hardware until the next generation of consoles comes out. Earlier consoles games could be developed to take advantage of the fixed limitations they were be on (E.g., the Megadrive's capability of quickscrolling influenced design decisions in Sonic the Hedgehog) Due to these hardware limitations the requirement of development kits and licenses neededfor development on a console is commonplace.

Developing a console game will also mean having to pay royalties to the console developers as there is no centralised hardware developer for a PC.

Development kits

Early consoles didn't have development kit versions and it was only around the fifth generation of consoles that development kits became common. Unlike PC games, console game development usually requires the utilizeof a development kit for the console that the game is being developed for as the hardware is often proprietary and is not freely available. The utilizeof a development kit let developers to admissionmore detail about how their game is running on the kit and other advanced debugging options. The downside of needing admissionto a development kit is that it limited hobbyists being able to create home angry or custom materialeasily without requiring specialist hardware. This grew into a benefit for PC games as they have a more open environment for hobbyists to create and changematerialeven if the developer doesn't assistanceit.

Some console developers have deliveredtools such as the Net Yaroze programdevelopment kit in an attempt to provide an avenue for hobbyists to create content.

Remakes and re-releases

Console games primarily started off as ports of arcade games. The timing of early consoles coincided with the golden age of arcade games which gave developers a awesomeopportunity to maximise on their popularity despite console hardware not being powerfulenough to run the games as they were originally. Arcade game effectively had to be remade for consoles which usually meant lowering the quality in some methodto make up for the hardware limitations. As technology improved and arcades reduced in popularity it was console original games that would start to be ported to other devices such as handheld consoles and PC.

Some consoles lack the ability to play games from previous generations which leta developer to release older games again but on the freshconsoles. The re-released game may be unchanged and simply be the same game but run on the freshtechnology or it shouldbe modify by the developer to have improved graphics, sound or gameplay. Some re-releases shouldhave added features such as Final Fantasy VII which added functions to speed the game up and turn off random opponentencounters.

When high definition technology was released many games get a high definition remake, These shouldvary in what is updated but usually higher resolution textures, re-rendered videos, higher quality audio and compatibility with newer display technologies. High definition remakes offer an addition revenue stream for a console game that was potentially at the end of its life.. The developer of the remake is not always the same as the developer of the original game and some, such as Double Eleven, will specialise in ports and remakes of other games.

Additional content

The development of additional materialprior to the internet was limited due to distribution wayand the materialhad to released as a freshgame as opposed to an add-on to an existing one. For example, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City utilize the same mechanics and engine but was released as a separate game from Grand Theft Auto III whereas a PC title such as Total Annihilation offered downloadable materialfrom 1997 While some Dreamcast games offered downloadable content, they were severely limited by the storage zoneof the console and the first console games to offer downloadable materialproperly were for the Xbox (console). It wasn't until generation 7 that console games began to assistancemods or custom materialto the same extent as PC games.

DLC shouldrange from tinymaterialadditions like extra stuffsup id="cite_ref-75" class="reference"> to huge ones that may containsignificant plot additions and extend the game considerably.

Ratings and censorship

The PEGI logo

Several systems exist worldwide to regulate or censor the video games industry. Some, like the Entertainment ProgramRating Board (ESRB) are composed of members of the industry themselves, while others, like Pan European Game Information (PEGI), are government-backed. The ESRB was started in 1994, was adopted as standard 10 years later and is rated on the interactive experience as well as the content.


From time to time, video games have been criticized by parents' groups, psychologists, politicians, and some religious company for allegedly glorifying violence, cruelty and crime, and exposing kidsto these elements. It is particularly disturbing to some that some video games letkidsto act out crimes (for example, the Grand Theft Auto series), and reward them for doing so. Concerns that kidswho play violent video games may have a tendency to act more aggressively on the playground have led to voluntary rating systems adopted by the industry, such as the ESRB rating system in the United States and the PEGI rating system in Europe. They are aimed at educating parents about the kind of games their kidsare playing to allowthem make an informed decision on whether letthem to play. Studies have present that most parents who complain about their young kidsacting increasingly aggressive and violent on the school playground due to video games do not follow the ESRB and PEGI rating systems. Many parents complain about their children, as young as 8, acting out violence depicted in Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, even though their ratings clearly state that the suggestedage is 18 and above.

Most studies, however, reached the conclusion that violence in video games is not causally linked with aggressive tendencies. This was the conclusion of a 1999 study by the United States government, prompting Surgeon General David Satcher to say, "[...] we clearly associate media violence to aggressive behavior, but the impact was very tinycompared to other things. Some may not be satisfiedwith that, but that’s where the magic is". This was also the conclusion of a meta-analysis by psychologist Jonathan Freedman, who reviewed over 200 published studies and found that the majority did not searcha causal link.

Video game consoles were banned in China between June 2000 and July 2015.

Game sales

The lists of best-selling games by platform, organized by the respective console generations, are given below:

See also

Console Game Hack Mod Tricks with Tons of Advices and Bonuses.



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