Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!
This week we are going to define the term “Generation” with regards to how it is used in the video game space.
Video game consoles have been around for decades and have increased in power exponentially as time has passed.
One of the limitations on home consoles is that in order to work as consumers expect them to they must remain, at least mostly, the same from a power perspective for a long time. This is done to allow publishers to generate the software needed to help consumers feel like the purchase was “worth it.” At this point, consumers generally understand that a console will only last a certain number of years before a console manufacturer will replace it with something new and more powerful that they will need to buy in order to play the latest and greatest games. (This wasn’t always the case though. There was a great deal of outcry against the Super Nintendo because people did not originally understand that it wasn’t just a slightly different Nintendo Entertainment System.)
Console manufacturers tend to release new consoles all at once (or at least over a short span of time). This behavior has lasted almost as long as consoles have. As a result, Gamers and game historians have taken to referring to the time that a set of consoles is available as a “generation.”
There have been eight generations of video game consoles so far. The list below includes the major consoles included in each generation. Game historians may argue some of the finer points regarding what might be included in each generation, but this list is generally accepted as accurate.
- First Generation: Magnavox Odyssey, Pong, etc.
- Second Generation: Colecovision, Atari 2600, Atari 5600
- Third Generation: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
- Fourth Generation: Nintendo SNES, Sega Genesis
- Fifth Generation: Nintendo N64, Sony PlayStation , Sega Saturn
- Sixth Generation: Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Sega Dreamcast
- Seventh Generation: Nintendo WiiU, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360
- Eighth Generation : Nintendo WiiU, Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One