Console War

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"Console wars", also known as "System wars" is a term used to refer to periods of intense competition for market share between video game console manufacturers. The winners of these "wars" may be debated based on different standards: market penetration and financial success, or the fierce loyalty and numbers of the fans of the system's games. The term itself does not strictly denote a clear winner in each case, though. The outcome of a console war may however determine whether or not a manufacturer remains a part of the video games industry. Due to different manufacturers releasing consoles at different times, the wars described below are not exact definitions and do not necessarily have firm beginning and ending dates. Also, these wars had different years and combatants on different continents, since traditionally the four main markets—Europe, Japan, Australia and North America—have been treated as separate entities, with machines and games released at different times or even completely different games being released. This situation is not as apparent as it was in the past, but remains in some respects, particularly with regards to Japan when compared to the other three markets. In the mid-1980s, home computers from various manufacturers were used primarily for gaming purposes by consumers worldwide (in the absence of comparable consoles following the video game crash) and are included here as well

32/64-bit era

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2011) Main article: History of video game consoles (fifth generation) In the "32-bit era," the Sega Saturn was released first and despite success in Japanese markets, it ultimately lacked in sufficient third party support. Sega's decision to use dual processors has been roundly criticized, and some believe the second CPU was added as a knee-jerk reaction to the PlayStation's specifications. It has been said that only Sega's first-party developers were ever able to utilize the second CPU effectively. The Sega Saturn was the more difficult console to program for with some titles being dropped during the development process (STI's Sonic X-treme for example), and therefore the 3-D graphics on its third party games often lacked the luster of the PlayStation or Nintendo 64 (N64), a severe disadvantage at the dawn of 3-D games on home consoles. Sega was also hurt by the plan to have a surprise four month early US launch of their console.[39] This head start failed for several reasons. One of the major reasons being there were few software titles ready. The Sega Saturn was also US$100 more expensive than the PlayStation at its launch, and only available at four retailers. Sony took an early advantage by initiating an expensive ad campaign and appealing to an older demographic who had grown up playing video games. The PlayStation was positioned as a necessity alongside the TV and VCR. The securing of this demographic is widely credited as the key to the system's success. Sega and particularly Nintendo's offerings were characterized as appealing more to children (both companies, for instance, featured mascots that appeared in Saturday morning cartoons). With Sony's greater hardware sales came greater third party support; ultimately the PlayStation won the era virtually unopposed. Sony carried this momentum over into the release of the PlayStation 2. The Saturn was discontinued in 1998, as Sega again tried to gain a head start over Sony with the Dreamcast. Although this era is known as the "32-bit era," the 64-bit Nintendo 64 was released later than the other two consoles with which it was originally meant to compete directly. By the time of its release, Sony had already established their dominance and the Saturn was struggling to keep momentum. Its use of cartridge media rather than compact discs...
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