Why are there still game consoles?

The history of game consoles

From rudimentary "video games" to complex networked entertainment centers in the living room: game consoles are an absolute success model and have long since shed their nerd image. But did you know how early the first console actually came on the market?

Do you know who Ralph Baer was? The German American was the inventor of the first game console. And it came on the market much earlier than many of us would probably have suspected. On today's video game day, let's take a look back at the history of consoles.

The invention of game consoles

The first game console was called Magnavox Odyssey and was actually invented in 1972. The prototype even dates back to 1968. Like today's consoles, the very first one was connected to the television. However, only one game could be played with it. Because Magnavox Odyssey was not yet an independent computer with RAM and Co., but could only run a few preset game animations. Nevertheless, the concept was groundbreaking at the time and sold around 360,000 times worldwide. The price was 100 dollars at the start, but two years later it was only half. Magnavox Odyssey had numerous follow-on products that worked on a similar principle. Including the classic Pong by Atari, which is certainly not only known to die-hard video game fans.

When the consoles became computers

The next big milestone was then the Fairchild Channel F. It was the first game console that can actually be described as a stand-alone computer. And so she was able to play different games for the first time using different plug-in modules. In addition, it was not connected to the television, but had its own small 2D display and speakers. It can therefore be described as the first handheld console - and thus the forefather of the Game Boy. Because this came on the market in 1989, but the Fairchild Channel F already in 1976! A year before Nintendo even brought out its first "video game" - as they said about consoles in Germany at the time.

The only German game console

Speaking of Germany: In the 1970s, more precisely in 1978, the only game console made entirely in Germany to date came onto the market - the Interton VC4000. In Germany and Europe, it was even able to achieve some popularity, but not really hold a candle to the competition from the USA. Today, Interton no longer produces game consoles, but hearing aids.

The death and comeback of game consoles

In the 70s there was already a real high phase of the game consoles. In 1982 video games turned over a whopping $ 3 billion in the United States alone. But then they almost completely disappeared for a while. The reason: The PC found its way into more and more private households. And with it the PC game too. Many predicted the end of the consoles, but then Nintendo managed to conquer the world market with the NES and its cult game Super Mario Bros. The big comeback of the game consoles!

3D graphics and vibrating controllers

In the 1990s, the consoles slowly became powerful enough to be able to display 3D graphics. At least now they have become a permanent fixture in living rooms. In addition to the new editions of the Atari consoles, it was above all the Playstation 1994 and the N64 1996 that contributed to the ultimate breakthrough of the new generation of game consoles. The CD as a data carrier increased the variety of games enormously. And additional functions such as vibrations in the controller made the gaming experience even more intense.

More than just a toy

With the market launch of the Playstation 2 in 2000, the game console developed further into a multifunctional entertainment center in the living room. Because now it could also play CDs and DVDs and made additional devices unnecessary for these purposes. With more than 155 million units sold to date, the PS2 is the most successful console of all time. A year later, Microsoft also entered the now lucrative game console market with the first XBox. It was the first to have its own internal hard drive. With the next generation, this became a must for the other major manufacturers as well. In the meantime, the three big players in particular dominated the market: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, who with the Wii have made motion control suitable for the masses as a new form of player interaction and thus able to address completely new levels of gamers. Most recently, online functionality has become increasingly important with the new consoles and games. So playing together with people all over the world from your own sofa.

Game consoles are no longer just for nerds since the Nintendo Wii. If you look at the sales figures since the 1970s, they have probably always been more suitable for the masses than their reputation. What was your first game console? Tell us about it on the BERGMANN Facebook page!