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History of video game consoles (eighth generation) facts for kids

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History of video games

The eighth generation of video game consoles began in 2012 and is the current video game console generation. The eighth generation began with the release of Wii U. The PlayStation 4 was announced on February 20, 2013. It was released worldwide on November 15, 2013. Microsoft announced the Xbox One on May 21, 2013. It had its first regional release on November 22, 2013. For handheld game consoles, the generation began in February 2011. The first handheld was the Nintendo 3DS. The PlayStation Vita was released in December 2011 in Japan. It was available for the Western countries in February 2012.

It is believed by the video game media that the eighth generation home consoles compete with the smartphone, tablet, and Smart TV gaming markets. Because of this, some analysts believe the eight generation will be the last generation of home consoles. Other microconsoles such as the NVIDIA Shield, Steam Box, Ouya and GameStick are attempting to compete in this market. Nintendo officially discontinued the Wii U on January 31, 2017 in anticipation of the March 3, 2017 worldwide release of the Nintendo Switch. The Switch is a "hybrid" console that acts as both a home console and handheld device, and it is unclear if it is a late entry to the eighth generation or the beginning of a ninth generation of home consoles.

Systems

Comparison

Name Wii U PlayStation 4 Xbox One
Logo WiiU.svg PlayStation 4 logo and wordmark.svg X Box One logo.svg
Manufacturer Nintendo Sony Microsoft
Console Wii U Console and Gamepad.png Ps4-system-imageblock-us-13jun14.png Microsoft-Xbox-One-Console-Set-wKinect.jpg
Release dates November 18, 2012 November 15, 2013 NA: November 22, 2013

EU: November 22, 2013 (some countries, September 2, 2014, for others)

AU: November 22, 2013

BR: November 22, 2013

JP: September 4, 2014

CN: September 29, 2014

Launch prices Basic Model
  • US$299.99
  • £/, set by individual retailers
  • A$348.00
  • ¥26,250

Deluxe/Premium Model

  • US$349.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • A$428.00
  • ¥31,500
US$399.99, €399.99, £349.99 US$499/€499/£429/JP¥49,980/CN¥3,699
Units shipped Worldwide: 13.56 million (as of 16 December 2016) N/A N/A
Best-selling game Mario Kart 8, 8.26 million units (as of 31 December 2016) N/A N/A
Media Wii U Optical Disc @ 22.5MB/s
25 GB (single layer)
Blu-ray, DVD Blu-ray, DVD
CPU Tri-Core IBM PowerPC "Espresso" Octa-Core AMD "Jaguar" Octa-Core AMD
GPU AMD Radeon "Latte" GPGPU @ 550 MHz Custom AMD Radeon, architecture and performance similar to a Radeon 7870 @ 800 MHz Custom AMD Radeon, architecture and performance similar to a Radeon 7790 @ 800 MHz
Memory 2 GB DDR3 RAM

(1 GB available for games / 1 GB available for system)

8 GB GDDR5 RAM

(7 GB available for games / 1 GB available for system)

8 GB DDR3 RAM

(5 GB available for games / 3 GB available for system)

Storage 8 GB (Basic), 32 GB (Deluxe/Premium) internal flash memory
Supports up to 32 GB SDHC memory cards (for Wii mode) Up to 2 TB USB hard disk drive for e-Shop games & save storage
HDD with unconfirmed capacity 500 GB HDD
Video
  • 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 576i, 480i; standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
  • Analog AV port supporting:
    • Composite video
    • S-Video (NTSC consoles only)
    • RGB SCART (PAL consoles only)
    • YPBPR
      • D-Terminal (Japan only)
      • Component video
  • HDMI

Resolutions other than 576i and 480i available via HDMI and YPBPR only.

  • 4K, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 576i, 480i; standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
  • Analog AV port supporting:
    • Composite video
    • S-Video (NTSC consoles only)
    • RGB SCART (PAL consoles only)
      • Component video
  • HDMI

Resolutions other than 576i and 480i available via HDMI only.

  • 4K, 1080p, 1080i and 720p
  • HDMI in / HDMI out
Integrated 3DTV support Yes Yes Yes
Second screen Off-TV Play Remote Play SmartGlass
Audio
  • Analog stereo via the Analog AV port.
  • Six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI
0TBA TBA
Peripheral abilities
  • SD memory card slot (supports SDHC cards)
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports (2 at front of console, 2 at rear)
  • Bluetooth
  • Sensor Bar power port
  • "AV Multi Out" port
  • HDMI out port
Controller
Online services
Nintendo Network

Accounts

  • Nintendo Network ID (up to 12 per system)
  • User Account Profile (up to 12 per system)
  • Personal Mii (one linked per account)
  • Friend List (up to 100 friends)
  • Origin support (EA-published titles only)
  • Uplay support (Ubisoft-published titles only)

Social network

Miiverse

Games

  • Online multiplayer (upwards of 8-12 players)
  • Online leaderboards
  • Accomplishments System
  • Voice/video chat (requires at least one Wii U GamePad)

Cloud storage

TBD

Communication

  • Wii U Chat (video calls/voice chat)
  • Friend List (up to 100 friends)
    • Block List
    • Player History (online players met)
  • Notifications
  • SpotPass
  • Cross Platform with Nintendo 3DS

Online Shop

Nintendo eShop

Entertainment

  • Nintendo TVii (discontinued August 11, 2015)
  • YNN! (Japan only)
  • Nico Nico Douga (Japan only)
  • YouTube

Internet Navigation

Loyalty Programs

  • Club Nintendo (discontinued - 2015)
  • Nintendo Network Premium
  • My Nintendo ( launched 31 March, 2016)

Other Utilities

  • Parental controls
  • eManuals
  • Nintendo Customer Service (video game console warranty and help/repair support)
  • Nintendo Online Store (physical products only)

System Update

Wii U System Update
Miiverse
  • Personal Profile (up to 400 characters)
  • Communities:
    • Game/App communities
    • News communities
    • Developer's Room communities
    • Private communities
  • Share:
    • Comments & Drawings
    • Activity Feed (most recent post of any followed users)
    • Accomplishments
    • Tags (records/challenges)
    • In-game screenshots
    • YouTube videos
  • News Feed
  • Friend List (up to 100 friends)
  • Follow (Profile can follow up to 1000 users)
  • Instant messaging
  • Notifications
N/A
Nintendo eShop

Games/Apps

  • Downloadable content
  • Demos (playable up to 30 times)
  • Game screenshots/videos/
  • Software rantings (1 to 5 stars; various categories)
  • Software updates/patches
  • Virtual Console

Entertainment

Nintendo TVii
  • Netflix
  • Hulu Plus (US/Japan only)
  • Amazon Instant Video (US only)
  • LoveFilm (Europe only)
  • TiVo
PlayStation Network Xbox Live
Regional lockout Yes 0TBA 0TBA
Games can be shared/resold without a fee Yes Yes Yes
Requires an Internet connection No No No
List of games List of Wii U games List of PlayStation 4 games List of Xbox One games
Backward compatibility Nintendo optical discs

Downloadable only

Optical disc/download

Not compatible with PlayStation 3 titles due to hardware incompatibility; other systems unannounced

Gaikai cloud streaming (not at launch)

Compatible with some Xbox 360 titles

Handheld consoles

Handheld comparison

Name Nintendo 3DS / 3DS XL PlayStation Vita
Logo Nintendo 3DS (logo).svg PlayStation Vita logo SVG.svg
Manufacturer Nintendo Sony
Console Nintendo-3DS-AquaOpen.png PlayStation Vita illustration.svg
Release dates Nintendo 3DS
  • JP 26 February 2011
  • EU 25 March 2011
  • NA 27 March 2011
  • AUS 31 March 2011

Nintendo 3DS XL

  • JP 28 July 2012
  • EU 28 July 2012
  • NA 19 August 2012
  • AUS 23 August 2012
All versions
  • JP 17 December 2011
  • EU 22 February 2012
  • NA 22 February 2012
  • AUS 23 February 2012
Launch prices Nintendo 3DS
  • ¥25,000
  • US$249.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • A$349.95

Nintendo 3DS XL

  • ¥18,900
  • US$199.99
  • £/€, set by individual retailers
  • A$249.9
Wi-Fi
  • ¥24,980
  • $249
  • €249
  • £229.99

Wi-Fi+3G

  • ¥29,980
  • $299
  • €299
  • £279.99
2013 prices Nintendo 3DS
  • $169.99
  • €169.99
  • ¥15,000
  • A$249.99 (as of 12 August 2011)

Nintendo 3DS XL
Same as launch prices

Wi-Fi
  • ¥19,980

Same as launch prices
Wi-Fi+3G

  • ¥19,980

Same as launch prices

Units shipped Worldwide: 31.09 million (as of 31 March 2013) Worldwide: 2.2 million (as of 30 June 2012)
Best-selling game Super Mario 3D Land, 8.29 million units (as of 31 March 2013) N/A
Display Top:
Autostereoscopic (3D) LCD 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 px per eye)
  • 3.53 in (90 mm) (Nintendo 3DS)
  • 4.88 in (124 mm) (Nintendo 3DS XL)

Bottom:

2D LCD Touchscreen 320 × 240 px QVGA
  • 3.02 in (77 mm) (Nintendo 3DS)
  • 4.18 in (106 mm) (Nintendo 3DS XL)
5 in (130 mm) OLED 960 × 544 px
3D enabled Yes No
CPU Dual-core ARM11 MPCore Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore
GPU Digital Media Professionals PICA200 PowerVR SGX543MP4+
Memory 128 MB FCRAM, 6 MB VRAM 512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM
Camera One front-facing and a set of two rear-facing 3D 0.3 MP (VGA) camera sensors Front and rear 0.3 MP (VGA) camera sensors
Storage

2 GB (1.5 GB usable) NAND flash internal storage
Supports up to 128GB SDXC cards, and up to 32GB SDHC cards

  • 2 GB SD card included (Nintendo 3DS)
  • 4 GB SDHC card included (Nintendo 3DS XL)
No internal storage
4 GB to 32 GB of proprietary removable memory sticks
Media Nintendo 3DS Game Card (1–8 GB)
Nintendo DS Game Card (8–512 MB)
PlayStation Vita Game Card (2–4 GB)
User interface
  • Circle Pad (2× with add-on)
  • D-pad
  • Autostereoscopic 15:9(5:3) screen with 3D depth slider (top screen)
  • Resistive 4:3 touchscreen (bottom screen)
  • 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope
  • Volume slider
  • 3D depth slider
  • Wireless communications switch
  • Front 2D camera and rear 3D camera set
  • Microphone
  • 12 × buttons
    (X, Y, A, B, L, R (ZL and ZR with add-on), START, SELECT, HOME, POWER)
  • 2 × analog sticks
  • D-pad
  • Capacitive OLED 16:9 touchscreen
  • Rear touchpad
  • Sixaxis motion sensing
  • Three-axis electronic compass
  • Front & rear 2D cameras
  • Microphone
  • 12 × buttons
    (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square, L, R, Start, Select, Home, Volume ±, Power)
Battery Nintendo 3DS
1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 3DS Mode: 3–5 hours
  • DS Mode: 5–8 hours

Nintendo 3DS XL

1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 3DS Mode: 3.5–6.5 hours
  • DS Mode: 6–10 hours

(determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and 3D effect)

All versions
2200 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Gameplay: 3–5 hours
  • Video playback: 5 hours
  • Music: 9 hours

(determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and whether 3G is active)

Connectivity
Stylus Nintendo 3DS
Extendable up to 100 mm (3.9 in) long

Nintendo 3DS XL

96 mm (3.8 in) long
N/A
Weight Nintendo 3DS
235 grams (8.3 oz)

Nintendo 3DS XL

336 grams (11.9 oz)
Wi-Fi model
260 grams (9.2 oz)

Wi-Fi+3G model

279 grams (9.8 oz)
Dimensions Nintendo 3DS
  • 134 mm (5.3 in) W
  • 74 mm (2.9 in) D
  • 22 mm (0.87 in) H

Nintendo 3DS XL

  • 156 mm (6.1 in) W
  • 93 mm (3.7 in) D
  • 22 mm (0.87 in)
All versions
  • 182 mm (7.2 in) W
  • 83.6 mm (3.29 in) D
  • 18.6 mm (0.73 in) H
Online services
Nintendo Network
Accounts
  • Universal Friend Code System (Friend Card)
  • Personal Mii (one linked per account)
  • Friend List (up to 100 friends)

Social network

Miiverse

Games

Communication

  • Swapnote (Nintendo Letter Box in PAL region)
  • Friend List (up to 100 friends)
  • StreetPass Mii Plaza (local & online players met)
  • 3DS Download Play
  • Notifications
  • StreetPass & SpotPass
  • Cross Platform with Wii U

Online Shop

Nintendo eShop

Entertainment

  • Nintendo Video
  • Netflix (North America only)
  • Hulu Plus (United States only)
  • Recochoku (Japan only)
  • e-Reader

Internet Navigation

Loyalty Programs

  • Club Nintendo
  • Nintendo Network Premium

Other Utilities

  • Parental controls
  • eManuals
  • Nintendo Customer Service (video game console warranty and help/repair support)
  • Nintendo Online Store (physical products only)

System Update

Nintendo 3DS System Update
Miiverse
  • Personal Profile
  • Comunities:
    • Game/App communities
    • News communities
    • Developer's Room communities
    • Private communities (online matchmaking)
  • Share:
    • Comments
    • Drawings
    • Accomplishments
    • Tags (records/challenges)
    • In-game screenshots
    • YouTube videos
  • News Feed
  • Friend List (up to 100 friends)
  • Instant messaging
  • Notifications
Nintendo eShop

Games/Apps

  • Downloadable content
  • Demos (playable up to 30 times)
  • Game screenshots/videos/
  • Software rantings (1 to 5 stars; various categories)
  • Software updates/patches
  • Virtual Console

Entertainment

  • Nintendo TV (Official Nintendo Magazine)
  • Short Films
  • Nintendo eShop News
  • Nintendo Direct
Sony Entertainment Network
Preloaded applications
  • Health & Safety Information
  • Nintendo 3DS / DS Game Card
  • Nintendo 3DS Camera (Photo + Video Recording and Editing)
  • Nintendo 3DS Sound
  • Nintendo eShop
  • Mii Maker
  • StreetPass Mii Plaza
  • AR Games
  • Face Raiders
  • Activity Log
  • Nintendo Zone
  • Nintendo Video
  • Swapnote (Nintendo Letter Box in PAL region)
  • Eurosport (PAL region only)
  • Netflix (w/ paid subscription)
  • Hulu Plus (w/ paid subscription)
  • DS Download Play
  • 3DS Download Play
  • System Settings
  • Game Notes
  • Friend List
  • Notifications
  • Internet Browser
  • Trophies
  • PlayStation Store
  • Friends
  • Party
  • Group Messaging
  • Notifications
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Internet Browser
  • Email
  • Maps
  • Settings
  • Content Manager
  • Remote Play
  • Cross-Controller
  • Welcome Park
  • near
Regional lockout Yes No
List of games List of Nintendo 3DS games List of PlayStation Vita games
Backward compatibility Nintendo Game Cards

Downloadable only

Downloadable only
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