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

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The fifth generation of video game consoles began in 1993 and ended in 2002. The fifth generation was also called the 32-bit, 64-bit or the 3D generation of video game consoles. Throughout the fifth generation, only three consoles were among the most popular video game consoles in this era. These consoles include, the Sega Saturn (1994), the Sony PlayStation (1994), and the Nintendo 64 (1996). In different parts of the world, console sales varied widely. However, the PlayStation was the best-selling system of the fifth generation. The 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Amiga CD32 and PC-FX and other consoles were also part of this generation. However, those systems were not very successful.

The handheld game consoles of the fifth generation were not that successful. The first handheld, Sega Nomad had a lifespan of two years. The Virtual Boy only had less than one year. Both of them were discontinued. Nintendo's Game Boy Color became the best-selling handheld video console of the fifth generation. There were two updated versions of the original Game Boy such as the Game Boy Light (Japan only) and the Game Boy Pocket.

The bit ratings of consoles in the 5th generation began to blur & were less of a selling feature than the previous "bit wars" of the 8 and 16 bit era. The number of "bits" in console names referred to the CPU word size. It had been used by hardware marketers as a "show of power" for many years. The fifth generation saw the increase of emulation. The development of the Internet made it possible to save and download tape and ROM images of older games. This led the seventh generation consoles to make many older games available for purchase or download.

Home systems


Name 3DO Interactive Multiplayer Atari Jaguar Sega Saturn PlayStation Nintendo 64
Developer The 3DO Company Atari Sega Sony Nintendo





Launch prices (USD) US$699.99 US$249.99 US$399.99 US$299.99 US$199
Release date NA 19931004October 4, 1993
JP 19940320March 20, 1994
EU 1994
NA 19931115November 15, 1993
JP 19941121November 21, 1994
EU Q4, 1994
JP 19941122November 22, 1994
NA 19950511May 11, 1995
EU 19950708July 8, 1995
3 December 1994 JP 19960623June 23, 1996
NA 19960929September 29, 1996
EU 199703March 1997
Media CD-ROM Cartridge CD-ROM, cartridge (limited, Japan only) CD-ROM Cartridge, (proprietary magnetic disk via Japan-only add-on)
Best-selling game Virtua Fighter 2, 1.7 million in Japan Gran Turismo, 10.85 million shipped (as of April 30, 2008) Super Mario 64, 11.62 million (as of May 21, 2003)
CPU ARM60 32-bit RISC CPU at 12.5 MHz "Tom" (26.6 MHz), "Jerry" (26.6 MHz) and a Motorola 68000 (13.3 MHz) Two Hitachi SuperH-2 7604 32-bit RISC processors at 28.63 MHz MIPS R3000A-compatible 32-bit RISC chip running at 33.8688 MHz NEC VR4300 64-bit at 93.75 MHz
GPU Two accelerated video co-processors 5 processors contained in 3 chips: "Tom", "Jerry" and Motorola 68000 Two custom 32-bit video display processors at 28.63 MHz 66 MIPS vector math unit in the main CPU Reality Co-Processor: MIPS R4000-based 8-bit integer vector processor at 62.5 MHz
Memory 2MB RAM, 1MB VRAM 2 MB of fast page mode DRAM(4 chips x 512 KB) 1MB SDRAM, 1MB DRAM, 6x 512KB for 3D graphics, 3D frame buffers, 2D graphics, sound, CD subsystem, BIOS ROM 2MB, 1MB VRAM, 512KB sound 4MB (8MB with Expansion Pak)
Accessories (retail)
  • MPEG cards
  • FZ-EM256 save memory backup unit
  • Gamegun
  • Mouse
  • Arcade Stick
  • Saturn digital gamepad
  • 3D controller
  • Light guns
  • Multitap (up to 12 players)
  • Sega NetLink – modem and keyboard
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • 1.44 MB 3.5" disk drive
  • DirectLink
  • Memory card
  • MPEG cards
  • RAM expansion cartridges
  • Multitap (up to 8 players)
  • Fishing reel controllers (Bass Landing and Reel Fishing)
  • Dual Analog Controller
  • DualShock
  • GunCon
  • Jogcon
  • Konami Justifier
  • NeGcon
  • PocketStation
  • PlayStation Mouse
  • Analog Joystick
  • Dance pad
  • LCD screen (for PSone systems only)
  • Memory card
  • Link Cable
System sales (worldwide)

2 million


9.4 million

102 million

32.93 million

Other consoles

Name FM Towns Marty Pioneer LaserActive Amiga CD32 Neo Geo CD PC-FX Apple Bandai Pippin
Developer Fujitsu Pioneer Commodore SNK NEC Apple

Pioneer LaserActive CLD-A100.jpg





Launch prices US$450 ¥89,800, US$970 US$500 US$300 US$250 US$599
Release date JP 19930220February 20, 1993
JP 19930820August 20, 1993
NA 19930913September 13, 1993
  • NA October 1993
  • EU September 1993
  • JP December 20, 1994
  • JP March 28, 1995
  • NA September 1, 1996
Media CD-ROM, 3½-inch floppy disk Laserdisc CD-ROM CD-ROM CD-ROM CD-ROM
Non-mass-market systems

Worldwide sales

Console Units sold
PlayStation 102.49 million shipped (as of March 31, 2007)
Nintendo 64 32.93 million (as of March 31, 2005)
Sega Saturn 9.4 million (as of May 4, 2007)
3DO 2 million (as of May 4, 2007)
Atari Jaguar 500,000 (as of May 15, 2007)
Amiga CD32 100,000
PC-FX <100,000
Apple Bandai Pippin 42,000 (as of May 4, 2007)

Handheld systems

Milestone titles

Images for kids

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