The gaming world is divided by console wars. It has been this way for a long time, and will most likely not change anytime soon. There is a war raging and lines have been drawn between certain groups of gamers. This war has grown into something much more than, “my game system is better then yours”. It is now a personal investment. Gamers align themselves with their console. Due to this, when their system choice is attacked or spoken about negatively, they feel the drive to defend it. This quick battle-like response results normally, in game forms, Twitter, or occasionally in your local game retailer.
The Console Wars extends back as far as Nintendo and Sega, pulling gamers back and forth trying to gain control of the living room and has escalated into today. These arguments are intense, passionate, and sometimes brutal in the battleground between gamers defining their platforms and arguing why their choice is the correct one. What once was a friendly rivalry between Nintendo and Sega has evolved into something much more between Sony and Microsoft. Gamers can at times be just as concerned with sales numbers as companies are, feeling that they can directly influence their sales. In a way the war has become a game in itself. YouTube videos pitting gaming systems against each other, arguments of who has more or better quality exclusive games, or even who has a better controller are just some of the common arguments. Nevertheless like any war, there are many positives to this war as well. Competition is a consumer’s best friend by bringing down prices, pushing technology, and keeping the drive of being the best as the company’s main focus. However, there are many gamers whose allegiance isn’t a system but are instead pledged to the games themselves. These gamers own multiple systems and play the games they want to play regardless of platform. Even with this group of gamers holding games over systems, the console wars has only become more intense and heated over the years.
The year was 1983, and Nintendo entered the video game industry with the Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as the NES. The NES was an 8-Bit home console that revolutionized console gaming into what we know it as today. By the time Nintendo was ready to release the NES in North America in 1985 they where about to be met with their first adversary, Sega.
On October 10, 1985 in Japan, we witnessed the release of the Master System as a direct competitor to the NES. Sega designed the Master System to have more superior technology then the NES, however it failed which sold 61 million units by the end of its life span. The Console Wars had officially begun. By the time the second generation of Sega and Nintendo consoles where about to launch anticipation of how these companies would outperform the other was at an all-time high. The first company to release their next console was Sega with the Sega Genesis.
Releasing in October 1988 in Japan, only three years after their Master System, Sega developed a 16-Bit system that was backwards compatible with the Master System. Sega was optimistic that a release before the new Nintendo system would give them the edge they needed to overthrow Nintendo. That coupled with games like Sonic The Hedgehog and later in its lifespan, Mortal Kombat would prove to close the gap between the two companies. However, Sega would not overtake Nintendo by falling short 19 million units with Nintendo outselling Sega in both generations. Nonetheless, Nintendo would not always be king.
This is part of a four part article series that will continue to outline the history of video games console wars. Stay tuned for part two, which will be posted next week, right here.