Generational changes in gaming

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Console gaming has evolved since its inception, but more so during the last generation.

As a kid the consoles I played never changed from the day I opened the box. My Nintendo and Atari 2600 still operate exactly as they did 20 to 30 years ago.

That is not the case with the consoles I purchased over the past generation; all have changed in the past eight years.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The PS3 is one example. When it launched in 2006 it came with full backwards compatibility, and a simpler version of its graphical user interface. Hardware revisions to the console removed the ability to play PS2 games, but firmware updates improved on the GUI and added several new features.

The Xbox 360 also saw several changes. It initially had a clunky GUI that was difficult to navigate. The new GUI is much cleaner and easier to use.

With the Wii, most of the changes were minor comparatively speaking. They mostly included the implementation of some additional apps.

My favorite addition to all three consoles was the ability to stream movies, most notably through Netflix. I do enjoy video games, but the older I get the less time I have to play. This means most of my console usage pertains to watching movies or shows through the streaming service. Netflix also allows me to save a ton on monthly cable or satellite fees.

Another notable change this generation was the ability for publishers to fix problems via game patches over the Internet. In the past a game breaking glitch stayed that way. Today game publishers have a quick easy way to fix any major problems.

The catalyst for all of these changes is due to the addition of Internet connectivity. Console makers are capitalizing on the ability to add features to their hardware to make them more attractive, and increase their potential lifespan.

While there is a negative side to this, so far it has worked out for the better.