A specialized desktop computer used to play video games. Three popular game consoles are Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3), Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox. Game software is available on CDs or DVDs, although earlier game machines used cartridges containing read only memory (ROM) chips. Video game consoles require a TV or monitor for display.|
Video game consoles are typically powered by operating systems and CPUs that differ from desktop computers. The consoles are under the control of their respective manufacturers, and the software is geared to the machine's capabilities. Games are not interchangeable with other game consoles or desktop computers, although software publishers may develop games for more than one platform.
Handheld video games are miniature versions of game consoles and less elaborate. They are entirely portable, self-contained, battery-operated devices with their own small screens. Examples are the PlayStation Portable, Nintendo GameBoy and earlier Sega GameGear and Atari Lynx machines. See gaming, video game controller, wireless game adapter, PlayStation, Xbox and Wii.
Sony's first PlayStation came out in 1995 and garnered a huge fan club over the years. The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is the third generation of the line and the first game console to include a Blu-ray drive. (Image courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment.)
With the Xbox introduction in 2001, Microsoft entered the video game console market. Four years later, it dramatically increased the Xbox's power with the 360. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Corporation.)
In 2005, a decade after introducing the PlayStation game console, Sony came out with its first handheld model, the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The PSP also plays music and videos and displays photos. (Image courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment.)