A list of the Sixth Generation consoles from 1998-2013
The sixth generation consoles brought light to the 128-bit era. Each of the main three competitors in the market released their latest addition to home gaming, upgrading for 64 to 128-bit while Microsoft came into the home console market.
The 128-bit era began with the release of the Sega Dreamcast on November 27th 1998, with Sony following suit well over a year later. Microsoft and Nintendo didn’t manage to roll out their sixt generation console until early 2001. Dispite Sony rolling out their latest console over a year later than Sega, the Playstation 2 had sheer dominance over It’s rivals selling nearly 3 times as many consoles than the Dreamcast, GameCube and Xbox combined.
Microsoft made It’s home console system debut with the Xbox. It was released on November 15th 2001 in North America, February 22nd 2002 in Japan and lastly March 14th 2002 in the EU. Total sales for the console peaked over 24 millions units by May 2006 although production and sales of the Xbox continued in North America until 2007.
The Xbox was jam packed full of features and went mainstream in America and Europe quickly, although sales were very poor in Japan because of Sony’s strong influence. The retail price was a whopping £299.99/$299.99/€214.99 – a consirderable amount more than the Dreamcast and GameCube but the same price as the PS2.
Microsoft XBOX Tech specs:
GPU: 233 MHz Custom Nvidia NV2A
RAM: 64 MB unified DDR SDRAM
OPTICAL MEDIA: DVD, CD
VIDEO OUTPUTS: VGA (RGBHV), component (YPBPR), SCART (RGBS), S-Video, composite
ONLINE SERVICE: Xbox Live (2002–2010) XLink Kai (2003-present)
BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY: None, N/A
SYSTEM SOFTWARE: Xbox Music Mixer, DVD Playback Kit, Xbox Linux
The Nintendo GameCube was first released on September 14th 2001 in Japan, then made It’s way to to North America on November 18th 2001. Europe and Austrailer did not see the console until May 2002 making it the last home console in the sixth gen era.
Nintendo’s effort at designing a 128-bit console hit off with a bang to younger gamers with the more child friendly franchises. One inparticular franchise that Nintendo had agaisnt all the other competitors was Mario. With the success of previous Mario games and the low launch price, the GameCube was an attractive offer to family’s although this hindered the adult gamers looking for more ‘action’. This, plus the lack of online connectivity like It’s rivals seriously damaged the GameCube’s sales, thus making Nintendo’s latest generation console sell less than the N64.
The GameCube launch price undercut the PS2 and the Xbox by a considerable amount, while still undercutting the Dreamcast price in the UK in an attempt to draw in the younger generation. The official launch price was a mere £129.99/$199.99/€199.99 which helped it achieve a total sale count of 21.74 million units, doubling the sales figures of the Dreamcast.
Nintendo Gamecube Tech specs:
GPU: 162 MHz ATI “Flipper”
RAM: Main RAM 24 MB 1T-SRAM, 16 MB DRAM Video RAM 3 MB embedded 1T-SRAM
OPTICAL MEDIA: GameCube game disc
VIDEO OUTPUTS: Component/d-terminal (YPBPR), SCART (RGBS; PAL consoles only), s-video (NTSC consoles only), composite
ONLINE SERVICE: Non-unified service (2003-2007) (can still be played using various private servers), XLink Kai (2003-present)
BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY: Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance
SYSTEM SOFTWARE: Proprietary OS, Gamecube Linux
The Dreamcast was the first to take stand in the sixth generation console era starting November 27th in Japan. North America and Europe did not see the console until September 1999, nearly a year later.
Despite being the first sixth gen console to be released and with a low launch price of £199.99/$199.99 it only sold 10.6 million units. This was mainly due to the fact that developers and customers doubted Sega’s console because of the Sega Saturn, Mega-CD and x32′s failure. Sony didn’t help either – with the hype of their latest Playstation looming in the near future, Sony’s massive fan base with both developers and customers hindered sales.
Once the Playstation 2 had been released sales figures plumeted due to several factors. The PS2 was backward compatible meaning customers could use their existing Playstation games on the latest generation console. It also had a built in DVD player and a large number of license secured titles including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
SEGA Dreamcast Tech specs:
GPU: 100 MHz NEC/VideoLogic PowerVR CLX2
RAM: Main RAM 16 MB SDRAM, Video RAM 8 MB, Sound RAM 2 MB
OPTICAL MEDIA: CD, 1.2 GB GD-ROM
VIDEO OUTPUTS: VGA (RGBHV), SCART (RGBS), s-video, composite
ONLINE SERVICE: Sega Net (2000–2002), Dreamarena (2000-2003) (can still be played using various private servers)
BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY: Neo-Geo Pocket Color
SYSTEM SOFTWARE: SegaOS, Windows CE, KallistiOS
Sony Playstation 2
Sony’s Playstation 2 began It’s reign of dominance on March 4th 2000 in Japan with International roll out by November 30th 2000. It has since sold a whopping 153.6 million units by the end of November 2011 making it the most sold and longest running sixth generation console.
Sony wanted a way to keep It’s already massive fan base in check, making the PS2 backward compatible allowing users to play their favourite Playstation games on it. This added with the fact it could play DVD’s and had a huge amounted of widely franchised games meant Sony were already in a strong position agaisnt It’s rivals long before the consoles release.
Upon It’s launch, nobody seemed to notice the £299.99/$299.99 price tag – an expensive console in comparison to the Dreamcast and GameCube, but Sony’s advertising budget was also a considerable amount more, allowing developers and customers to see It’s potential from the off.
Sony Playstation 2 Tech specs:
GPU: 147 MHz “Graphics Synthesizer”
RAM: Main RAM 32 MB RDRAM, Video RAM 4 MB, Sound RAM 2 MB
OPTICAL MEDIA: DVD, CD
VIDEO OUTPUTS: Component/d-terminal (YPBPR), VGA (RGBS; progressive scan games/PS2 Linux only), SCART (RGBS), s-video, composite
ONLINE SERVICE: Non-unified service (2002–present), XLink Kai (2003-present)
BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY: PlayStation
SYSTEM SOFTWARE: Proprietary OS, PS2 Linux