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History of video game consoles (fifth generation)

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The fifth generation of video game consoles began in 1993 and ended in 2003.[1] 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[change | change source]

Comparison[change | change source]

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[2] US$249.99 US$399.99[2] US$299.99 US$199[3]
Release date
  • NA: October 4, 1993
  • JP: March 20, 1994
  • EU: 1994
  • NA: November 15, 1993
  • JP: November 21, 1994
  • EU: Q4, 1994
  • JP: November 22, 1994
  • NA: May 11, 1995
  • EU: July 8, 1995
3 December 1994
  • JP: June 23, 1996
  • NA: September 29, 1996
  • EU: March 1, 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[4] Gran Turismo, 10.85 million shipped (as of April 30, 2008)[5][6] Super Mario 64, 11.62 million (as of May 21, 2003)[7][8]
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)
System sales (worldwide)

2 million


9.4 million

102 million

32.93 million

Other consoles[change | change source]

Name FM Towns Marty Pioneer LaserActive Amiga CD32 Neo Geo CD PC-FX Apple Bandai Pippin
Developer Fujitsu Pioneer Commodore SNK NEC Apple
Launch prices US$450 ¥89,800, US$970 US$500 US$300 US$250 US$599
Release date
  • JP: February 20, 1993
  • JP: August 20, 1993
  • NA: September 13, 1993
  • NA: September 16, 1993
  • JP: September 9, 1994
  • EU: December 3, 1994
  • AU: December 23, 1994
  • NA: January 15, 1996
Media CD-ROM, 3½-inch floppy disk Laserdisc CD-ROM CD-ROM CD-ROM CD-ROM
Non-mass-market systems

Worldwide sales[change | change source]

Console Units sold
PlayStation 102.49 million shipped (as of March 31, 2007)[9]
Nintendo 64 32.93 million (as of March 31, 2005)[10]
Sega Saturn 9.4 million (as of May 4, 2007)[2]
3DO 2 million (as of May 4, 2007)[2]
Atari Jaguar 500,000 (as of May 15, 2007)[11]
Amiga CD32 100,000
PC-FX <100,000
Apple Bandai Pippin 42,000 (as of May 4, 2007)[12]

Handheld systems[change | change source]

Milestone titles[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "System List". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Blake Snow (2007-05-04). "The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time". GamePro.com. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  3. Welsh, Oli (2017-02-24). "A complete history of Nintendo console launches". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2020-01-11.
  4. "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-11-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. "Gran Turismo Series Shipment Exceeds 50 Million Units Worldwide" (Press release). Sony Computer Entertainment. 2008-05-09. Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  6. ""Gran Turismo" Series Software Title List". Polyphony Digital. April 2008. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  7. "Mario sales data". GameCubicle.com. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  8. "All Time Top 20 Best Selling Games". 2003-05-21. Archived from the original on 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  9. "PlayStation Cumulative Production Shipments of Hardware". Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  10. "05 Nintendo Annual Report - Nintendo Co., Ltd" (PDF). Nintendo Co., Ltd. 2005-05-26. p. 33. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  11. Greg Orlando (2007-05-15). "Console Portraits: A 40-Year Pictorial History of Gaming". Wired News. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Blake Snow (2007-05-04). "The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time". GamePro.com. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  13. "Nintendo Adds Color to Its "Rainbow" of Products With New Game Boy Color Titles". Business Wire. October 12, 1998. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  14. "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2008-11-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  15. "IGN Top 100 Games, #001-010 (2005)". IGN. Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  16. "IGN Top 100 Games, #4 (2007)". IGN. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  17. "NP Top 200", Nintendo Power 200: 58–66, February 2006.
  18. "The Greatest 200 Games of Their Time", Electronic Gaming Monthly 200: February 2006.
  19. "All-Time Best Rankings". GameRankings. Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  20. "Top 100 Games of All Time", Game Informer 36. August 2001.
  21. Perfect Dark for Nintendo 64 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More - Metacritic
  22. Perfect Dark - Nintendo 64 - IGN
  23. Perfect Dark XBLA Review - IGN
  24. "Record-Breaking Lara Croft Battles her Way Into New Guinness World Records", MCV. January 21, 2010.