Read about the following companies:     Nintendo     Sega     Sony    


Nintendo began at the turn of the century as a small playing card distribution company in Japan. Nintendo, which became the actual company name in 1951, began to gain interest in the domestic market in the late seventies. In 1978, the company created and started selling coin-operated video games using microcomputers. In 1981, Donkey Kong was released and quickly became a market force. In 1985, Nintendo released its first home video game console in the United States. The system, titled the Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was packaged with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. Mario and Luigi, the stars of Super Mario Bros, became instant company icons for Nintendo along with the existing Donkey Kong character. The NES became the number one selling toy in America in 1987 largely in part to the hugely successful game, The Legend of Zelda, which was the first video game to exceed one million units in sales. In 1989, Nintendo Power was published for the first time. This magazine, created by Nintendo of America, was one of the first publications devoted solely to the playing of video games. Also in '89, the Game Boy was released. This handheld 4-bit machine has gone on to be the best selling video game console in the business. By 1992 Nintendo was finally prepared to release its next generation system entitled the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The SNES was a 16-bit system as opposed to the 8-bit NES therefore able to produce stronger graphics. In 1993 Star Fox was released using the Super FX Chip. This game was the first to use polygonal graphics in the home market. Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM) was used for the first time in 1995 to create Donkey Kong Country. This was another market first for Nintendo. The Nintendo 64 was released in 1996 as the first and only 64-bit console on the market. In the past few years this system has been competitive with Sony's PlayStation in pushing the envelope to create better software for consumers. Nintendo is also responsible for the Pokemon phenomenon. Pokemon is questionably the most sought after holiday gift for kids this season. Nintendo is in the process of creating another next generation console, codenamed Dolphin.



Sega Enterprises jumped into the marked in 1986 just after Nintendo had released the NES. Sega's first home gaming system was called the Sega Master System. Like the NES, the Master System was an 8-bit cartridge based system. This system was not nearly as successful as the NES, but Sega was having its way with the coin-operated arcade market. This helped give the company confidence to continue trying towards the home market. In response to Nintendo's success with the NES, Sega released the 16-bit Genesis. This system began to gain market share and turned out to be a very successful system. Sonic the Hedgehog became the icon game for the company. The fast paced action/adventure game captured the intrigue that the company had been looking for. In 1990, Sega Game Gear was released. This was one year following the highly acclaimed Nintendo Game Boy. The differences between the two handhelds were numerous. First the Game Boy was a 4-bit system whereas the Game Gear was 8-bit. Secondly, the Game Gear had a color screen as opposed to the Game Boy's grayscale. Finally, and this is what killed the Game Gear, there was the price difference. Game Gear cost the consumer twice as much and Nintendo was making better games. Games make a system no matter how much better the specifications are. Game Gear was doomed from the start. Sega was continuing to ride on the success of Genesis even though Game Gear was not flourishing. Not until 1991 did the company really start to experience competition against Genesis when the SNES was released. Nintendo and Sega battled on the 16-bit platform until 1994 when the 32X accessory came to market. This began the unraveling of Sega's place in the industry. 32X cost consumers $150. There were only fifteen to twenty games made for the system. The games were excessive in cost also. This was a peripheral Sega obviously expected to profit from and did not. Trying desperately to get back into the market, Sega released the Saturn. This was a 32-bit CD-Rom based system. Due to the lack of quality game developers, Saturn also struggled. Once the PlayStation was released later in 1995 and the Nintendo 64 in 1996, nobody was really buying Saturn. It was just not worth the money. Sega is finally back headed in the right direction though. This past fall, Dreamcast has come to market. This 128-bit system boasts spectacular game play and a growing base of quality titles. With Sony and Nintendo waiting to release new consoles until 2000 or 2001, Sega should be able to gain some market share back.



Sony Entertainment did not get involved in video games until the early 1990's. Originally, Nintendo was trying to make a CD-Rom peripheral for the SNES. Nintendo had licensed Sony to make the hardware for them. Eventually Nintendo decided to scrap the idea because load speeds were longer on a CD based system than on a cartridge-based system and they did not think that consumers wanted to put up with that. Having been scrubbed by Nintendo, Sony decided to enter the market anyway. The CD system that was under development became what is now known as the PlayStation. This system is the second most bought system to the Game Boy by ten millions units. The Game Boy has been out six years longer. Sony definitely controls the market at the time being. The games that are being developed for the system are more entertaining than on other systems. Games such as Crash Bandicoot cater to a younger audience while still attracting the old. This is also the case with the Tomb Raider series. The series is marketed to an older crowd but is still enjoyed by a younger audience because the game is entertaining. Sony is poised to release their next generation system, PlayStation2, in less than a year.