Eighth generation of video game consoles
In the history of video games, the eighth generation of consoles is the current generation. It includes those consoles released since 2012 by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. For home video game consoles, the eighth generation began on November 18, 2012, with the release of the Wii U, and continued with the release of the PlayStation 4 on November 15, 2013, and the Xbox One on November 22, 2013. The Wii U was the first home console of this generation to be discontinued, on January 31, 2017, to make way for Nintendo's second home console competitor, the Switch, released on March 3, 2017. These video game consoles follow their seventh generation predecessors from the same three companies: Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Microsoft's Xbox 360. Throughout the generation, Sony and Microsoft continued to release hardware upgrades to their flagship consoles. In August 2016 and September 2016, Microsoft and Sony respectively both released "slim" revisions of their consoles, the Xbox One S and the PlayStation 4 Slim. The Xbox One S notably added support for HDR video and Ultra HD Blu-ray, while Sony released a software update to add HDR to all existing PlayStation 4 consoles; the PlayStation 4 Slim does not support UHD Blu-ray. Following this was an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4, the PlayStation 4 Pro, which was released later in November 2016; meanwhile Microsoft also announced an upgraded version of the Xbox One in 2016 under the name Project Scorpio. This would become the Xbox One X, released a year later in November 2017. Both of these consoles were aimed at providing upgraded hardware to support rendering games at up to 4K resolution.
In contrast to Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo began to phase out the Wii U in favor of a completely new hardware platform announced in April 2016 as NX. This would become the Nintendo Switch, released in March 2017. Being a hybrid between a handheld and a standalone console, it is a tablet-sized unit built-in display that has detachable wireless controllers and can be placed in a docking station for use with a television. The Switch was highly successful in its first year of sales especially in comparison to its predecessor, the Wii U. In its first year, the Switch sold 3.2 million units in Japan, breaking the yearly record set by the PlayStation 2, and it had already completely outsold the Wii U by January 2018. Based on 4.8 million units sold in the United States by the end of 2017 (with 1.5 million sold in December 2017 alone), Nintendo officially declared that the Switch had outpaced the seventh-generation Wii as the fastest-selling home video game console of all time in the United States.
For handheld game consoles, the eighth generation began in February 2011 with the Japanese release of the Nintendo 3DS, the successor to the Nintendo DS. Nintendo has released additional variants in the 3DS family, such as the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 2DS XL. The successor to last generation's PlayStation Portable (PSP), the PlayStation Vita, was released in Japan in December 2011, and then to Western markets in February 2012. The non-handheld variant of the PlayStation Vita, the PlayStation TV, was released in Japan in November 2013, North America in October 2014, and Europe and Australia in November 2014. The PlayStation Vita was the first handheld system of this generation to be discontinued, on March 1, 2019.
Unlike in most prior generations, there were few new innovative hardware capabilities to mark this generation as distinct from prior ones, instead each of the major manufacturers (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) produced new systems with similar designs and capabilities as their predecessors, but with increased performance (speed, graphics, storage capacity, etc.) Even the major innovation of the seventh generation, motion capture gaming, was mostly abandoned as systems returned to traditional button-based controls, as exemplified by Nintendo abandoning the motion-capture-based Wii-U for the traditional button-and-joystick-based Switch. Virtual reality gaming hit the home console market in the middle of the generation with Sony releasing the PlayStation VR, a virtual reality headset compatible with all PlayStation 4, in October 2016. Sales remained modest, with only 4% of PS4 owners purchasing one. Microsoft originally planned to support VR games on the Xbox One X, but despite this, Microsoft never realized a VR platform for the Xbox. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, stated in June 2017 that VR technology was "a few years away from something that will really work” and that Microsoft would instead be focusing their investments on Windows. Unique to the Switch is Nintendo's Labo system, released in April 2018. The Labo is a hybrid construction toy and video game system that allows users to create their own game-specific controllers, such as fishing poles and steering wheels. On April 12, 2019, Nintendo launched a Labo VR kit.
The eighth generation is expected to transition to the ninth in 2020, as both Sony and Microsoft have stated plans to release the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X by then; in both cases, the companies have assured that backwards compatibility with the eighth generation console is a high priority to make the transition a soft one.
This generation was predicted to face competition from smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. In 2013, gaming revenue on Android overtook portable game console revenue, while remaining a distant second to iOS gaming revenue. In fiscal year (FY) 2013 (ending early 2013), Nintendo sold 23.7 million consoles, while Apple sold 58.2 million iPads in FY 2012 (ending late 2012). One particular threat to the traditional console game sales model has been the free-to-play model, wherein most users play free, and either a small number of dedicated players spend enough to cover the rest, or the game is supported by advertising.
The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U all use AMD GPUs, and two of them (PS4 and XBO) also use AMD CPUs on an x86-64 architecture, similar to common personal computers (as opposed to the IBM PowerPC Architecture used in the previous generation). Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony were not aware that they were all using AMD hardware until their consoles were announced. This shift was considered to be beneficial for multi-platform development, due to the increased similarities between PC hardware and console hardware. It also provided a boost in market share for AMD (which had faced increased competition from Intel in the PC market).
Various microconsoles (which are smaller and mostly Android-based) have been released since 2012, although they are seldom referred to as being part of the eighth (or any) generation of video game consoles. These microconsoles have included the Ouya, Nvidia Shield Console, Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation TV, MOJO, Razer Switchblade, GamePop, GameStick, and PC-based Steam Machine consoles. A number of microconsles that were modeled as scaled-down versions of consoles from previous generations, running a selection of games from that console, were also released. These included the NES Classic Edition, the SNES Classic Edition, the PlayStation Classic, the Sega Genesis Mini, and the Atari VCS.
Cloud gaming options for the consoles also were developed in the eighth generation. PlayStation Now enables cloud gaming of PlayStation 2, 3, and 4 games to current PlayStation consoles and personal computers. Microsoft began developing a comparable service xCloud for Xbox and Windows games. Google released Stadia, a dedicated cloud gaming platform designed around reduced latency and advanced features not typical of these other cloud gaming options.
Though prior console generations have normally occurred in five to six-year cycles, the transition from seventh to eighth generation lasted approximately eight years. The transition is also unusual in that the prior generation's best-selling unit, the Wii, was the first to be replaced in the eighth generation. In 2011, Microsoft had stated they began looking at their next console, but they, along with Sony, considered themselves only halfway through a ten-year lifecycle for their seventh-generation offerings. Sony and Microsoft representatives have stated that the addition of motion controllers and camera-based controllers like Xbox's Kinect and PlayStation Move have extended these systems' lifetimes. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had stated that his company would be releasing the Wii U due to declining sales of seventh generation home consoles and that "the market is now waiting for a new proposal for home consoles". Sony considered making its next console a digital download only machine, but decided against it due to concerns about the inconsistency of internet speeds available globally, especially in developing countries.
Both Microsoft and Sony have announced plans for their next-generation consoles, Project Scarlett and PlayStation 5, respectively, to be released in 2020. Both companies have emphasized that they want this to be a soft transition, allowing Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games to be directly backwards compatable on their respective systems.
The eighth generation of consoles also saw a re-entry of manufacturers into the Chinese market. Since 2000, the Chinese government had banned the sale and distribution of video game consoles, citing concerns on their effect on youth. The ban led console gaming to a niche sector, including a black market for the purchase of these consoles, while also causing personal computing gaming to take off within China, including the spread of Internet cafes and PC bangs. This ban lasted through January 2014, where the Chinese government first opened up to allow the sale of consoles in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone (FTZ). By July 2015, the ban on video game consoles was wholly lifted. Access to the Chinese video game market is lucrative, having an estimated 500 million potential players and representing over US$24 billion in revenues as of 2016.
Microsoft and Sony quickly took advantage of the lifting of the ban, announcing sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms within the FTZ shortly after the 2014 announcement. Microsoft established a partnership with BesTV New Media Co, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media Group, to sell Xbox One units in China, with units first shipping by September 2014. Sony worked with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Media in May 2014 to establish manufacturing in the FTZ, with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita shipping into China by March 2015. CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House explained in September 2013 that the company intended to use the PlayStation Vita TV as a low-cost alternative for consumers in an attempt to penetrate the Chinese gaming market.
Nintendo did not initially seek to bring the Wii U into China; Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime stated that China was of interest to the company after the ban was lifted, but considered that there were similar difficulties with establishing sales there as they had recently had with Brazil. Later, Nintendo had teamed up with Tencent by April 2019 to help sell and distribute the Nintendo Switch as well as aid its games through the Chinese government approval process led by National Radio and Television Administration.
In November 2010, Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime stated that the release of the next generation of Nintendo would be determined by the continued success of the Wii. Nintendo announced their successor to the Wii, the Wii U, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 on June 7, 2011. After the announcement, several journalists classified the system as the first eighth generation home console. However, prominent sources have disputed this because of its comparative lack of power and older disc media type with respect to the announced specifications for PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
The Wii U's main controller, the Wii U GamePad, features an embedded touchscreen that can work as an auxiliary interactive screen in a fashion similar to the Nintendo DS/3DS, or if compatible with "Off TV Play", can even act as the main screen itself, enabling games to be played without the need of a television. The Wii U is compatible with its predecessor's peripherals, such as the Wii Remote Plus, the Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board.
The Wii U was released in North America on November 18, 2012, in Europe on November 30, 2012, and in Japan on December 8, 2012. It came in two versions, the Basic Model and the Deluxe/Premium Model, at the price of $300 and $349 US Dollars, respectively. On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced the production of the Basic model has ended and expected supplies to be exhausted by September 20, 2013. On October 4, 2013, the Deluxe/Premium model was price cut from US$349 to US$300.
The Wii U had lifetime sales of about 13 million, in sharp contrast with the Wii, which had over 100 million over its life. This financially hurt Nintendo, with several financial quarters running at a loss through 2014. Nintendo had anticipated the Wii U would sell similarly to the Wii. Nintendo officially discontinued the Wii U on January 31, 2017, about a month before the release of the Nintendo Switch.
On February 20, 2013, Sony announced the PlayStation 4 during a press conference in New York City, and it was released on November 15, 2013, in North America. The new console places a heavy emphasis on features surrounding social interaction; gameplay videos can be shared via the PlayStation Network and other services, and users can stream games being played by themselves or others (either through the console, or directly to services such as Twitch). The PS4's DualShock 4 controller is similar to the previous model, but adds a touchpad and a "Share" button, along with an LED light bar on the front to allow motion tracking. An updated camera accessory will also be offered for the system; it now uses 1280×800px stereo cameras with support for depth sensing similar to Kinect, and remains compatible with the PlayStation Move peripherals. The PS4 will also have second screen capabilities through both mobile apps and the PlayStation Vita, and game streaming through the recently acquired Gaikai service.
The PlayStation 4 was released on November 15, 2013, in North America and November 29, 2013, in Australia and Europe at US$399.99, A$549 and €399 respectively.
On May 21, 2013, Microsoft announced the Xbox One at an event in Redmond, Washington. The console has an increased focus on entertainment, including the ability to pass television programming from a set-top box over HDMI and use a built-in electronic program guide, and the ability to multitask by snapping applications (such as Skype and Internet Explorer) to the side of the screen, similarly to Windows 8. The Xbox One features a new controller with "Impulse Triggers" that provide force feedback, and the ability to automatically record and save highlights from gameplay. An updated version of Kinect was developed for Xbox One, with a 1080p camera and expanded voice controls. Originally bundled with the console, it has since been downplayed and excluded from later bundles.
The Xbox One was released in North America, Europe, and Australia on November 22, 2013, at a launch price of US$499.99, €499 and A$599 respectively with Japan, and was later released in 26 other markets in 2014. It had two mid-generation upgrades, one released in 2016 called the Xbox One S, and the other called the Xbox One X. The S was the cheaper option, but did not power 4K gaming like the X.
Due to the poor sales of the Wii U, along with competition from mobile gaming, then-president Satoru Iwata sought to revitalize the company by creating a new strategy for Nintendo that included embracing mobile gaming, and developing new hardware that would be attractive to a wider range of audiences. The hardware product was announced under the codename NX in a press conference held with DeNA on March 17, 2015, and fully revealed as the Nintendo Switch on October 20, 2016. The unit was released worldwide on March 3, 2017.
The Switch is considered by Nintendo a home console that has multiple ways to play. The main unit, the Console, is a tablet-sized device with a touch-sensitive screen. It can be inserted into a Docking Station which allows games to be played on a connected television. Alternatively, two Joy-Con, motion-sensitive controllers comparable to the Wii Remotes, can be slotted onto the sides of the Console so the unit can be played as a handheld. Further, the Console can be set on a kickstand, allowing multiple players to see the screen and play games with separate Joy-Con. Additionally, Nintendo built the Switch on standard industry components, allowing for ease of porting games onto the system using standard software libraries and game engines rather than Nintendo's proprietary approaches. This enabled them to bring several third-party and independent game developers on board prior to launch to assure a strong software library.
The Switch was met with critical praise and commercial success. Nintendo had anticipated selling about 10 million Switches in the first year of release but ended up exceeding this projection with total first-year sales of over 17 million units, exceeding the Wii U's lifetime sales. In late 2017, the Nintendo Switch was the fastest selling console in US history, and in November 2018 it was the fastest selling of all the 8th generation consoles in the US.
A hardware revision, the Switch Lite, was announced for release in September 2019. The unit integrates the Joy-Con onto the main console with a smaller form-factor, making the unit strictly handheld rather than a hybrid system. Further details are described below under Handhelds.
|Product Line||Wii U||Nintendo Switch||PlayStation 4||Xbox One|
|Name||PlayStation 4||PlayStation 4 Slim||PlayStation 4 Pro||Xbox One||Xbox One S||Xbox One X|
|A white Wii U console and GamePad||A Nintendo Switch console in docked mode with Joy-Con controllers in grip||A PlayStation 4 console and DualShock 4 controller||A PlayStation 4 Slim console||A PlayStation 4 Pro console||An Xbox One console, controller and Kinect sensor||An Xbox One S console and controller||An Xbox One X console|
|Launch prices||US$||US$299.99 (equivalent to $327.38 in 2018)[a]||US$299.99 (equivalent to $306.63 in 2018)||US$399.99 (equivalent to $430.22 in 2018)||US$299.00 (equivalent to $312.14 in 2018)||US$399.00 (equivalent to $416.54 in 2018)||US$499.99 (equivalent to $537.77 in 2018)||US$299.00 (equivalent to $312.14 in 2018)||US$499.99 (equivalent to $511.05 in 2018)|
|€||Set by retailers||€399.00||€499|
|GB£||Set by retailers||GB£279.99 (equivalent to £289.34 in 2018)||GB£349.00 (equivalent to £392.89 in 2018)||GB£345.00 (equivalent to £369.26 in 2018)||GB£429.00 (equivalent to £482.95 in 2018)|
|JP¥||¥26,250 (equivalent to ¥27,672 in 2019)||¥29,980 (equivalent to ¥30,443 in 2019)||¥41,979 (equivalent to ¥43,857 in 2019)|
|Current prices||Discontinued||Same as launch prices||Same as launch prices||Same as launch prices||Launch Model
Same as launch prices
1TB Model (without Kinect)
|Same as launch prices||Same as launch prices|
|Discontinued||January 31, 2017||In production||September 15, 2016||In production||August 25, 2017||In production|
|Sales||Shipped||13.56 million (as of December 31, 2018[update])||41.67 million (as of September 30, 2019[update])||100 million (as of July 30, 2019[update])||10.00 million (as of December 2014[update])[b]|
|Sold||Not reported||Not reported||100 million (estimated as of July 30, 2019[update])||46.9 million (estimated as of June 30, 2019[update])|
|Best-selling game||Mario Kart 8, 8.42 million (as of September 30, 2018[update])||Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 16.69 million (as of March 31, 2019[update])||Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, 15.00 million (As of March 31, 2019[update])||PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, 8.00 million (as of July 2018[update])|
|List of best-selling Wii U video games||List of best-selling Nintendo Switch video games||List of best-selling PlayStation 4 video games||List of best-selling Xbox One video games|
|Media||Distribution||Nintendo Switch game card (1-32 GB)||Blu-ray (25/50 GB) (6x CAV)||Blu-ray (25/50 GB)|
|Other||Wii Optical Disc (4.7/8.5 GB) (6x CAV)||N/A||Blu-ray, DVD||Blu-ray, DVD, CD||Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, CD|
|CPU||Type||Tri-Core IBM PowerPC Espresso||Quad-core ARM Cortex-A57, quad-core ARM Cortex-A53[c]||Octa-core AMD Jaguar-based[c]||Octa-core AMD Jaguar-based[c]||Octa-core AMD Jaguar-based[c]||Octa-core AMD Jaguar-based[c]|
|Clock speed||1.24 GHz||1.02 GHz||1.60 GHz||2.13 GHz||1.75 GHz||2.30 GHz|
|L1 cache||192 kB[d]||576 kB[e]||512 kB[d]||512 kB[d]|
|L2 cache||3 MB[f]||2.5 MB[g]||4 MB[h]||4 MB[h]|
|L3 cache||32 MB eDRAM @ 550 MHz (256 GB/s)[i]||N/A||N/A||32 MB eSRAM @ 853 MHz (204 GB/s)[j]||32 MB eSRAM @ 914 MHz (219 GB/s)[j]||N/A|
|3 MB eSRAM[k]|
|Process||45 nm||20 nm||28 nm||16 nm||28 nm||16 nm||16 nm|
|Secondary||ARM9 processor (for background tasks)||N/A||ARM processor (for background tasks)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|GPU||Type||AMD Radeon-based "Latte"||Nvidia GM20B Maxwell-based||AMD Radeon-based "Liverpool"||AMD Radeon-based "Neo"||AMD Radeon-based "Durango"||AMD Radeon-based "Durango 2"||AMD Radeon-based "Scorpio Engine"|
|Clock speed||550 MHz ||307.2-768 MHz[l]||800 MHz||911 MHz||853 MHz||914 MHz||1,172 MHz|
|Texture rate||8.8 GTexel/s||4.9-12.3 GTexel/s||57.6 GTexel/s||131.2 GTexel/s||40.9 GTexel/s||43.8 GTexel/s||187.5 GTexel/s|
|Pixel rate||4.4 GPixel/s||4.9-12.3 GPixel/s||25.6 GPixel/s||58.30 GPixel/s||13.6 GPixel/s||14.6 GPixel/s||37.5 GPixel/s|
|Process||40 nm||20 nm||28 nm||16 nm||28 nm||16 nm|
|Memory||Main||2 GB DDR3 SDRAM||4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM||8 GB GDDR5 SDRAM||8 GB GDDR5 SDRAM||8 GB DDR3 SDRAM||12 GB GDDR5 SDRAM|
|Clock speed||800 MHz (1600 MHz effective)||1600 MHz (3200 MHz effective)||1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective)||1700 MHz (6800 MHz effective)||1066.5 MHz (2133 MHz effective)||1700 MHz (6800 MHz effective)|
|Bandwidth||12.8 GB/s||25.6 GB/s||176.0 GB/s||217.6 GB/s||68.3 GB/s||326.4 GB/s|
|Reserved||1 GB||1 GB||3.5 GB||3 GB|
|Secondary||N/A||N/A||256 MB DDR3 RAM||1 GB DDR3 RAM||N/A|
|Storage||Internal||8 GB/32 GB eMMC flash memory (non-replaceable)
1 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
|32 GB eMMC NAND flash memory (non-replaceable)||500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD (user replaceable)||1 TB HDD (user replaceable)||500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD (non-replaceable)
8 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
|500 GB HDD, 1 TB HDD, 2 TB HDD (non-replaceable)
8 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
|1 TB HDD, (non-replaceable)|
8 GB flash memory (reserved for the OS)
|External||Supports up to 32 GB SDHC cards
Supports up to 2 TB USB HDD (Wii U Mode only)
|Supports microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC up to 2 TB||Supports USB HDD over 240GB up to 8 TB (with System Software 4.50)||Supports USB 3.0 HDD larger than 256 GB up to 16 TB|
|Game Installation||Only downloaded games can be installed to storage||Downloaded games can be installed to internal memory or SD card||All games must be installed to a connected HDD||All games must be installed to a connected HDD|
|Network||Wireless||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi @ 2.4 and 5.0 GHz||802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi||802.11a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz||802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz|
|Wired||Fast Ethernet[n]||Fast Ethernet[o]||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Dimensions||When lying down on its side:
Width: 172 mm (6.7 in)
Height: 46 mm (1.8 in)
Length: 268.5 mm (10.5 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|Console laying flat:
Width: 102 mm (4.0 in)
Height: 13.9 mm (0.55 in)
Length: 203.1 mm (8.00 in) (Console only)
239 mm (9.4 in) (Joy-Con attached)
(must be oriented vertically)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 275 mm (10.8 in)
Height: 53 mm (2.0 in)
Length: 305 mm (12.0 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 265 mm (10.4 in)
Height: 39 mm (1.5 in)
Length: 288 mm (11.3 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 295 mm (11.6 in)
Height: 55 mm (2.2 in)
Length: 327 mm (12.9 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 309 mm (12.1 in)
Height: 83 mm (3.2 in)
Length: 258 mm (10.1 in)
(must be oriented horizontally)
|When lying down on its side:
Width: 295 mm (11.6 in)
Height: 64 mm (2.5 in)
Length: 227 mm (8.9 in)
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|When lying down on its side:|
Width: 300 mm
Height: 60 mm
Length: 240 mm
(can be oriented vertically using a stand)
|Weight||1.5 kg (3.3 lb)||0.297 kg (0.65 lb) (Console only)
0.398 kg (0.88 lb) (Joy-Con attached)
|2.8 kg (6.2 lb)||2.1 kg (4.6 lb)||3.3 kg (7.3 lb)||3.2 kg (7.1 lb)||2.9 kg (6.4 lb)||3.8 kg (8.4 lb)|
|Power||75 W (external power supply)||4,310 mAh, 3.7 V lithium-ion battery||Max. 223 W (internal power supply)||Max. 163 W (internal power supply)||Max. 289 W (internal power supply) (PSU)
Max. 310 W (internal power supply) (Product Page)
|Max. 220 W (external power supply)||Max. 125 W (internal power supply)||Max. 245 W (internal power supply) |
Deluxe/Premium Model only
|Video||Output||1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p
576i, 480i (standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen)
1080p, 720p and 480p (docked)
|1080p, 1080i, 720p, and 480p
||4K 2160p, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, and 480p
||1080p, 720p, and 480p
|Integrated 3DTV support||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Second screen||Wii U GamePad (bundled with console)||N/A||PlayStation Vita
PlayStation App on iOS and Android devices
|Xbox Console Companion on Android, iOS, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Phone|
|Remote||Local game streaming via Off-TV Play to Wii U GamePad for some games||N/A||Local and remote game streaming via Remote Play to PS Vita, macOS and Windows, or selected Sony Xperia smartphone for all games,
except those that require the PS Camera or PS Move
|Local game streaming via Xbox App to Windows 10 PC|
|Touch capability||Wii U GamePad includes an integrated resistive touchscreen||Console includes multi-touch capacitive touchscreen||DualShock 4 controller includes an integrated 2 point capacitive touchpad||N/A|
|Camera||Wii U GamePad camera (bundled with all consoles)||N/A||PlayStation Camera||Kinect||Kinect (adapter required to use)|
|Online services||Nintendo Network||Nintendo Switch Online||PlayStation Network||Xbox Live|
|Downloads games and automatic updates in the background via SpotPass||Downloads automatic updates in the background||Downloads games and automatic updates in the background||Downloads games and automatic updates in the background|
|Free||Paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription required for online multiplayer, except for free-to-play titles||Paid PlayStation Plus subscription required for online multiplayer, except for free-to-play titles||Paid Xbox Live Gold subscription required for online multiplayer and party chat|
|Game DVR||Image||Screenshots with Miiverse integration (can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Tumblr)||Screenshots with Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr integration||Screenshots with Twitter integration||Screenshots with Twitter integration|
|Video||Gameplay replays with YouTube integration (select games only)||Up to 30 seconds of gameplay with Facebook and Twitter integration||Up to 1 hour of gameplay with Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube integration; 720p for all PS4 models, 1080p for PS4 Pro||Up to 5 minutes of gameplay; 1080p for all Xbox One models, 4K for Xbox One X (external storage required)|
|Live streaming||N/A||N/A||Live streaming with Dailymotion, Twitch, Ustream and YouTube Gaming integration||Live streaming with Mixer and Twitch integration|
|Free||Free||Free||Paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold required|
|Regional lockout||Region locked||Unrestricted||Unrestricted||Unrestricted|
|List of games||List of Wii U games||List of Nintendo Switch games||List of PlayStation 4 games||List of Xbox One games|
|System software||Wii U system software||Nintendo Switch system software||PlayStation 4 system software||Xbox One system software|
|Updates||Updates are downloaded and installed automatically in Standby Mode||Automatic updates can be enabled by turning on Automatic Software Updates in System Settings||Updates are downloaded and installed automatically in Rest Mode||Updates are downloaded and installed automatically in Instant-on Mode|
- Deluxe/Premium Model: US$349.99, GB£ and € set by retailers, A$428.00, ¥31,500
- As of fall 2015, Microsoft does not report the number of shipped Xbox One units.
- The central processing unit is composed of two quad-core modules.
- 64 kB per core (32 kB for instructions and 32 kB for data).
- The quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 cluster has a total of 320 kB of L1 cache, distributed by 80 kB per each core (48 kB for instructions and 32 kB for data). The quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 cluster has a total of 256 kB of L1 cache, distributed by 64 kB per each core (32 kB for instructions and 32 kB for data).
- Cores 0 and 2 have 512 kB of L2 cache each, while core 1 has 2 MB.
- The quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 cluster has 2 MB of shared L2 cache. The quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 cluster has 512 kB of shared L2 cache.
- 2 MB of L2 cache per quad-core module.
- The 32 MB eDRAM module is located off the central processing unit (CPU) die and is in the graphics processing unit (GPU), running at the GPU's clock speed.
- The 32 MB eSRAM module is located off the central processing unit (CPU) die and is in the graphics processing unit (GPU), running at the GPU's clock speed.
- Reserved for Wii backwards compatibility.
- When docked, the graphics processing unit (GPU) can run at from 307.2 to 768 MHz (capable of 0.157 to 0.393 TFLOP/s, respectively). When undocked, the GPU can run at from 307.2 to 460 MHz (capable of 0.157 to 0.236 TFLOP/s, respectively).
- Reserved for connecting with the Wii U GamePad.
- A LAN adapter accessory is required.
- A LAN adapter accessory is required.
- Supports Wii software on disc and downloaded from Wii Shop Channel. Games from previous generations available for digital purchase and download via Virtual Console on Nintendo eShop.
- Select games from previous generations are available for digital purchase and download on Nintendo's eShop. This is limited to games published by third parties, or specifically ported to the Nintendo Switch. No Virtual Console system exists, and no legacy games purchased on previous consoles may be transferred to the Nintendo Switch, as they could be from the Wii to the Wii U.
- PlayStation Now cloud support for selected PlayStation 3 games began in January 2015 for North America. Subscription required.
- Select Xbox 360 and Xbox games; Requires download of digital version of game at no additional charge to existing owners of the game.
A trend starting from the eighth generation of handheld systems is that the general shift from dedicated handheld gaming consoles to mobile gaming on smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets. As such, smart devices have eroded sales of dedicated handheld gaming consoles, with analysts predicting that smart devices will replace handheld gaming consoles in the near future.
The Nintendo 3DS is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Nintendo DS. The autostereoscopic device is able to project stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software. Announcing the device in March 2010, Nintendo officially unveiled it at E3 2010, with the company inviting attendees to use demonstration units. The console succeeds the Nintendo DS series of handheld systems, which primarily competes with PlayStation Portable. It competes with Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Vita.
The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011; in Europe on March 25, 2011; in North America on March 27, 2011; and in Australia on March 31, 2011. On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a major price drop starting August 12. In addition, as of September 2011 consumers who bought the system at its original price have access to ten Nintendo Entertainment System games before they are available to the general public, after which the games may be updated to the versions publicly released on the Nintendo eShop. In December 2011, ten Game Boy Advance games were made available to consumers who bought the system at its original price at no charge, with Nintendo stating it has no plans to release to the general public.
On June 21, 2012, Nintendo announced a new, bigger model of the 3DS called the Nintendo 3DS XL. It has 90% larger screens than the 3DS and slightly longer battery life. It was released on July 28, 2012, in Europe and August 19, 2012, in North America as well as Australasia on August 23, 2012, and Brazil on September 1, 2012.
On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced a low cost, 2D version of the 3DS called the Nintendo 2DS. This redesign plays all Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS games, albeit without a sterescopic 3D option. Unlike previous machines of the DS family, the Nintendo 2DS uses a slate-like design instead of a clamshell one. The console launched on October 12 in both Europe and North America as well as Australasia.
On August 29, 2014, Nintendo announced an enhanced revision of the 3DS called the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL. The newer system uses microSD cards rather than full-sized and has a second analog "nub" input, the C-stick, Super-Stable 3D™ (face-tracking technology that allows the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D display to constantly adapt to the user's exact eye position as the player shifts his or her arms and body) and an upgraded processor that allows for more advanced NN3DS-exclusive games (e.g., a 3D port of acclaimed Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles) which cannot be played on the original Nintendo 3DS/2DS, although New Nintendo 3DS can still be played with all 3DS and most DS/i games. It was released in Japan on October 11, 2014; in Australasia on November 21, 2014; in Europe on February 13, 2015; in North America on February 13, 2015, for the XL version. The smaller version for North America was released on September 25, 2015 bundled with the game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. In April 2017, Nintendo announced the New Nintendo 2DS XL, released in Japan on July 13, 2017, and in North America on July 28, 2017. It is a streamlined version of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, with identical screen sizes, but with a thinner build and without stereoscopic 3D.
PlayStation Vita is the second handheld game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan on December 17, 2011 and was released in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012.
The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED/LCD multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the PS Vita features a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4 core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.
The device is backward-compatible with a subset of the PlayStation Portable and PS One games digitally released on the PlayStation Network via the PlayStation Store. The graphics for PSP releases are up-scaled, with a smoothing filter to reduce pixelation.
Nintendo Switch LiteEdit
Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch Lite, a hardware revision of the Switch, on September 20, 2019 worldwide. Designed as a less expensive version of the Switch, the Switch Lite integrates the Joy-Con onto the hardware unit itself, eliminating some of the Joy-Con's features, which prevents a small number of games in the Switch's library that exclusively require television or tabletop modes from being used on the Switch. Additionally, the Switch Lite cannot be docked. The unit is smaller and lighter than the main Switch console, and uses updated lower-powered hardware that improves its battery performance. It otherwise supports all other features of the Switch, including its communication capabilities.
|Product Line||Nintendo 3DS||Nintendo Switch||PlayStation Vita|
|Name||Nintendo 3DS||Nintendo 3DS XL||Nintendo 2DS||New Nintendo 3DS||New Nintendo 3DS XL||New Nintendo 2DS XL||Nintendo Switch Lite||PS Vita
|Current prices||Wi-Fi / Wi-Fi+3G|
|Discontinued||January 5, 2015||January 5, 2015||In production||July 14, 2017||July 25, 2019||In production||In production||March 1, 2019||March 1, 2019|
|Units shipped||75.45 million (as of September 30, 2019[update])||1.95 million (as of September 30, 2019[update])||4 million (as of January 4, 2013[update])|
|Best-selling game||Mario Kart 7, 18.47 million units (as of September 30, 2019[update])
||Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 19.01 million units (as of September 30, 2019[update])||Uncharted: Golden Abyss, 500,000 units (as of June 3, 2012[update])|
|5.5 in (140 mm) LCD capacitive touchscreen 1280 × 720 px||5 in (130 mm) OLED capacitive touchscreen 960 × 544 px||5 in (130 mm) IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen 960 × 544 px|
|Approximately 16.77 million colors||Approximately 16.77 million colors||Approximately 16.77 million colors|
|5 brightness levels||0-100% brightness levels||0-100% brightness levels|
|Autostereoscopy (3D)||Yes||No||Yes (with 'Super Stable 3D' technology)||No||No||No|
|CPU||Dual-core ARM11 MPCore & Dual-core VFP Co-Processor||Quad-core ARM11 MPCore & Quad-core VFP Co-Processor||Quad-core Cortex-A57 + quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.02 GHz||Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore|
|GPU||Digital Media Professionals PICA200||Nvidia GM20B Maxwell-based GPU||PowerVR SGX543MP4+|
|RAM||128 MB FCRAM, 6 MB VRAM||256 MB FCRAM, 10 MB VRAM||4 GB LPDDR4||512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM|
|Camera||One front-facing and a set of two rear-facing 3D 0.3 MP (VGA) camera sensors||N/A||Front and rear 0.3 MP (VGA) camera sensors|
|Storage||1 GB internal flash memory||32 GB eMMC||No internal storage||1 GB internal flash memory|
|Supports up to 32 GB SD cards||Supports up to 32 GB SD/SDHC cards||Supports up to 32 GB microSD/microSDHC cards||Supports up to 2 TB microSD/HC/XC cards||Supports 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB proprietary removable memory cards|
|2 GB SD card included||4 GB SDHC card included||4 GB microSDHC card included||No external storage included||No external storage included|
|Media||Nintendo 3DS Game Card (1–8 GB) / Nintendo DS Game Card (8–512 MB)
|Nintendo Switch Game Card (1–32 GB)
|PlayStation Vita Game Card (2–4 GB)|
|Battery||1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1400 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
||1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
||3570 mAh lithium-ion battery
|2200 mAh lithium-ion battery
||2210 mAh lithium-ion battery
|Determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and whether 3D is active (3DS models only)||Determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, and sound volume||Determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and whether 3G is active (3G model only)|
|Console Connection||Wii / Wii U||N/A||PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4|
|Stylus||Extendable up to 100 mm (3.9 in) long||96 mm (3.8 in) long||76.5 mm (3.01 in) long||86 mm (3.4 in) long||N/A||N/A|
|Weight||235 g (8.3 oz)||336 g (11.9 oz)||260 g (9.2 oz)||253 g (8.9 oz)||329 g (11.6 oz)||260 g (9.2 oz)||280 g (9.9 oz)||Wi-Fi
260 g (9.2 oz)
279 g (9.8 oz)
|219 g (7.7 oz)|
|Online services||Nintendo Network||Nintendo Switch Online||Sony Entertainment Network|
|Full game download/installation and automatic updates in the background via SpotPass||Full game download/installation and automatic updates in the background||Full game download/installation in the background|
|Free||Paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription required for online multiplayer, except for free-to-play titles||Free|
|Regional lockout||Region locked||No region lock||No region lock|
|List of games||List of Nintendo 3DS games||List of Nintendo Switch games||List of PlayStation Vita games|
|Backward compatibility||Nintendo DS / Nintendo DSi
|System software||Nintendo 3DS system software||Nintendo Switch system software||PlayStation Vita system software|
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