Console Gaming Systems

Console game systems are specialized computers that play games.

Ralph Baer came up with the idea of a video-game system that connects to televisions in 1966. Magnavox agreed to manufacture and distribute his seventh prototype, in 1971, branded the Odyssey. Magnavox sold about 350,000 units, at the then steep price of $100, before discontinuing it in 1978.

Nolan Bushnell, inspired by Odyssey, founded Atari. He built up his company, selling it in 1976 for about $30 million. In 1978, Atari fired Bushnell for “fighting like cats and dogs”.

Regardless, Atari went on to become wildly profitable but, eventually, sales declined due to poor games. However, Atari literally buried one game, “E.T.” in the middle of the night in a desert landfill due to poor quality. Specifically, the game consists of quickly falling into an inescapable hole.

Subsequently, various other game makers came and went. Japan-based Nintendo created a popular system. Eventually, scrappy startup Sega challenged Atari. Sony eventually took the market followed by Microsoft. Today, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all compete in the console gaming market.

Despite the first-mover advantage, neither Magnavox nor Baer was never a meaningful market participant in video games after the Odyssey. Eventually, Atari ceased making videogame consoles a the end of 1991.
Atari: Game Over, Full Documentary