In 2005 and 2006, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s Playstation 3, and Nintendo’s Wii came in this modern age of high-definition gaming. Playstation 3 was the only system at the time to play Blu-rays. Sony, for the first time, faced stiff competition from its rivals. The Xbox 360, which had similar graphics capabilities to the Playstation 3, was lauded for its online gaming ecosystem and won far more Game Critics Awards than the other platforms in 2007; it also featured the Microsoft Kinect, a state-of-the-art motion capture system that offered a different way to play video games (though the Kinect never caught on with core gamers or game developers).
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Rovio, the company behind the Angry Birds mobile device game (and, later Angry Birds animated movie), reportedly made a whopping $200 million in 2012. In 2011, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure brought video games into the physical world. The game requires players to place plastic toy figures (sold separately) onto an accessory, which reads the toys’ NFC tags to bring the characters into the game. Towards the end of the decade and beginning of the next, video games spread to social media platforms like Facebook and mobile devices like the iPhone, reaching a more casual gaming audience.
In 2016, Sony released a more powerful version of its console, called the Playstation 4 Pro, the first console capable of 4K video outputs. In early 2017, Nintendo released its Wii U successor, the Nintendo Switch, the only system to allow both television-based and handheld gaming. Microsoft will release its 4K-ready console, the Xbox One X, in late 2017. With their new revamped consoles, both Sony and Microsoft currently have their sights set on virtual reality gaming, a technology that has the potential to change the way players experience video games.
Toy-video game hybrids
The next few years would see several sequels and other toy-video game hybrids, such as Disney Infinity, which features Disney characters. The 8th and current generation of video games began with the release of Nintendo’s Wii U in 2012, followed by the Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2013. Despite featuring a touch screen remote control that allowed off-TV gaming and being able to play Wii games, the Wii U was a commercial failure—the opposite of its competition—and was discontinued in 2017.