Microsoft kicked off the seventh generation with the release of the Xbox 360 in late 2005. Unlike the Sony's playstation 3, it didn't have a Blu-ray drive, which allows for much larger games to be stored on a single disc, so some of the larger games were forced to be seperated onto multiple discs. Early Xbox 360 ownser also faced severe hardware problems, the most common of which was the famous "Red Ring of Death," since the console would display a red ring around its power button, and the problem couldn't be fixed. The company was forced to spend over $1 billion fixing that mistake. To compete with Nintendo's over the booming motion control craze, Microsoft created a motion control add-on for the Xbox 360, which they called the Xbox Kinect.
Sony's Playstation 3 was released in 2006 and unlike Microsoft's Xbox 360 it had a Blu-ray drive, which not only allowed for much larger games, but it also allowed users to play blu-ray movies. This feature made it both a console and a blu-ray player, which was definately a good marketing point. It was the first console to support HDMI output at launch. To cut down on costs and lower the price of the later systems, Sony removed the Emotion Engine, which allowed for backwards compatibility with playstation 2 games. Sony also joined the motion control fray, with the release of their Playstation Move.
Nintendo revolutionized the industry with the release of the Nintendo Wii in 2006, which focused exclusively on motion control. The system uses remotes that are similar to a TV's. The remotes use a "sensor bar" that emits infrared light that is detected by an infrared camera in the Wii Remotes to determine orientation relative to the source of the light. The console started the motion control craze that attracted an incredibly large casual audience and was practically flying off the shelves, which only slowed down towards the end of its lifespan.
In 2004, Nintendo ended the gameboy line and brought change to the handheld market, with the release of the Nintendo DS. It featured touch-screen controls, the ability to connect wirelessly using IEEE 802.11b, and a dual-screen display. Sony released its first handheld, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), in 2004.
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