Timeline: Video Games, Part IV

Updated July 22, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Part IV: 1995-present

by Amanda Kudler
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Sony brings the PlayStation to the U.S. and sells the console for $299.

Nintendo releases the Nintendo 64 in Japan (it's released in the U.S. in 1996).


Arcades focus on bringing in more "ride-and-video" games like skiing, snowboarding, and Jet Skiing, as their popularity has surpassed the popularity of shooting and fighting games.

Atari's founder, Nolan Bushnell, reenters the industry making Internet stations for arcades and bars.

The Tamagotchi virtual pet becomes an instant sensation in Japan. It is released in the U.S. in May of that year selling all of its 30,000-unit supply in 3 days.


PlayStation is considered by many in the industry as most popular game console as the 20 millionth unit is sold.

Tiger introduces a multipurpose handheld console to compete with the Game Boy. Called game.com, it features games, an address book, calculator, and stylus for touchscreen capability. It also connects to a PC modem for access to email.

Arizona attempts to restrict the distribution of violent video games by making it illegal to display or distribute violent material to minors. The proposed bill is not approved.


Sega introduces the Dreamcast in Japan. This console operates on Microsoft Windows CE which will allow for easier conversions between Dreamcast and PC games.

The Wal-Mart retail chain decides to ban over 50 video games that it deems inappropriate for minors.


Billy Mitchell attains a score of 3,333,360 in the game Pac-Man. This is the highest possible score a player can get.

As a result of the shootings that occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Sega announces that it will not release a light gun with the Dreamcast in the U.S. In addition, it prevents use of imported guns with American consoles, which forces the Americans to use standard controllers to play the popular House of the Dead 2.


Sony's PlayStation 2 launches in the U.S. for $299.99 and is sold out by early morning. Since the demand is so high and only 500,000 units are available, it is very difficult to buy a unit during this first shipment.

The Sims is released, and quickly becomes a hit. It eventually (in 2002) surpasses Myst as the best-selling PC game ever.


Microsoft and Nintendo introduce their next-generation systems within days of each other. Microsoft claims its Xbox offers "the most powerful game experiences ever." The product (estimated retail price of $299.99) comes with a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port. Nintendo's GameCube (suggested retail price of $199.95) delivers new forms of interactive gaming for players and an easier development environment for game creators.

Sega announces that it will no longer manufacture hardware.

Nintendo releases the GameBoy Advance, a portable gaming system.


Nintendo releases the Nintendo DS, a portable system with two screens, one of which can be used as a touch screen.


Sony releases the PSP, a portable system with a large, high-resolution display.

Microsoft unveils the XBox 360, a console system to be released in November 2005. Sony and Nintendo's competing console systems are planned for release in 2006.


Nintendo releases the Wii, a gaming system that lets gamers use the controller in revolutionary ways, such as swinging it like a tennis racket, holding and tilting it like a steering wheel, and more.

Sony also debuts the Playstation 3, a very sophisticated and expensive game system.


Nintendo releases Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. It continues the adventures of Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach as they face their old foe Bowser.



Grand Theft Auto 4 breaks sales records its first week after gamers bought more than 6 million copies.

The Wii Fit is launched, adding even more incentive for gamers of all ages to get up and move!

Social gaming takes shape with Farmville and Angry Birds, enthralling millions of new players. Facebook and cellphones allow easy access to these addictive games.



With over 40 million units sold, Nintendo's Wii Sports becomes the best-selling video game of all time. The previous record holder was another Nintendo game: Super Mario Bros.



New motion control systems--Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect--let players interact in a more immersive way, doing away with controllers and letting players use their bodies instead.



Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim showcases the beauty, majesty, and massiveness of video games as players explore a seemingly endless, beautifully rendered fantasy world.



Both Sony (PlayStation 4) and Microsoft (XBox One) release new gaming platforms this year. Offering social connection through "next generation cooperative and competitive multiplayer play," these systems offer amazing graphics and speed.



Microsoft acquires Mojang and its immensely popular indie brick-building game, Minecraft, which Swedish creator Markus Persson debuted in 2009. Purchase price is $2.5 billion.




Related Links






Sources +