A huge increase in the performance of consoles, games on smartphones, digital distribution, and cloud gaming - these are just some of the trends of the first two decades of the twenty-first century. At the same time, mankind has already managed to miss the nostalgic projects of childhood, pixels, and graphics of the first PS.
In 2001, Nintendo brought the GameCube to market. By that time, there was already a PlayStation 2, and then Microsoft entered the game with its Xbox. Cartridges were finally a thing of the past. The PS and Xbox used DVDs, GameCube used mini-DVDs. All consoles supported online multiplayer. The sixth-generation was marked by many outstanding projects: Halo 1-2, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Fable, God Of War 1-2, Kingdom Hearts, and others.
The winner in the race again was the console from Sony, whose sales were three times higher than the total number of consoles from competitors to more than 150 million. Second place went to the Xbox, the first non-Japanese system in history to show a decent result in the "console wars." The GameCube and the outdated Dreamcast trailed behind.
Nintendo continued to develop the Game Boy with the Advance (2001), Advance SP (2003), and Advance Micro (2005). Sega and SNK were no longer on the market, but a new and unusual neighbor, Finland's Nokia, emerged. Cell phones were more common than they were in the nineties, but for the most part, they didn't have much in the way of gaming capabilities. The same could not be said for the Nokia N-Gage, a hybrid of a phone and a portable console. The device had an impressive library of games but was considered commercially unsuccessful.
The seventh-generation appeared in 2005 and again consisted of the "Big Three" platforms. Sony and Microsoft did not reinvent the wheel, naming their consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, respectively. Nintendo decided not to continue the GameCube line, giving the device name Wii and betting on casual gamers. The generation is remembered for Super Mario Galaxy 2, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted 2-3, Gears of War 1-3. The world of handheld gameplay changed, with the PlayStation Portable (2004-2005) entering the scene and competing with the Nintendo DS (2004-2005).
In 2011-2013, the eighth generation consoles - WiiU, PlayStation 4, Xbox One - entered the market. Nintendo was ahead of its competitors, releasing a replacement for the Wii before Sony and Microsoft began production of their newcomers. Once again, the battle for the market was won by PlayStation. The Japanese giants' handhelds came out in updated versions, the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.
In November 2020, the ninth generation of consoles entered the markets, and, this time, Nintendo did not take part in the "big game." The WiiU was deemed a commercial failure, so it remained the second and last in its lineup. Back in 2017, Nintendo released the Switch, a console that differs from the new Sony and Microsoft devices in both format and power (rather close to the previous generation). Now, there are only two left in the "ring." Both PlayStation 5 and Xbox came in two variants - with and without an optical drive. PCs and cloud services (Stadia, GeForce Now, and others) are seen as competitors.
From 2001 to 2020, PC gamers also had a lot to do, although, with the "explosive" growth in graphics quality, developers were more likely to build on ideas from the '90s than to come up with new ones. StarCraft, Warcraft, Command & Conquer, Fallout, Half-Life, Civilization - all of these series were continued into the new century and are mostly still alive today. Of course, a lot of new and worthy titles have come out, but less innovative and "breakthrough." If you think about what will be remembered these two decades, it is worth to name the series Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Age of Wonders, Grand Theft Auto, The Elder Scrolls, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
New genres still appeared. One of them was a battle royale, named after the novel by Koushun Takami - millions play Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. MOBAs - primarily Dota 2 and League of Legends - remain popular (including eSports players). Many enjoy digging, building, and crafting in "sandboxes" - Minecraft and the lesser-known Terraria and Starbound.
Everything has changed by the fast and accessible Internet. For example, digital distribution has practically displaced traditional retail. Thanks to Steam and Origin, it is no longer necessary to go to a store or ask a friend for a CD. Maybe in a couple of years, we'll get tired of this and want to go to another part of town again for physical copies of games.
There are fewer differences between consoles and PC - many projects are multiplatform and support multiplayer. Many former console exclusives are available in the libraries of distribution services.
Another significant gaming platform of the era was the smartphone. If the cellphone of the nineties - early zeros could entertain no more than a "snake," the current Android and iOS devices produce a picture that once would have been the envy of top-end computers. The phones are playing not only hyper-casual projects but also MMORPG.