Sixth Generation: 1995–1998
The sixth generation of home video games featured high-powered microprocessors and dedicated graphics processors that enabled extremely realistic graphics and game play. These game consoles outperformed the much higher-priced personal computer systems of the day.
The Sega Saturn, released in May 1995, achieved its high graphics quality by using twin 32-bit microprocessors and CD-ROM-based games. Unfortunately, the Saturn's high $399 price and lack of third-party games led to its being overshadowed by Sony's upcoming game console.
In September 1995, Sony released its first video game system, the Playstation, to the U.S. market. The Playstation was priced at $299, $100 less than the competing Sega Saturn, and incorporated a 32-bit microprocessor designed to produce polygon graphics. Backed with a massive advertising campaign, the Playstation unseated both Nintendo and Sega to become the leading home video game system; to date, it has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.
In 1996, five years after the release of the Super NES, Nintendo released its own sixth-generation game system, the Nintendo 64. The Nintendo 64 was the first home system to utilize a 64-bit microprocessor (hence the name); it was priced at just $150, significantly lower than its competition. The launch was hugely successful, with 1.7 million units sold in the first three months of release.