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Note: The following article is about the Nintendo console. For the series of games, please click here.
Revolution is the name of Nintendo's seventh generation console, and was released in November 2006. Compared to previous consoles by both Nintendo and Sega, the Revolution is notable for appealing to a broader demographic. By the end of 2011, it had become the best selling video game console of all time, outselling even the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Its chief competitor is the Sega Pluto.
The Revolution is a notable step above its predecessors. Among other things, it has online play, a digital store for games, and can download updates automatically.
It succeeds the GameCube, and is fully backward-compatible with all GameCube games and most accessories. Nintendo first spoke of the console in 2004 and later unveiled it at the 2005 E3. By the end of 2006, it had completed its launch in the four key markets.
Work on the Revolution began as early as 2001. According to an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo realized the importance of online functionality by the time of the GameCube's release, but it was too late to update the system. Designing the system began in 2003, and the system was ready for development by mid-2005.
On September 14, 2006, Nintendo revealed launch information for the Revolution. It would be available in $300 and $400 skus, with the former having 8 GB of internal memory and the latter coming with 32 GB of internal memory and one of several eligible games, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The relatively high amount of internal memory was intended to allow the Revolution to download small games, even in its basic form. It also allowed the console to come installed with several so-called Revolution games, which would be bundled into the Revolution hardware throughout the system's life.
The Revolution was released in the Americas on November 19, in Japan on December 2, and in Europe and Australia on the 7th and 8th. After the system's successful launch, it was released in countries where Nintendo previously had little influence, such as South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Launch titles varied depending on region. Throughout the world, the star of the launch was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, with other major titles including Viva Pinata and Capcom's Dead Rising. Other games included annual sports installments such as Madden NFL 07, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, along with a few licensed titles.
The Revolution's first two or so years of life were extremely successful, dominating the competition to a greater degree than any console since the mid-90's. Casual audiences bought the system in relatively high numbers, and people in various countries where the cost of SegaNet had traditionally been a major barrier gladly adopted the Revolution. Furthermore, with the system's similarity to the Pluto, the Revolution attracted a large amount of third party support, making the libraries of the two systems quite similar in some regards.
It helped the Revolution that it received a large number of highly successful exclusive games from Nintendo themselves. Twilight Princess was considered by many to be the best game of 2006, but a number of major hits were released through 2008. These included Mario Party 8, Metroid Prime 3, Super Mario Galaxy, Revolution Fitness, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Mario Kart X as well as smaller hits such as Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Super Paper Mario, Super Wario Land, Mario Artist, and Banjo-Treeie.
The Revolution would steadily lose its major advantages after 2008, as the Sega Pluto would gain a respectable library and cut its price to a more reasonable $200. However, by this point, the Revolution's momentum was unstoppable, and would continue for the rest of the generation.
After the first couple of years of its life, many of the Revolution's biggest games were actually from third parties. These included fighting games such as Street Fighter 4, the Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham series, and the newly multiplatform Final Fantasy. Nevertheless, a number of notable exclusives kept the Revolution ahead of the Pluto during this time.
2009's most notable exclusive was New Super Mario Bros Revolution, a game that would eventually sell over 20 million copies. This title was notable for its revival of the 2D platformer and emphasis on mutliplayer, incorporating up to four players at once. Other major 2009 games included Monster Hunter 3, which helped the series grow to prominence in Japan, Mario Hoops, one of Mario's rare Sports games, and Revolution Sports, a collection of sports minigames from Rare.
2010, to many, was the best year yet for Revolution owners. In addition to third party hits such as Dead Rising 2, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, this year saw a large number of major releases from Nintendo and its subsidiaries. These included Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Goldeneye 007 HD Remix early in the year, Ico, Lost in Shadow, and Revolution Party during the summer, and Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Mario Sports Mix during the last quarter.
During 2011 and 2012, Nintendo's emphasis was shifted to their upcoming eighth generation systems. This left much of the burden upon third parties to support the system. Thanks to this lack of support, the Pluto was able to make up some of its lost ground during this time.
Nevertheless, major Nintendo releases were not entirely absent. 2011's major releases for the Revolution included The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in April, Rhythm Heaven Fever during July, and Kirby's Return to Dreamland in October, not to mention the HD rerelease of Pikmin and Pikmin 2 as Pikmin Anniversary.
2012's only major releases from Nintendo were Mario Party 9 and Fire Emblem: Awakening early in the year.
The Revolution is the best selling home console of all time. By the end of 2011, it had an estimated 80 million sales, with 16 million in Japan, 35 million in North America, and 29 million in Europe and other parts of the world. Of particular note is the system's success in Europe, where it has outsold the second best selling console ever, the competing Pluto, by an over two-to-one ratio. The Revolution is often considered responsible for the spread of console gaming into the region.
The Revolution is known for appealing to a relatively wide demographic. On one hand, it appeals to children and youths thanks to its variety of popular Nintendo games, which are often aimed at younger audiences. On the other hand, many games, such as Revolution Fitness, are aimed at an older audience, something previously rare in the console industry. Meanwhile, the middle audience of teenagers and young adults also have a wide library of games to choose from.
The Revolution can be stood horizontally or vertically, and features a stand that comes with the system. The system also comes with a wireless controller, which can be charged by plugging it into the system, a power adapter, and the appropriate cables.
The front of the console features an illuminated slot-loading optical media drive which accepts only 12 cm Nintendo Optical Discs and the 8 cm GameCube Discs. Thus, the Revolution is incapable of playing conventional DVDs, much like other game systems.
Although initially only available in white, the Revolution has had Black, Silver, and Red models at various points in time.
Nintendo has revealed relatively little information about the Revolution, but much information has been discovered by the gaming and technological press. The CPU clocks in at approximately 2,000 MHz, the GPU clocks in at about 400 MHz, and the system has 256 MB of RAM. The special optical discs hold up to 4.7 GB of data, although a dual layer disc can hold up to 8.5 GB. Up to four controllers can connect to the system at a time, and the system's memory can be expanded through SD Cards up to 32 GB in size. Video can be displayed in 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, and 720p.
The Revolution interface is displayed as a menu with various channels. The main channels are the Disc channel, which plays the inserted disc, the Mii Channel, which can be used to create Avatars for certain games, the Photo Channel, the eShop channel, and the Internet channel. Other channels can be added by downloading them, including video-playing channels like YouTube and Netflix.
The Revolution is backwards compatible with all GameCube games, memory cards, and controllers, along with many GameCube peripherals. Furthermore, many Revolution games can be played using GameCube controllers for additional players. However, at least one Revolution controller is required for any game.
The Revolution can connect to the internet using either an Ethernet cable or the built in Wi-Fi adapter. Nintendo does not require customers to pay for online services such as play or the ability to download games.
The eShop is Nintendo's first digital games store. It initially launched in 2006 with just the Virtual Console, through which people could purchase classic games from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations. Over the next couple of years, new components were added to the eShop, such as buying original downloadable games, retail titles, and other services.
Since many versions of the Revolution have limited internal memory, with some having as little as 8 GB, the console is compatible with external hard drives. Later and more advanced versions of the Revolution would have much more internal memory, but would still be compatible with external hard drives.
Retail copies of games are on Nintendo optical discs packaged in cases with instructions. Games can be locked to only play in a specific region's hardware.
Nintendo has released many games for their system, including entries in the Zelda, Mario, Metroid, and Pokemon series, along with new franchises such as Revolution Fitness. Most major publishers have also released games on the system, including Activision, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Capcom, and Square Enix.
Nintendo has also launched a Virtual Console service, which rereleases retro games via the eShop channel. The eShop also contains original games.
List of Best-Selling Retail Games
The following games have sold at least a million units each. Note that the list is incomplete, or might not contain the latest information.
- Mario Kart X - 26 million
- New Super Mario Bros Revolution - 23 million
- Revolution Fitness - 20 million
- Revolution Fitness Plus - 18 million
- Super Smash Bros Brawl - 10 million
- Super Mario Galaxy - 10 million
- Revolution Party - 8 million
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - 7 million
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 - 6 million
- Assassin's Creed - 5 million
- Assassin's Creed 2 - 5 million
- Assassin's Creed 3 - 5 million
- Donkey Kong Country Returns - 5 million
- Resident Evil 5 - 5 million
- Revolution Sports - 5 million
- Animal Crossing: City Folk - 4 million
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - 4 million
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations - 4 million
- Batman: Arkham Asylum - 4 million
- Batman: Arkham City - 4 million
- Final Fantasy XIII - 4 million
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - 4 million
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga - 4 million
- Mario Party 8 - 4 million
- Guitar Hero 3 - 3 million
- LEGO Batman - 3 million
- Mario Artist - 3 million
- Mario Party 9 - 3 million
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - 3 million
- Super Paper Mario - 3 million
- Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party - 2 million
- Dead Rising - 2 million
- Epic Mickey - 2 million
- Epic Yarn - 2 million
- FIFA 12 - 2 million
- FIFA 13 - 2 million
- Guitar Hero - 2 million
- Guitar Hero 2 - 2 million
- Guitar Hero 4 - 2 million
- Kirby's Return to Dreamland - 2 million
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 - 2 million
- LEGO Indiana Jones - 2 million
- Metroid Prime 3 - 2 million
- Monster Hunter Tri - 2 million
- Mortal Kombat - 2 million
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - 2 million
- Need for Speed: Shift - 2 million
- Skylanders - 2 million
- Skylanders Giants - 2 million
- Street Fighter 4 - 2 million
- Tekken 6 - 2 milliion
- Viva Pinata - 2 million
- Banjo-Threeie - 1 million
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - 1 million
- Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 2 - 1 million
- Dead Rising 2 - 1 million
- Devil May Cry 4 - 1 million
- FIFA 08 - 1 million
- FIFA 09 - 1 million
- FIFA 10 - 1 million
- FIFA 11 - 1 million
- Go Vacation - 1 million
- Guitar Hero 5 - 1 million
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2 - 1 million
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean - 1 million
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars - 1 million
- Madden NFL 09 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 10 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 11 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 12 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 13 - 1 million
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - 1 million
- Metroid 5 - 1 million
- Monopoly - 1 million
- Ninja Gaiden Sigma - 1 million
- Pokemon Battle Revolution - 1 million
- Pokepark - 1 million
- Prototype - 1 million
- Soul Calibur 4 - 1 million
- Wario Land 5 - 1 million
Note that some models were introduced or discontinued later in the Revolution's life.
- November 19, 2006 - $300 for the 8 GB model, $400 for the 32 GB bundle.
- November 2008 - $250 for the 8 GB model, $300 for the 32 GB model, $400 for the 120 GB model bundle.
- September 2010 - $200 for the 12 GB model, $250 for the 32 GB model, $300 for the 120 GB model.
- October 2012 - $150 for the 12 GB model, $200 for the 32 GB model, $250 for the 120 GB model.
Some models only available bundled with one of several Nintendo games for some time. These games included titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Revolution Fitness, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Mario Kart X.
The Revolution has received generally positive reviews. The success of games like New Super Mario Bros Revolution and Revolution Fitness took many by surprise. It soon became a favorite among many Western and Japanese developers and publishers. However, the system has been criticized for its inferior online services compared to the Pluto. Nevertheless, it is the best selling video games console in history.