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Game Wire
By Bruce Mushial

Since the beginning of electronic games there have been battles between game platform manufacturers. The electronic games market began with the likes of Pong, and Pac Man, from companies such as Atari. These infantile games, compared to the feats of current games, started the battle between manufacturers. Monochrome games led to color. Single player configurations advanced to multiple players connected via the Internet. More colors, more memory, more features, faster motion, and more games for each platform have been the wave of the future for two decades now. Now don't just brush off gaming as just kid's stuff, because the billions of dollars spent on gaming is no chump change. The game manufacturers still strive to out do each other, in almost a conquer and destroy game-like fashion. Some platforms are handheld, some are on dedicated console stations, and others are still played on traditional computers. Those computers need faster processors, more memory, and the fastest video cards possible, all good for the companies that manufacture these products. The 3D video cards that gamers like actually have their own onboard processors similar to the power of the main computer processor itself. Some high-end video cards for gamers use more super high-speed video memory than some current computers and the total memory on the video card exceeds the total amount of memory computers had just 1-2 years ago. Where most business computers will run great with a $30 video card in them, gamers will often spend close to $200 to capture the best 3D video graphics cards available. Needless to say these video cards do great things to the bottom line of the companies such as ATI (ATYT) and Nvidia (NVDA), who produce some of the hottest video cards available. In handheld units the Game Boy extended its features to become Game Boy Color and now Game Boy Advanced has just come on the scene. Super Nintendo (16 bit) mutated into Nintendo 64 and created such a competitive market that Sega stopped making the Dreamcast platform that had a strong following. Sony's PlayStation and PlayStation 2 have been formidable competitors to Nintendo but we now have PlayStation 3 lurking in the wings just as Microsoft gets ready to usher in its Xbox product line. To highlight the size of the gaming market, Microsoft plans to spend $500 million to market the Xbox alone. Nintendo's GameCube is slated to hit shelves at the same time as the Xbox. And game consoles wouldn't be much fun without games to play on them. The game manufacturers may end up making even more money than the makers of the game consoles. Companies such as Activision (ATVI), THQ (THQI), and Electronic Arts (ERTS), do little more than focus on making game software that runs on one of the popular game platforms. Gaming might be fun, but it's serious business.

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