The contemporary video game console market is dominated by three central players: Microsoft (with the Xbox line of game systems), Sony (with its PlayStation fleet), and Nintendo (with the Wii family of products). The Big 3 have vied for supremacy of the multibillion-dollar home video game market for the last 10 years, with consumers enjoying the playable fruits of their high-powered rivalry.It was not always thus. Longtime gamers -- and, as the average age of a video gamer is 37, that means most of us -- will recall that for much of the history of game consoles, it's been a one-on-one contest. The Magnavox Odyssey inaugurated home console gaming in 1972 and was soon locked in a decade-long battle with Atari. Neither company manufactures game consoles today. ColecoVision and Mattel's Intellivision were sideline casualties of the early 1980s console wars, but neither ever really challenged the Big 2. In the late 1980s and early '90s, it was again a two-console race, this time between SEGA and Nintendo, with each company offering four generations of game systems to outdo the other. NEC's TurboGrafx-16 and SNK Playmore's Neo Geo were the bit players (pardon the pun) of that campaign. It wasn't until the 1994 that Sony entered the market with the PlayStation, sparking the first serious three-front console war. The PlayStation quickly became the best-selling game console in history, effectively forcing SEGA out of the console business by 2001 -- the same year Microsoft entered the fray with the Xbox. What even the most ardent game fanatics often don't know is that the three-console market almost remained a two-player game because two members of the modern Big 3 originally collaborated on a single game system. WHICH OF THE BIG THREE GAME CONSOLE MAKERS ALMOST COLLABORATED ON A SINGLE GAME SYSTEM? Get the answer.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.