Like any commercial product, video games sell in vast quantities at Christmas – and, over the decades, we've seen a flood of festive commercials attempt to hawk us the latest and greatest gaming hardware and software.
We thought it might be an excellent time to look back at some of the more memorable examples, starting right at the beginning of the games industry: the 1970s.
The 1970s and 1980s
Back in the '70s, Atari was the name on everyone's lips when it came to video games. The company had taken gaming into the mainstream, first with its range of acclaimed coin-ops, and then with its Atari VCS / 2600 home system, which brought arcade entertainment to living rooms all over the globe.
However, Atari didn't have the market all to itself, and rival platforms such as Intellivision and Colecovision arrived on the scene – but, before they could make much of an impact, the video game console market collapsed in North America. It wouldn't be until the NES arrived in 1986 that we saw a revival in the fortunes of consoles stateside, but, in the meantime, companies like Commodore pushed their C64 home computer as a viable Christmas alternative.
By the time the '90s rolled around, video gaming was on track to become the world's most lucrative entertainment medium, as was evidenced by software launches that generated Hollywood-style amounts of revenue. The decade began with a battle between the Mega Drive / Genesis and SNES, and ended with Sega bowing out of hardware altogether and newcomer Sony becoming the dominant force in video games. Oh, and with this being the 1990s and all, the commercials had a real 'edgy' angle to them, of course.
Sony's PlayStation 2 was the console everyone was talking about as the new millennium began, but Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox were snapping at Sony's heels. Later, Nintendo would reclaim its crowd with the Wii, which became the best-selling console of its generation. How many Wii consoles were sold as Christmas family gifts, we wonder? Wii Sports was the perfect festive party game, we'd argue.
The arrival of the internet changed everything, especially advertising. Companies like Nintendo used platforms such as YouTube for more and more of their commercials, pushing platforms like the DSi, 3DS and Wii U – the latter of which would sadly find little favour at Christmas time. Thank goodness, then, for the Switch, which arrived in 2017 and put the Japanese veteran at the top of the tree once more.