There are several ways in which game consoles can be categorized. One is by its console generation, and another is by its computer architecture. Game consoles have long used specialized and customized computer hardware with the base in some standardized processor instruction set architecture. In this case, it is PowerPC and Power ISA, processor architectures initially developed in the early 1990s by the AIM alliance, i.e. Apple, IBM, and Motorola.

Even though these consoles share much in regard to instruction set architecture, game consoles are still highly specialized computers so it is not common for games to be readily portable or compatible between devices. Only Nintendo has kept a level of portability between their consoles, and even there it is not universal.

The first devices used standard processors, but later consoles used bespoke processors with special features, primarily developed by or in cooperation with IBM for the explicit purpose of being in a game console. In this regard, these computers can be considered "embedded". All three major consoles of the seventh generation were PowerPC based.

As of 2019, no PowerPC-based game consoles are currently in production. The most recent release, Nintendo's Wii U, has since been discontinued and succeeded by the Nintendo Switch (which uses a Nvidia Tegra ARM processor). The PlayStation 3, the last PowerPC-based game console to remain in production, was discontinued in 2017.[1]


Name Image Manufacturer Generation CPU Clock RAM On the market No. sold
Katz Media
5th PowerPC 603 66 MHz 6 MB 1995–1997 42.000
M2 3DO
PowerPC 602 2× 66 MHz 8 MB 1997
Never marketed
Nintendo 6th Gekko 486 MHz 24 MB 2001–2007 21.74 million
Xbox 360
Microsoft 7th XCPU (Xbox 360)
XCGPU (Xbox 360 S and Xbox 360 E)
3.2 GHz 512 MB 2005–2016 84 million
June 2014
Nintendo Broadway 729 MHz 64 MB 2006–2017 101.63 million
March 2016
PlayStation 3
Sony Cell B.E. 3.2 GHz 512 MB 2006–2017 87 million
May 2017
Wii U
Wii U Console and Gamepad.png
Nintendo 8th Espresso 1.24 GHz 2 GB 2012–2017 13.36 million
September 2016


  1. ^ "Sony will soon stop PS3 production and shipments in Japan".