The first generation of video game consoles represented machines that were capable of running just one or two pre-built games. They were also coded into the game’s hardware. In most cases, that was a version of Atari’s well-known Pong game.
Shortly after its formation in 1972, Atari was the first company to realize that making dedicated consoles was a poor business model. The companies would spend exorbitant amounts of money, only to have their product superseded by the competitor’s newer offerings.
Alpex was the first to launch a programmable console, known as Fairchild Channel F. It helped introduce and establish the use of ROM cartridges. These provided the software for the programmable console — in this case, the game.
Following Fairchild’s release in 1976, Atari introduced its own programming console in 1977, the Atari Video Computer System. The console that would later become known as Atari 2600 also had more powerful hardware than the Fairchild Channel F.