How to Design Your Own Video Game Console

By James B. Jones

Updated September 22, 2017

Video game consoles are a hot commodity, with the gaming industry making tens of billions of dollars each fiscal year. Getting into the business of video games can sometimes be difficult, but if you are looking to get in on the action by building your own gaming console, there are many things to take into account.

Designing a Video Game Console

Determine the medium you want to base your console around. While CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are the preferred medium with modern day gaming consoles, for over twenty years consoles played games that came on cartridges. You can also think towards the future, utilizing a direct-download method of getting the games on your platform.

Decide on the kind of memory system you want. Some consoles, like the PlayStation 3, have built-in hard drives that allow players to save their data directly to the system. Other systems, like the Nintendo Wii, require some kind of memory card. For practicality, go with the hard drive. For maximum marketability, go with the memory card.

Consider how you want your system to appear. On one hand, you could go with a ton of bells and whistles, with buttons for everything from power and reset buttons to volume control and headphone jacks. On the other, you may consider a minimalist approach, with a single power button and a button to eject discs. It is not enough for your system to be powerful; it also has to be aesthetically pleasing.

Select your GPU manufaturer. Your GPU is the center of your gaming system and will determine how game developers will create games for your system. Your GPU will also be a big factor in determining market price for the console as a whole.

Calculate market price and be prepared to lose money in the short term. In the video game industry, the big three console makers (Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony) have a philosophy of taking an early loss and making up for the loss in software sales.


Borrow ideas from consoles of both present and past. Most gaming systems have unique features that you can draw inspiration from when designing your own gaming system.