But to the point of most people on Digital Press and as a couple of people here pointed out, the reason that they prefer the date is because they see generation as a term to analyze the marketing of systems that were around at relatively the same time. I can see the other argument too though.
I guess if you had to pin me down, I'd pick time/marketing as the generational line. Because tech is largely a result of whatever year a system comes out, not usually anything else. (Nintendo messes up that argument a little bit, but they just refuse to be bound by generations at all either way.) For the most part there is a relatively hard limit to the amount a company can charge for a mainstream system, so costs need to be contained under that, meaning companies will almost always include the most advanced tech they can for under that price. That price has slowly dropped over the years when inflation is taken into account, but the point is if the "accepted" price for a new system is $399, a company can't suddenly release a system that costs $1,200 and expect it to do well. So they won't include the most expensive tech - they'll include tech as good as they can for $399, and that's going to depend on nothing else but when they decide to do it.
Of course there have been exceptions to that too, like the Neo Geo AES (what generation is *that* machine?) and even to a certain extent the PS3, which launched at $599, and people thought both SNK and Sony were crazy. And not surprisingly, the AES didn't sell well and the PS3 *initially* didn't sell too well either, although that changed when the price dropped. But these were machines that were really intended to span multiple generations. The AES lasted quite a while despite its poor sales, and even longer for new software releases, and the PS3 was intended from the beginning to have a 10 year lifespan. So it's still more a question of time than tech.
I think there is actually a third category you could use to separate generations, though, and that's features. That's why I include the INTV, CV and 5200 in the same generation but not the 2600 or older systems. The INTV, CV and 5200 all shared very similar controllers, which were all *very* different than what had become standard by then, and they were different in most of the same ways. That's not coincidence - that's each company trying to copy and then one-up the other. When such a big change happens, and across several systems only a couple years apart, there's no way in my mind that you can call those systems part of two different generations. The INTV was the first of that generation, but the CV and 5200 are part of it too. The fact that all three systems were then on the market together and competing against each other only cements it in my mind. It doesn't really matter how much more powerful the CV and 5200 were than the INTV, it matters that they all copied each other and all competed against each other.
In most cases you can reload the page and recover with auto-save in the lower lefthand corner of the message entry "box".
I noticed that message but didn't realize I could click on it - d'oh! But I'm not sure it'd have worked, because it seemed like the site thought I was starting a whole new reply. I clicked the "back" button on my mouse instead of left-clicking to post. When I clicked "forward" again I just had a blank page.
Clearly Atari 2600 and Channel F aren't of the same generation as 5200 and CV, but what generation would INTV belong to? It went head to head with the 2600, and was more advanced than a 2600, but less advanced than CV and 5200. I'd be inclined to lump it in with the 2600 bc that was its competition but could see arguments for the other way too.
This is why I don't think the tech matters. It's the same with the Switch, which is 1/4 as powerful as the PS4 Pro and 1/6 as powerful as the Xbox One X. (Even compared to the regular PS4, it's about 1/2 as powerful.) And it came out 4 years after the PS4.
But it's competing against the PS4 and Xbox One right now, and has never (yet) competed against anything else. So you couldn't really say it's a last-gen machine, despite its power being comparable to one. And if the PS5 and Xbox One Y or whatever end up being hybrid machines with built-in screens, well at that point you might have to ask if it was really the start of the *next* generation.
It all ends up being a mess when you start to really think about it, and there's never going to be complete agreement.
Edited by spacecadet, Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:50 PM.