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This paper discusses the history, current state of the art, and ongoing challenges for compact (less than a few cubic centimeters) magnetic power generation systems in the microwatts to tens of watts power range. These systems are of great interest for powering sensor networks, robotics, wireless communication systems, and other portable electronics. The paper considers the following topics. 1) The theoretical and practical implications of miniaturizing magnetic power generators. 2) The design and performance of previously demonstrated devices, which are summarized and compared. 3) Ongoing challenges for implementation, including integrated high-performance hard magnetic materials, microscale core laminations, low-friction bearings, high-speed rotor dynamics, and compact, high-efficiency power converters.