best-selling gaming consoles of all time

What are the best-selling game consoles of all time?

Iconic gaming consoles that won the hearts of many.

Video game consoles deliver captivating experiences by providing impressive visuals, immersive sound effects, and frequently supporting multiplayer functionality.

With huge competition among Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, and Nintendo’s Switch, this article goes over the most successful video game consoles based on their sales.

Top 10 best-selling consoles of all time

Here are the top 10 best-selling consoles:

We’ll deep dive into each one of them below to see the breakdown across four regions and why each console dominated the market.

1. PlayStation 2 by Sony

  • Europe: 55.28 million
  • North America: 53.65 million
  • Japan: 23.18 million
  • Rest of the world: 26.59 million

The PlayStation 2 (PS2) had over 159 million units sold worldwide. It is the best-selling game console ever. The PS2 was released in 2000 and impressed with its standout feature of backward compatibility, enabling you to actively play games from the original PlayStation (PS1) on the PS2.

While there were other game consoles with DVD players like the Nuon DVD player, Sony’s PS2 was the most popular game gear with a built-in DVD player at the time. You could enjoy games and play DVD movies on the console itself. Hence saving you from purchasing a DVD.

2. Nintendo DS by Nintendo

  • North America: 57.92 million
  • Europe: 51.84 million
  • Japan: 32.99 million
  • Rest of the world: 11.28 million

The Nintendo DS sold over 154.02 million units around the world. It was released by Nintendo in Japan on November 21, 2004. It received acclaim for its inventive elements, notably its dual-screen design with a top 3-inch and 256×192 pixel TFT touchscreen and integrated microphone.

Its extensive game library featured beloved franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda. The DS incorporated a dual slot system that allowed the use of both DS game cards and Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges.

These impressive backward compatibility features empowered gamers to relish an extensive selection of DS titles alongside their cherished GBA games on a single handheld device. Plus, its battery life was satisfactory.

3.  Nintendo Switch (Nintendo)

  • North America: 45.96 million
  • Europe: 32.87 million
  • Japan: 30.12 million
  • Rest of the world: 19.53 million

The Switch had a quick rise. Released in March 2017, the Switch console has sold over 139.36 million units. Its exceptional sales can be attributed to its innovative hybrid design, seamlessly transitioning between a handheld and a home console.

The best-selling Nintendo Switch games include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (60.58 million copies), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (33.67 million copies), Pokémon Sword (26.17 million copies), Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing (44.79 million copies), and some Sega’s iconic games.

4. Game Boy by Nintendo

  • North America: 43.18 million
  • Europe: 40.05 million
  • Japan: 32.47 million
  • Rest of the world: 2.99 million

The Game Boy by Nintendo recorded over 118.69 million units sold. Nintendo released the original on April 21, 1989, in Japan. It showcases an 8-bit LCD screen with a monochromatic display, offering clear visuals with a directional cross-shaped pad (D-pad) for control, four functional buttons, and a built-in speaker.

Powered by two AA batteries, it boasts an impressive battery life of up to 30 hours. It also delighted gamers with its extensive collection of titles, featuring beloved classics like Tetris, Super Mario Land, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Pokémon Red/Blue.

5. PlayStation 4 by Sony

  • Europe: 46 million
  • North America: 38.15 million
  • Rest of the world: 23.22 million
  • Japan: 9.57 million

The PS4 console was released in 2013, 7 years before the PS5 was released, and achieved significant popularity with improved graphics, social features, and a robust game library. It sold 117 million units, making it the second bestselling home console ever.

PlayStation 4’s success is attributed to its outstanding collection of games, which spans a wide array of genres, providing diverse experiences. Through the PlayStation Network (PSN), the PS4 facilitates online connectivity, enabling multiplayer video games.

The PS4 could also access a wide range of multimedia content beyond playing video games. It supports various streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. And its DualShock 4 controller has precise controls, integrated motion sensors, a touchpad, and a dedicated share button.

6. PlayStation by Sony

  • North America: 40.78 million
  • Europe: 31.09 million
  • Japan: 21.59 million
  • Rest of the world: 9.04 million

The first version of the Playstation by Sony sold over 102.4 million units. The original PlayStation (PS1) was released in Japan on December 3, 1994. The PS1, also called PSX, introduced the use of CD-ROMs instead of traditional cartridges. The PlayStation 1 controller features two analog sticks, a D-pad, four face buttons, and a set of shoulder buttons.

7. Wii by Nintendo (NES)

  • North America: 45.51 million
  • Europe: 33.12 million
  • Japan: 12.77 million
  • Rest of the World: 10.23 million

Nintendo’s Wii sold over 101.6 million units, taking the world by storm. Its release in 2006 brought forth an innovative experience centered around motion control.

Its user-friendly interface and the introduction of ground-breaking motion controllers, such as the Wii Remote, captivated the interest of both casual and hardcore gamers. This unprecedented triumph translated into great demand and record-breaking sales figures.

8. PlayStation 3 (Sony)

  • Europe: 30.87 million
  • North America: 29.92 million
  • Rest of the World: 16.14 million
  • Japan: 10.47 million

The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006 and sold over 87.4 million units. The notable features of the PS3 included its powerful Cell Broadband Engine processor and online connectivity through the PlayStation Network (PSN).

Its DualShock 3 wireless controller had motion-sensing capabilities. The PS3 also had multimedia (music and video streaming) capabilities, an extensive library of exclusive game titles, HDMI output for high-definition visuals, and expandable storage options. 

9. Xbox 360 (Microsoft)

  • North America: 46 million
  • Europe: 25.08 million
  • Japan: 1.66 million
  • Rest of the World: 11.9 million

The Microsoft Xbox 360 sold over 85.7 million units. It was released in the United States on November 22, 2005. It features a sleek design and a robust hardware configuration, including a custom triple-core processor, high-definition graphics capabilities, and a substantial amount of system memory.

The console supports various storage options, including hard drives and memory cards, allowing you to store and expand your game libraries. It also boasts online connectivity through Xbox Live, providing access to multiplayer, digital downloads, and online services.

10. Game Boy Advance (Nintendo)

  • North America: 40.39 million
  • Europe: 21.31 million
  • Japan: 16.96 million
  • Rest of the World: 2.85 million

The Game Boy Advance sold over 81.51 million units. It was released by Nintendo, featured a compact design, and offered various notable features and specifications. Its 2.9-inch reflective TFT color LCD screen provided a vibrant visual experience.

The console allowed multiplayer through link cables and had stereo speakers for clear audio output. Powered by two AA batteries, it offered hours of gameplay, an extensive game library, a compact build, and user-friendly controls.

Summary

These best-selling consoles achieved their success for several reasons.

Besides being released by popular and iconic franchises, they offered features ranging from backward compatibility, motion-controlled gameplay, and online connectivity to high-definition visuals.

These consoles had strong support from their respective manufacturers, who consistently delivered compelling games, services, updates, and effective pricing strategies and discounts.

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