Since the Magnavox Odyssey became the first commercially available home gaming console in 1972, the gaming industry has grown and flourished. Despite a lull in the ’80s with the now infamous “Video Game Market Crash”, the industry has grown exponentially and the world is now experiencing the dawn of the ninth generation of consoles with the release of the PS5 and the Xbox X / S.
Over the decades, some businesses have prospered and others have failed. While Nintendo, SONY and Microsoft dominate the console market today, many companies have fallen by the wayside, like SEGA, Atari, Phillips, Coleco, etc.
ten Xbox One – 41 million units (and it’s not over)
Microsoft stopped releasing sales figures at the start of the decade, but many insiders were able to get fairly accurate estimates of Xbox One sales totaling 41 million units sold. However, given that the Xbox One is still on sale, the number could continue to gradually increase until the next generation – the Xbox X / S – really takes hold of the market.
Despite being the tenth best-selling console of all time, the Xbox One failed to compete with SONY’s PS4. Part of this is because the console had a lackluster game library. In fact, almost all of the best-selling games weren’t even an Xbox exclusive. However, the console has received high praise with titles like Halo 5, Fall of the Titans, and Overdrive at sunset.
9 Super Nintendo – 49.1 million units
Nintendo almost single-handedly rebooted the American gaming market in the 1980s with the Nintendo entertainment system. Naturally, after relaunching the industry, Nintendo began to see competition from companies like SEGA. Nintendo’s solution was to build an even more powerful machine that would stay on top. Thus, the SNES was born.
It was a critical and commercial success, launching beloved franchises, some of the best of which are still available on Nintendo Switch, including Donkey Kong Country, Star fox, Mario kart, and more. The console also had a long lifespan of over a decade, ultimately selling 49.1 million units.
8 Nintendo Entertainment System – 61.91 million units
While the SNES was a huge success, competition from the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive ended up limiting sales compared to its predecessor, the Nintendo Entertainment System (often referred to as the NES or Famicom in Japan).
It was the NES that really brought gaming into a new era with some smash hits and some of the best NES games of all time including Super Mario Bros., THE Legend of Zelda, Contra, and more. Many gamers might be surprised to learn that the console also had a considerably long lifespan, remaining in production in Japan until 2003. Throughout its 20-year existence, the NES has sold for nearly of 62 million units worldwide.
7 Nintendo Switch – 84.59 million units (and counting)
Although it currently sits in 7th place on this list, the Nintendo Switch could easily surpass the top 5 before the end of its lifespan. The console was just released in 2017, so it still has a few good years to go. In fact, Nintendo’s E3 lineup this year proves the company isn’t ready to move on and continues to invest in its dockable / portable console. They even announced their intention to release a new Zelda game, a new Metroid game, a new WarioWare game, and more.
In addition to the Switch’s fame for its versatility, it has also grown in popularity for focusing on cooperative gameplay, allowing friends and families to play together. To date, the Switch has sold 84.59 million units, but with the release of the new OLED Switch later this year, the number is sure to continue to climb.
6 Xbox 360 – 85.5 million units
The Xbox 360 was Microsoft’s best-selling game console to date, with 85.5 million units sold. Microsoft recognized Haloplayed an important role in the success of the original Xbox and allowed Bungie to work on a range of Halo titles for their new console, including Halo 3, 4, Reach, and ODST, all of which sold millions of copies and helped make the 360 ââa success.
However, one of the biggest things that helped the 360 ââwas the release of the Kinect motion sensor midway through the console’s lifespan, which spanned a decade. Not only Kinect Adventures! became the best-selling title on the console, but for a brief period the Kinect became a cultural phenomenon, even playing a prominent role in Paranormal activity 4.
5 PlayStation 3 – 86.90 million units
The PS3 was SONY’s “best-selling” console to date, which is if you can count on being the # 5 best-selling console of all time as being the “worst”. And the drop in sales makes sense, given that it faced stiff competition in the seventh generation of consoles. In fact, the three major 7th Gen consoles are among the 10 best-selling consoles of all time, with the PS3 having to compete with behemoth systems like the 360 ââand the Wii.
Fortunately, PS exclusives like Little big planet, Gran Turismo 5, and the Unexplored the franchise has helped keep the console competitive. It also enjoyed huge end-of-life success with top-selling titles like Grand Theft Auto V and The last of us released in 2013, the same year the PS4 debuted. In total, the PS3 has sold nearly 87 million units.
4 Nintendo Wii – 101.53 million units
When it was first announced, some gamers scoffed at the idea of ââa game console using motion controls. Some felt it was a cheap gimmick, or that Nintendo was just desperate after the poor performance of the GameCube (which only sold 21.7 million units). However, critics were quickly wrong, as the console was released to rave reviews and sold for 101.53 million units.
Movement-based games like Wii fit, Wii Sports, and Just dance topped the sales charts, selling tens of millions of copies each. Besides motion games, the Wii also had some underrated games and under-the-radar hits including Donkey Kong Country Returns, Fluid movements of WarioWare, and more.
3 PlayStation – 104.25 million units
SONY’s first foray into the console world ended up changing the game forever. Compared to other systems of the day, like the SEGA Saturn and the N64, the PlayStation was a powerful console that seemed to come out game after game.
Of resident Evil at Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, Final fantasy, Tekken, and Solid metal gear, the console was completely unstoppable. The PlayStation has pushed gaming into the 3D age, forcing all other companies to catch up. In total, the PS1 has sold over 104 million units.
2 PlayStation 4 – 115.4 million units (and what matters)
The PS4 is the second best-selling gaming console of all time, crushing its competition, the Xbox One and the Wii U. In fact, the console can probably thank the Wii U’s failure to boost sales, as the consumers basically have a choice between PlayStation and Xbox. .
The console also had a regular line of highly regarded exclusive titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of the war, and the pursuit of Unexplored franchise, which has helped continue to give PlayStation the reputation of being the ultimate gaming machine. So far, the PS4 has sold over 115 million units, and it’s still on sale right now, so that number will continue to grow.
1 PlayStation 2 – 157.68 million units
The PlayStation destroyed the SEGA Saturn, and its successor, the PS2, completely wiped out SEGA’s attempted rebirth with the Dreamcast, forcing the company out of the console world forever. It was graphically superior to all the consoles that came before it and even included a built-in DVD player.
Additionally, the PS2 has come out with an endless array of blockbuster exclusive titles. The console has redesigned the Final fantasy series with Final Fantasy X and XII. They even managed to get Disney involved in the cross-play. Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2. A total of 157.68 million PS2 consoles were sold during the lifetime of the system.
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