Ever found yourself wondering, ‘what’s the best selling games console of all-time?’. I know we have. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the The 10 Best Selling Games Consoles Of All-Time.
For almost 50 years, home consoles have been a ubiquitous part of family life. When the Magnavox Odyssey was first introduced to households in 1972, no one could have predicted the incredible success that gaming consoles, and the companies that sold them, would have.
Fast forward to the late 80’s and the improvement and rapid uptake of home consoles contributed to the decline of arcades all throughout the world. Now, consoles are featured in so many homes that they’ve become one of the fastest growing and largest industries in the world.
Of course, present day consoles offer huge high-definition gaming and lightning fast graphics processors, but does that correlate to a higher volume of sales? In this article, we run through the 10 Best Selling Games Consoles Of All-Time. Do you think you can guess what will make the list?
10. Super Nintendo Entertainment System
49.1 Million Units
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was the follow up to the wildly successful Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The SNES was a 16-bit console that released between 1990 and 1993 in various countries. In Japan, the system was named, ‘Super Famicon’.
As hard as it is to believe now, the console market was even more convoluted in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Several companies tried to cash in on the 8-bit and 16-bit console success.
The SNES sold 49.1 million copies and is considered one of the all-time classic consoles.
The SNES featured some classic games, including: Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid & Donkey Kong Country.
9. Xbox One
51 million units
The Xbox One was the follow up to the Xbox 360. Debate will rage for years about how ‘One’ can come after ‘360’, but one thing no one will debate is that the Xbox One was a successful console for Microsoft.
The Xbox One was a step down in total sales from the Xbox 360 (although it is still selling, however, it’s unlikely to make up the gap), but a step up from the original Xbox.
The first generation of Xbox One, which was released in 2013, hasn’t aged as well as Microsoft would have liked. Towards the end of the consoles lifespan, the heavier, high-end games struggled against the 1st gen’s hardware power. However, the upgraded models, which launched a few years later, would prove to be some of the most powerful and most widely regarded consoles ever.
The Xbox One has thus far sold 51 million units. This is expected to grow slightly, although it’s unlikely to take over a new spot on this list.
8. Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was an 8-bit console that launched in Japan in 1983, before releasing in North America in 1985. The console was original called the ‘Family Computer’ (commonly known as the “Famicom”), upon its release in the Japanese market.
The NES was home to some of the greatest games of all-time. Super Mario Bros. (1, 2 & 3), The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Tetris & Kirby’s Adventure, all featured on the console.
The Nintendo Entertainment System sold 61.91 million copies during its lifespan.
7. Xbox 360
84 million units
The Xbox 360 is thus far the pinnacle of Xbox gaming – at least as far as units sold are concerned. The 360, which released in late 2005, has easily eclipsed both the original Xbox and Xbox One in sales.
It’s too early to tell whether the recently released Xbox Series X will catch up the 360, but based on sales of Xbox One units, you would imagine it would be a tall order.
The 360 greatly expanded on it’s online gaming offering, through the Xbox Live service. Earlier units of the 360 were famous for the “ring of death” which would appear on the consoles On/Off button, indicating critical failure.
Before it was discontinued in 2016, the Xbox 360 sold more than 84 million units.
6. Nintendo Switch
84.59 million units
The Nintendo Switch was what the Wii U should have been. The multi-purpose console is one of the most innovative pieces of technology that the console wars has ever seen. The Switch is both a console and a handheld device – the only hybrid console of its type in the Top 10 list.
The Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and has been a raging success for Nintendo. It has been home to some all-time classic games, including: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate & Mario Kart 8.
The Nintendo Switch is a direct competitor with the current generation Xbox Series X & PlayStation 5, despite mostly offering a different and unique style of gameplay.
In the 4 years since its release, the Switch has sold 84.59 million units. Consider the Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) has just been announced, I would expect this console to soon eclipse the PlayStation 3 in 5th spot.
5. PlayStation 3
87.4 million units
The PlayStation 3 (PS3) was the successor to the mighty PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 3’s lifespan ran from 2006 to 2016 (in Australia & North America) and 2017 (in Japan).
PlayStation was heavily criticised for the PS3’s early price tag, which retailed at $599 (USD). Despite criticisms of the price, the consoles capabilities helped usher in a new era of HD graphics. The jump in quality between the PS2 and PS3 was stark, although many felt that didn’t justify the early pricing.
Initial 60gb models of the PS3 allowed for backwards compatibility with the PS1 and PS2. Sony quickly realised that this was affecting the sale of their PS2 line, and future versions of the console only allowed for backwards compatibility with PS1 games.
As incredible as it is to believe, at 87.4 million units sold, the PlayStation 3 sold the least of the PlayStation line (not including the PS5).
4. Nintendo Wii
101.63 million units
When the Nintendo Wii made its appearance on retail shelves, it took the world by storm for a considerable time. It’s not unreasonable to say that the Wii revolutionised gaming consoles. The innovation motion sensor controller changed the way games were played for quite a long time in the mid to late 2000’s. The success of the Wii gave birth to the Xbox 360 Kinect & PS3 Move.
The Nintendo Wii debuted in 2006 and the line ran as late as 2013. The excited Nintendo console sold 101.63 million units and produced some classic motion sensor games such as Wii Sports, Wii Fit & Wii Resort.
102.49 million units
The PlayStation (currently referred to as the “PS1”), was the very first PlayStation console to be developed. The console first released in Japan in 1994, before being discontinued in favour of the PlayStation 2 in 2006. The console lived in two versions (PlayStation and PSOne), however, it’s 12 years of shelf life gives it the longest lifespan of any PlayStation console.
The PlayStation, along with the Nintendo 64, are often given credit for redefining the console gaming market. The consoles gave developers new capabilities and allowed for more immersive gameplay as the years progressed.
When the console was finally discontinued in 2006, it had sold 102.49 million units.
2. PlayStation 4
115.9 million units
The PlayStation 4 (along with the Xbox One) is the most contemporary of all the consoles on this list. Considering new consoles continue to be sold, it’s position at #2 is truly remarkable. The console was originally released in 2013, giving it – so far – an 8 year lifespan.
The PlayStation 4 (although not necessarily exclusively) introduced the world to games such as: Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us Part II & Ghost of Tsushima.
The PS4 has thus far sold 115.9 million units.
1. PlayStation 2
155 million units
So that brings us to the #1. Low and behold, that position belongs to Sony’s, PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 is easily the best selling gaming console of all-time. The console sold a barely believable 155 million units.
When you consider that the PS4 sold 40 million less units than the PS2, it seems highly unlikely that the PS5 will be able to go close to the 155 million mark.
The PS2 initially hit the shelves in 2000, releasing in Japan initially, before hitting North America, European and Australian shelves in the latter half of the year. It ran until 2013, before being discontinued in favour of the newer PlayStation 3.