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Best Selling Consoles of All Time

Published 05/23/2020, 6:12 AM EDT

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Every few years, we get a new generation of gaming consoles. With it comes a new wave of games that boast of better visuals, mechanics, gameplay, and overall immersive experience. While Sony has historically ruled the roost with their PlayStation, it now heads some healthy competition from Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo. Each has its own share of a passionate and loyal fan base.

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The debate about the best console will rage on for ages and there can never be one try answer to it. However, a good indication of gauging how well a particular console was developed, is the sales.

As we wait for our next-gen consoles in PS5 and Xbox Series X, we take a look at the top 5 best selling consoles of all time. It is also a good gauge of the significant changes brought in by a new generation.


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5. PlayStation – 102.49 million units

The first PlayStation is the fifth highest-selling gaming console of all time. Sony launched PS1 back in 1994 in Japan, followed by a launch in North America in 1995. It was in direct competition with a top of the line gaming consoles of that time like  Sega Saturna and Nintendo 64. Over the course of its life, the PS1 sold over 102.4 million units worldwide.

One of the reasons behind its success over Nintendo and Sega was certainly the fact that it provided support for third-party development. Naturally, this made collaborations more streamlined and smooth. In the end, neither Nintendo 64 nor Saturn could truly compete with it.


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4. PlayStation 4  – 110.4 million units

It would have been shocking if a current-generation console did not feature in the top 5 list. Sony’s latest console, PlayStation 4, sits on the fourth spot with a whopping 110.4 million units sold in about seven years since its launch. Its direct competition is Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Yet again, though, it was hardly a close run; the total combined sales of Switch and Xbox One only figure up to about 102 million units.

The pre-orders for PS4 alone were in excess of a million units, while launch day saw a million more in sales in North America alone. The sales have continued to be very strong through the life-cycle of the console. This is hardly surprising, given the drool-worthy lineup of games on PS4.

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3. Game Boy + Game Boy Color – 118.69 million units

Nintendo’s handheld, 8-Bit console, Game Boy, remains its second most successful invention. First released way back in 1989, Game Boy was expected to face some serious competition from the technically superior Lynx by Atari. However, Game Boy’s bundled games like Tetris, along with its sturdy hardware and long battery life sky-rocketed its sales well beyond Lynx and others. Add to that the color edition of the console, and the sales were always going to impress.


2. Nintendo DS – 154.9 million units

The first Nintendo DS, launched in 2004, along with its successive iterations in Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi, which  sold a combined total of 154.9 million units. The console garnered over 3 million pre-orders in North America and Japan alone. It remains Nintendo’s most successful gaming console to date, which is saying something.

Its current generation console, Nintendo Switch, is still about 100 million units behind the DS, with 55 million units sold as of now. Let’s see if Switch can compete with DS in the coming years.


And now, for the best-selling gaming console of all time. Once again, Sony takes the prize.

1. PlayStation 2 – 155 million units


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Sony’s second entry in the PlayStation series also ranks as the most successful gaming rig in history. It was launched in 2000 and continued its production all the way through to 2013. This time around, the PS had one more competition alongside Sega’s Dreamcast and Nintendo’s GameCube, which was Microsoft’s Xbox. However, it mattered little, ultimately, as the PS2 sold over 155 million units and over 1.5 billion copies of games sold.

Two decades since it launched, and no console has beaten it yet. Let’s see if the next-gen consoles coming out this year can compete for the top spot.


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Which console did you enjoy the most over the years?

Will Microsoft manage to get among the top 5 with Xbox Series X, or will it be PS5 that rules the market once again?

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Written by:

Samir Satam


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