We all remember our first video game console – the first system that had us glued to our TVs until our parents made us leave the house to get some fresh air.

Though these sentimental ties may bias our opinion of the “best system ever”, there is one that has outsold all of the others.

At SpecOut, we compiled a list of the top 27 best selling consoles of all time (both home and portable systems) to see which one was really the most popular. (Spoiler Alert: It’s the PS2)

After all, the sales numbers are all that really matter to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

Let’s dive right in!

Our Top 5 Favorite Best Selling Consoles

Before we explore what is the best selling console of all time, let’s start with the most fun we’ve tested so far:

  1. Sony PlayStation 2: Best for versatility. Top games: “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” “Final Fantasy X.”
  2. Nintendo DS: Great for innovation. Top games: “Mario Kart DS,” “The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.”
  3. Nintendo Switch: Best for flexibility. Top games: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” “Super Mario Odyssey.”
  4. Game Boy/Color: Iconic for portability. Top games: “Pokémon Yellow,” “Tetris.”
  5. Sony PlayStation: Pioneer of 3D gaming. Top games: “Final Fantasy VII,” “Metal Gear Solid.”

Now, without further ado, let’s find out the top 27 gaming console:

#27. Sega Dreamcast

Worldwide Units Sold: 9.13 million

Released: 1998

The Dreamcast, Sega’s last foray into the console market, introduced several innovations, including internet connectivity and a memory card with a screen. Despite its early lead in the sixth-generation console race and games like “Sonic Adventure” and “Shenmue,” it was ultimately overshadowed by its competitors.

#26. Sega Saturn

Worldwide Units Sold: 9.26 million

Released: 1994

Sega Saturn, known for its complex architecture, struggled in the Western market but found success in Japan. It’s remembered for its strong lineup of 2D games and arcade ports, including titles like “Panzer Dragoon Saga” and “Nights into Dreams.”

#25. Wii U

Worldwide Units Sold: 13.56 million

Released: 2012

The Wii U, a follow-up to the highly successful Wii, introduced the innovative GamePad controller with a screen. Despite featuring titles like “Mario Kart 8” and “Splatoon,” it struggled to find a broad audience, largely due to marketing and a confusing name.

#24. Sega Game Gear

Worldwide Units Sold: 13.9 million

Released: 1990

Sega’s Game Gear, a contemporary of the Nintendo Game Boy, offered a color screen in a portable format. Despite its advanced features and games like “Sonic the Hedgehog,” it was hampered by short battery life.

#23. PlayStation Vita (Sony)

Worldwide Units Sold: 14 million

Released: 2011

The PlayStation Vita was Sony’s attempt at taking on the portable gaming market with powerful hardware and a vibrant OLED screen. Although praised for its high-quality graphics and games like “Persona 4 Golden,” it couldn’t quite capture the market dominated by Nintendo.

#22. Sega Master System/Mark III

Worldwide Units Sold: 20 million

Released: 1985

The Sega Master System, known for its vibrant color palette and enhanced graphics, was particularly successful in Europe and Brazil. Despite its struggle in the US market against the NES, it’s fondly remembered for games like “Alex Kidd in Miracle World.”

#21. Xbox (Microsoft)

Worldwide Units Sold: 21 million

Released: 2001

Microsoft’s first entry into the console market, the original Xbox was a powerhouse with an internal hard drive. It brought us the “Halo” series, establishing a foothold in a market dominated by Japanese companies.

#20. Xbox Series X|S

Worldwide Units Sold: 21 million+

Released: 2020

Microsoft’s latest generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and S, offer powerful hardware and compatibility with a vast library of games through backward compatibility and the Game Pass subscription service. They continue to compete fiercely in the console market.

#19. GameCube

Worldwide Units Sold: 21.74 million

Released: 2001

Nintendo’s GameCube, known for its unique design and small disc format, focused on delivering high-quality games. Memorable titles include “The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker” and “Super Smash Bros. Melee.”

#18. Atari 2600

Worldwide Units Sold: 30 million

Released: 1977

The Atari 2600, a pioneer in the video game console market, is credited with popularizing the use of game cartridges. Its library included classics like “Space Invaders” and “Pac-Man,” setting the foundation for the modern gaming industry.

#17. Nintendo 64 (N64)

Worldwide Units Sold: 32,93 million
Released: 1996

The N64 was such an iconic system that you probably expected it to be higher than 14th on our list. While it might not be the best selling, it’s definitely one of the most memorable. From the first time you moved around in 3D on Super Mario 64 to blowing up your friends with proximity mines in GoldenEye 007, every 90s gamer has fond memories of this console.

#16. Sega Genesis

Worldwide Units Sold:38,7 million
Released: 1989

Also known as Mega Drive in Japan, the Sega Genesis was revolutionary in bringing the arcade to your home. This system is best remembered by the countless hours spent yelling at Sonic the Hedgehog and beating up friends in Mortal Kombat.

#15. PlayStation 5 (Sony)

Worldwide Units Sold: 40 million+

Released: 2020

Sony’s PlayStation 5 ushered in the next generation of gaming with its ultra-fast SSD and powerful graphics capabilities. It has quickly gained popularity with exclusive titles like “Demon’s Souls” and “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart,” despite initial supply challenges.

#14. Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

Worldwide Units Sold: 49,1 million
Released: 1991

Nintendo’s second home console ranks 12th in our best selling list. Game highlights included Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and of course, Super Mario Kart. Such beloved games are emulated and still played today. Some people became so familiar with games like Super Mario World that they could beat them blindfolded.

#13. Xbox One (Microsoft)

Worldwide Units Sold: 58 million

Released: 2013

The Xbox One, part of the eighth generation of consoles, focused on being an all-in-one entertainment system. It brought advancements in cloud gaming and integration with TV services, hosting games like “Forza Horizon 4” and “Gears 5.”

#12. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Worldwide Units Sold: 61,91 million
Released: 1985

Despite a smaller gaming market at the time, the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) had great sales numbers and turned the gaming industry around. Who can forget blowing into the cartridges to get dust out, or staying up all night trying to see how many levels Rampage actually had?

#11. Nintendo 3DS

Worldwide Units Sold: 75.94 million
Released: 2011

3D effects in a handheld device without wearing 3D glasses? Nintendo actually had the technology for years but it didn’t catch on until the Nintendo 3DS. Unveiled at E3 in 2010, the 3DS blew minds and frankly made some players dizzy.

Note: Sales include both 3DS and 3DS XL.

#10. Nintendo Game Boy Advance

Worldwide Units Sold: 81,51 million
Released: 2001

The Game Boy Advance (GBA) was a big step up from the Game Boy Color and brought 32-bit performance to Nintendo’s handheld arsenal while still allowing you to play old Game Boy games. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire might have been its most popular games, but Advance Wars was one of its more underrated titles.

#9. Sony Playstation Portable (PSP)

Worldwide Units Sold: 82.5 million
Released: 2004

The PSP had incredible graphics for a portable system at the time, and was really the only competitor to Nintendo in the handheld department.

#8. Microsoft Xbox 360

Worldwide Units Sold: 85 million
Released: 2005

Early versions of the Xbox 360 may have been plagued by the “red ring of death“, but that didn’t stop the Xbox successor from selling its way to 6th place overall.

#7. Sony Playstation 3 (PS3)

Worldwide Units Sold: 87,5 million
Released: 2006

Although it lost the sales battle with the Xbox 360 and the Wii, the PS3 still takes 7th in all-time sales numbers with its revolutionary (at the time) Blu-ray playing capabilities.

#6. Nintendo Wii

Worldwide Units Sold: 101,63 million
Released: 2006

Breaking into the top 5, the Nintendo Wii reminded gamers that we could have fun while exercising. The advanced accelerometer and infrared capabilities in the wii-motes made gameplay both fun and intuitive.

#5. Sony Playstation

Worldwide Units Sold: 117,2 million
Released: 1994

The Playstation was the first system in history to break the 100 million mark for global hardware units sold, and gave birth to Sony’s very successful family of consoles.

#4. Game Boy/Game Boy Color (Nintendo)

Worldwide Units Sold: 118,69 million
Released: 1989

It was such a simple device—a directional pad and 4 buttons—but the Game Boy defined portable gaming. From “the grey brick” all the way to the Color, Game Boy delighted fans with beloved games like Tetris, Super Mario Land, and of course, Pokemon.

Note: Sales include Pocket, Light, and Color editions.

#3. Nintendo Switch

Worldwide Units Sold: 129.53 million

Released: 2017

The Nintendo Switch revolutionized gaming with its hybrid design, functioning both as a home console and a portable device. Its innovative Joy-Con controllers and titles like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” have contributed to its massive success.

These descriptions follow the style of the existing entries, blending sales data with historical context and notable games.

#2. Nintendo DS

Worldwide Units Sold: 154,01 million
Released: 2006

Another Nintendo handheld earns a top 3 spot with its innovative dual-screen design. The DS added a new dimension to its games by leveraging its bottom touchscreen and included stylus to provide intuitive drawing interactions with players.

Note: Sales include DS lite.

#1. Sony Playstation 2 – The Best Selling Console Ever

Worldwide Units Sold: 159 million
Released: 2000

The best selling console of all time: the Playstation 2. Pitted against the Xbox and Gamecube, the PS2 rose to the top with thousands of game titles released and well over a billion game copies sold.

Note: Sales include PS2 Slim.

Final Thoughts

This comprehensive overview of the best selling consoles of all time not only reflects the dynamic history of video gaming but also highlights the evolution of technology and gaming preferences over the decades.

From the revolutionary Sony PlayStation 2 leading the pack to the innovative Nintendo Switch, each console has contributed uniquely to the industry.

These figures, encapsulating millions of units sold, offer a fascinating snapshot of the gaming landscape, illustrating how these consoles have shaped entertainment and left an indelible mark on both culture and technology.


The data used in this article was compiled from company announcements and investor relations reports. Sony and Microsoft stopped releasing individual console unit sales in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

In some cases, these numbers are based on the last official released numbers combined with additional sales figures. Nintendo kindly lists all of their data here.