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 best selling video game consoles worldwide (both home and portable systems) to see which one was really the most popular. After all, the sales numbers are all that really matter to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.
#14. Nintendo 64 (N64)
Worldwide Units Sold: 32,930,000
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.
#13. Sega Genesis
Worldwide Units Sold: 38,700,000
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.
#12. Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Worldwide Units Sold: 49,100,000
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.
#11. Nintendo 3DS
Worldwide Units Sold: 53,070,000
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 Entertainment System (NES)
Worldwide Units Sold: 61,910,000
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?
#9. Sony Playstation Portable (PSP)
Worldwide Units Sold: 80,000,000
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. Nintendo Game Boy Advance
Worldwide Units Sold: 81,510,000
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.
#7. Sony Playstation 3 (PS3)
Worldwide Units Sold: 83,800,000
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. Microsoft Xbox 360
Worldwide Units Sold: 84,000,000
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.
#5. Nintendo Wii
Worldwide Units Sold: 101,560,000
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.
#4. Sony Playstation
Worldwide Units Sold: 104,250,000
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.
#3. Nintendo Game Boy
Worldwide Units Sold: 118,690,000
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.
#2. Nintendo DS
Worldwide Units Sold: 154,010,000
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
Worldwide Units Sold: 157,680,000
The best selling game 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.
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.
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