Nintendo 64 – 32.93 million
Released in 1996, the Nintendo 64 is the Japanese company’s fourth best selling home console and is home to some of the most iconic video games of all time. As well as being the place to play the ’64’ versions of Mario Kart and Super Mario, the Nintendo 64 introduced 007 Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros to the gaming world.
Classics such as two Legend of Zelda games, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, also made their debut on the console. For some people, the three-pronged controller is an odd design that was awkward to hold, but the quality of games and experiences on the console more than make up for it.
PlayStation 4 – Over 35 million
It is a testament to the current generation of consoles that the PlayStation 4 is the ninth biggest selling console of all time, less than three years after its release. Sony confirmed in January that they had sold over 35 million units of their new console, however the figure is probably nearer 40 million at the moment and increasing rapidly.
All the multi-console releases such as Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, and Metal Gear Solid V can be played on the PS4, as well as unique exclusives such as Bloodborne and Until Dawn. The future also looks bright for the PlayStation 4, with Uncharted 4 just over a month away and PlayStation VR releasing later this year.
Sega Genesis – 43.644 million
Originally released in Japan in 1988, a couple of years before the SNES, the Sega Genesis, or Sega MegaDrive everywhere other than North America, is the home of many huge Sega franchises. The best selling game on the system was Sonic the Hedgehog (15 million), followed by Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (6 million). The 43 million unit figure includes all versions of the console, throughout the world.
The 16-bit console was the third Sega home console and sales were quite slow following its release. This was partially thanks to the fact that Nintendo released Super Mario Bros 3 in early October 1988 which overshadowed the release of the Genesis a week later. Sales picked up over the following years, as it released in other territories, reaching over 43 million.
SNES – 49.1 million
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was initially released in 1990 and was Nintendo’s second home console. It rivalled the Sega Genesis and has sold nearly 50 million units to date, more than its rivals. The 16-bit console released quite late in the generation but remained popular well into the 32-bit era and is still popular with collectors and retro gamers.
By far the best selling game on the system was Super Mario World which sold more than 20 million copies. However, the console had a library of great games that first appeared on the console with Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter 2, and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past just to name a few.
NES – 61.91 million
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was Nintendo’s first home console and second biggest selling to date. The 8-bit console was released in Japan in 1983 and has sold over 60 million units to date. Some of the most highly rated games of all time debuted on the NES. The lists includes: Super Mario Bros 1, 2, and 3; Tetris; and the original Legend of Zelda.
The NES helped revitalize the video game industry in the US and introduced the now-standard business model of licensing third-party games. It may be the fifth biggest selling but many gamers consider the NES to be the godfather of consoles that came after it.
Xbox 360 – Over 80 million
Initially released in 2005, a year before the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360 began its generation as the more popular option. It wasn’t as powerful as the PlayStation 3, nor did it have a built-in Blu-ray player, but its strong launch line-up and relatively low price made it popular among gamers.
Developing Xbox Live to make online gaming one of the biggest parts of the future of the industry was one of Microsoft’s greatest achievements on the Xbox 360. Wireless controllers, Kinect that released a few years later, and the continuation of the Halo, Gears of War, and Forza franchises made the Xbox 360 the best gaming option at the time.
PlayStation 3 – Over 80 million
Part of the last generation of consoles, the PlayStation 3 had a slow start. Releasing a year after Microsoft’s rival console, at a significantly higher price, it had a lot of ground to make up. It benefited by doubling as a Blu-ray player, even if it was a factor in it being so expensive.
However, as time went on, the price reduced and some excellent games were released helping it make up the ground on the rival consoles. The Uncharted series, The Last of Us, and so many third party franchises (Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare) that are now huge parts of the industry began on the PlayStation 3. What started as an overly expensive, disappointing machine eventually became a highly respected console.
There are conflicting figures for the sales numbers of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Whilst some sources suggest that the Xbox remains the biggest seller, others argue that Sony’s console recently overtook the 360 to become the best selling of the two.
Wii – 101.59 million
The Nintendo Wii is one of three consoles to sell more than 100 million units. However, the Wii is different to most other consoles as its popularity was largely due to how unique it was at the time. The rival consoles (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) did not offer motion control at release, nor did they offer as many family-friendly experiences as the Wii.
Wii Sports was in so many living rooms during the Christmas period of 2006. Bowling, tennis, boxing, and golf could now be played by children, seasoned gamers, and grandparents to the same level. The novelty wore off quite quickly but by then you could find a Wii in the houses of most of your friends. If it wasn’t so difficult to find at the time of its release it could have pipped our next entry to the #2 spot.
PlayStation – 102.49 million
The first PlayStation was released in 1994 and it began the famous series of Sony created consoles. It was the first home console to sell more than 100 million units – it did so in just under 10 years. It was a favorite of gamers because of its impressive 3D visuals and excellent gaming experiences.
Games such as Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil, Crash Bandicoot, and Tomb Raider first appeared on the original PlayStation. It may be the console that began to make PlayStation what it is today but it is not the best selling Sony console to have been released.
PlayStation 2 – 156 million
The PlayStation 2 is by far and away the greatest selling home console of all time, selling over 50 million units more than any other console. Released in 2000, at the turn of the millennium, the PlayStation 2 featured the Grand Theft Auto series, the God of War series, and the continuation of franchises such as Gran Turismo and Final Fantasy.
The PS2 also had three rival consoles, more than any other PlayStation console – the Sega Dreamcast, the Xbox, and the Nintendo Gamecube. The console remained popular well into the next generation and Sony did not end production until January 2013. Nearly 4000 games have been released for the console, selling more than 1.5 billion copies. The console’s statistics are incredible and many gamers will get all nostalgic when its name is mentioned in conversation.
How many of these consoles have you owned? Let us know in the comments.