With the holiday season upon us, it appears each modern-day video game console is primed to do more big numbers. While this is nothing new to video gaming throughout most of the past three decades, the sheer numbers are telling of just how much the industry has grown and how much more it may grow before it levels off.
The original “must have” game console was the Atari Video Computer System, later called the Atari 2600. While it didn’t catch on right away, the 2600 was the clear sales leader of the early generations, selling around 30 million units in it’s lifetime, six times more than competing consolesIntellivision and ColecoVision sold combined.
Even with such numbers, however, the lifetime figures of Atari’s classic console have been beaten many times over. While 1996’s Nintendo 64 failed to catch on like retailers had hoped, it still managed to outsell the 2600 in the end my almost 3 million units. Nonetheless, it was tagged a failure by Nintendo compared to previous consoles.
The biggest Nintendo console for some time was theNintendo Entertainment System, which moved almost 62 million consoles in it’s lifetime, saving the video game industry in North America. Only recently did Nintendo manage to defeat it’s own sales record with the Nintendo Wii, which has now hit the 90 million unit mark.
The NES may come down the lifetime charts by the end of some other console runs, however. The XBox 360 is nearing the 58 million unit mark with Sony’s PlayStation 3 not far behind it with over 55 million units sold as of this writing.
Even though it is in last place in the current console generation, the PlayStation 3 may still reach the top five selling consoles of all time by the end of it’s run, giving Sony three of the best selling consoles ever. The PlayStation 2rules the roost with a whopping 153.5 million units sold, a mark that beat Sony’s own record with the originalPlayStation, which shipped over 102 million consoles.
While this article isn’t including handhelds it is interesting to note that the Nintendo DS has sold 149 million units (not including the 3DS model), a number that means it’s already trumped the unreal sales numbers of the original GameBoyhandhelds that had ruled the market for over a decade.
Here is a list of the top selling consoles of all time, according to Wikipedia. Where do your favorite systems rank?
1. Sony PlayStation 2 (2000) – 153.5 million
2. Sony PlayStation (1994) – 102.49 million
3. Nintendo Wii (2006) – 89.36 million *
4. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985) – 61.91 million
5. Microsoft XBox 360 (2005) – 57.6 million *
6. Sony PlayStation 3 (2006) – 55.5 million *
7. Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1990) – 49.10 million
8. Sega Genesis (1988) – 39 million
9. Nintendo 64 (1996) – 32.93 million
10. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – 30 million
11. Microsoft XBox (2001) – 24 million
12. Nintendo GameCube (2001) – 21.74 million
13. Sega Dreamcast (1998) – 10.6 million
14. NEC TurboGrafx-16 (1987) – 10 million
15. Sega Saturn (1994) – 9.5 million
* = Console still in production as of press time.