Entertainment writer. Loves games, movies, and comics. Also loves talking in the third person
People like to think that gaming is this niche hobby, and maybe that was the case in the past, but we tend to forget that people all over the world like to play video games. And it’s never more clear than when you look at the sales of home video game consoles. Tens of millions of units sold, but which is the most-sold console of all time?
The top-selling consoles of all time are all iconic, but only one can be the most sold. So, who’s number one?
The Game Boy Advance isn’t only one of the top selling consoles of all time, but it’s also one of the best looking. The Game Boy Advance was the successor to the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Released in 2001, the Game Boy Advance would make waves and sell 81.5 million units worldwide.
It's easy to see why with its iconic line-up of video games that include Pokemon: Ruby and Sapphire, the Super Mario Advance series, and other Mario games that include Mario Kart and Mario and Luigi.
Released in Japan in 2004, and the rest of the world in 2005, PSP was Sony’s first foray into handheld consoles. The PSP had it all, you could play video games or even watch movies on your handheld console. One of the first times I watched the movie Superbad was on the PSP, not to mention the incredible games that the PSP offered.
Tekken, God of War, Monster Hunter, and GTA all were incredible titles that left lasting impressions on us. Although the PSP’s successors weren’t as popular, I think Sony could take solace in the fact that the PSP sold approximately 81.9 million units.
The official Sony website states that the PSP sold 76 million units as of 2012, but it would continue to be sold for a few more years. The exact number of units sold isn’t known, only rough estimations.
Out of all the consoles on this list, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve spent more hours playing my Xbox 360 than any other console. Microsoft released it in 2005, and it was a whole new world for me and for many people. The successor to the original Xbox, Xbox 360 was a smash hit.
In a 2014 article, Xbox casually mentioned that the Xbox 360 sold 84 million units. Microsoft would stop production of the console two years later. But the memories the games gave us will stay with us, games and franchises such as Call of Duty, GTA, Halo, and Gears of War.
Xbox 360 is by far Microsoft’s most sold console, but the Xbox Series X is still in its infancy, so we’ll see if it lives up to its big legacy.
Competing with the Xbox 360, was Sony’s PlayStation 3. Released a year after the 360, Sony would edge out the competition by selling 87.4 million units. Even though that number is gigantic, the PlayStation 3 is still the lowest selling console in the main PlayStation line. The PS3 would also have different evolutions with Sony introducing the Slim model and the Super Slim model.
The PS3 would continue to be shipped out until 2016 when Sony ended shipping to North America. The next year, Sony would officially announce that shipping had also ended in Japan, thus ending its 12-year run.
The PlayStation 3 was overflowing with great games and franchises. The Uncharted series, God of War series, and The Last of Us, all left a lasting mark on the gaming community. And of course we have to mention games such as Ratchet and Clank and Gran Turismo.
One of the most unique consoles, the Nintendo Wii was wildly different from its contemporaries. It was released in 2006, and although the Nintendo Wii wasn’t the first console to integrate motion control, it was the most mainstream.
It seemed that everybody was enthralled by Nintendo’s new hit console. People who weren’t into the gaming scene, and even people who had never shown interest in video games had a good time playing the Wii.
Even now on the internet people still reference and make jokes about the Wii; its theme song has become a staple in internet culture. And any conversation about the Wii has to mention its most popular game, Wii Sports. Although a lot of its popularity stems from the fact that the game came with the console, Wii sports is so simple and fun it would’ve been a hit either way.
Released in Japan in 1994, the PlayStation was Sony’s first-ever console. Directly competing with the Sega Saturn, the PlayStation would go on to not only outsell the competition but outsell most consoles. In its lifetime, the PlayStation would sell 102.4 million units, and launch Sony as a legitimate name in the video game industry.
A big part of Sony’s success was the impressive games and franchises it had. Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Gran Turismo would make their debuts on the PlayStation. And franchises such as Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, and Tekken would all release incredible titles.
The newest console on the list, the PS4 outsold its predecessor, the PS3, by roughly 30 million units. It would outsell its direct competitor, the Xbox One, by over 70 million units.
The PS4 debuted a number of new features including its controller, the DualShock 4, which had a touchpad in the middle of the controller. It also allowed for motion control to be integrated in games. Games such as Until Dawn incorporated both.
Some of the PS4’s most popular games were a part of long-standing PlayStation franchises. Games like God of War, Uncharted, and Gran Turismo once again made waves with their games. Other standout titles were Marvel’s Spider-Man and The Last of Us Part 2.
Nintendo’s second leap into handheld consoles, the Game Boy was released in 1989, 9 years after Nintendo’s first handheld console, Game and Watch.
The Game Boy would become a massive hit selling over 118.69 million units. The Game Boy would be the forefather for the rest of Nintendo’s handheld consoles including the Game Boy Advance, the DS, and the 3DS.
The Game Boy had an incredible line-up of games that are still cherished to this day. Super Mario Land, Pokemon Red and Blue, Kirby’s Dream Land, and The Legend of Zelda were all incredible games/franchises that were featured on the Game Boy.
Talking about the Game Boy’s legacy, the Nintendo DS was the successor to the Game Boy Advance. The DS compounded on its predecessors. Featuring two screens, including one that was touch screen, the original DS was also backwards compatible with the Game Boy Advance games.
During its 9 year run, the game had dozens of great games including a number of Mario games. Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario and Luigi, and New Super Mario Bros. all were amazing titles.
We’d also be attacked if we didn’t mention games such as The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. The Nintendo DS remains the most sold console of all time for Nintendo.
Skimming out the Nintendo DS by one million units, the PlayStation 2 is the best-selling console of all time. If Sony was happy about the first PlayStation’s sales, they were ecstatic about the PlayStation 2’s sales. Selling 155 Million Units, the PS2 has surpassed all other home consoles by a wide margin.
The closest one is PS4 and it’s behind by 40 million units.
Released in 2000, the PlayStation would have a substantial life, being discontinued after 13 years.
To put that into perspective, it was discontinued the same year the PS4 was released.
According to Techidence, the PS2’s best-selling franchise was Grand Theft Auto. And the best selling game of all time was GTA San Andreas with 17.33 million units sold.
They also state that Gran Turismo 3 and 4 aren’t far behind with 14.89 million units and 11.76 million units respectively. PS2 is the most sold console of all time, and only time will tell if another console will ever match its popularity.
Taking a look at the top-selling consoles of all times gives a good insight into how popular gaming really is. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X still being fairly new, only time will tell if they’ll place on the top ten list.
Check out this interview with John Roo, the Solo Indie Game developer behind Quest Arrest, below.
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.