With the news that the PlayStation 4 just hit a new sales milestone, we thought it'd be appropriate to look at the current rankings for 10 best-selling consoles of all-time. At this point we're expecting both the PS4 and Switch to rank high on this list by the time the generation is all said and done. But what about for now?
Here's the official list with some additional information for your viewing pleasure.
10. Sega Genesis
Total Sales: 31 million~
Release Date: October 29th, 1998 (JP), August 14th, 1989 (US)
Best Selling Game: Sonic the Hedgehog (15 million~)
Learn More: Read About The History Of The Genesis
Known as the Mega Drive outside of the U.S., the Genesis was the fourth console released by Sega. First released in Japan, it had a rough start due to its launch overlapping with Super Mario Bros. 3's (NES) release. It would soon find success in the West and live a healthy life during the 16-bit era, enough that Sega wouldn't cut manufacturing until 1997.
Known for being the home of Sonic the Hedgehog and ECCO the Dolphin, it would earn a large fan base even after the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was launched a year later.
9. Nintendo 64
Total Sales: 33 million~
Release Date: June 23rd, 1996 (JP), September 29th, 1996 (US)
Best Selling Game: Super Mario 64 (12 million~)
Learn More: Read About The Hilarous Nintendo 64 Kids
The Nintendo 64 represented the pinnacle of the bit wars, proudly donning its 64-bit capability in its name. Launching with one of the best software line-ups in history (Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64, etc.), it would experience incredible demand in its early months on the market.
However, Nintendo would soon find that its primary concern was competing with the new kid on the block, Sony. Equipped with a similar price tag but without CD capability, the Nintendo 64 would gravitate toward a state of indifference, earning a respectable volume of sales but losing handily to the PlayStation.
8. Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Estimated Sales: 49 million~
Release Date: November 21st, 1990 (JP), August 23rd, 1991 (US)
Best Selling Game: Super Mario World (20 million~)
Learn More: Read About The History Of Nintendo
In one of the strongest follow-ups in industry history, Nintendo debuted the SNES in 1990 to incredible fanfare. Competing against the "cool" reputation of the Sega Genesis, it would fight with what many experts consider to be the greatest software library of any console in history.
Its success would secure Nintendo the majority market share of its second generation in a row, in addition to gaining life-long fans.
7. Nintendo Entertainment System
Total Sales: 62 million~
Release Date: July 15th, 1983 (JP), October 18th, 1985 (US)
Best Selling Game: Super Mario Bros. (40 million~)
Learn More: Check Out These Funny Nintendo Memes
In 1983 it appeared that all hope was lost for the gaming industry as demand was down and development studios were closing doors at a rapid rate. Then came the NES with arcade classics Donkey Kong and Popeye. Although initially struggling to gain momentum, and even facing dire straights with hardware issues, it would soon see the demand that Nintendo hoped for.
Within two years it would release to the West with classics including Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, forever changing the landscape by demonstrating that consumers desire home consoles when they are well-designed.
6. Sony PlayStation 4
Total Sales: 70.6 million~ (November 2017)
Release Date: November 15th, 2013 (US), February 22nd, 2014 (JP)
Best Selling Game: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (4 million~)
Learn More: Read About The History Of PlayStation
The PS3's imperfections demonstrated PlayStation's vulnerability for all to see, and put Sony in a tough financial spot to start the eighth console generation. Investment in powerful hardware, attractive design, and first-party games would come to its rescue in 2013. The PS4 has seen incredible demand since its launch during that year, prolonged by two price reductions and the debut of game of the year contending exclusive titles (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Bloodborne).
It has become the first console to introduce a full mid-generation hardware upgrade SKU (PS4 Pro) and currently leads in market share by a large margin.
5. Microsoft Xbox 360
Total Sales: 84 million~
Release Date: November 22nd, 2005 (US), December 10th, 2005 (JP)
Best Selling Game: Kinect Adventures (24 million~)
Learn More: Read About The History Of Xbox
Microsoft made a daring second entry into the market by pushing the Xbox 360 onto store shelves in late 2005. Arriving with a large launch library filled with appealing games across many genres, it would soon become a phenomenon in the U.S. Though, it would hit a big snag once thousands of consumers began reporting hardware failure (Red Ring of Death). This would severely damage the brand's image over time, but Microsoft would fight back by continuing to innovate with its online features, remaining well ahead of the competition throughout the generation.
Home to a few of the most successful shooters of all-time, the Xbox 360 would experience success unlike anything Xbox had seen before, securing Microsoft a foothold in the market.
4. Sony PlayStation 3
Total Sales: 85 million~
Release Date: November 11th, 2006 (JP), November 17th, 2006 (US)
Best Selling Game: Grand Theft Auto V (22 million~)
Learn More: Read About How The PS3 Had No Games
Following up the best-selling console of all-time was no easy task. Sony certainly didn't handle the pressure well by introducing an unaffordable console with peculiar hardware (Cell Processor). It didn't help that it launched a year after the Xbox 360 and was slow to match Xbox Live's features.
Despite a rough start, the PS3 would turn things around a few years later as its price came down and its unequaled first-party support came to fruition with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and The Last of Us. It might now have a reputation for living a tough life, but it would manage to outsell the Xbox 360 globally by the end of the seventh generation of consoles.
3. Nintendo Wii
Total Sales: 102 million~
Release Date: November 19th, 2006 (US), December 2nd, 2006 (JP)
Best Selling Game: Wii Sports (83 million~)
Learn More: Read About The History Of The Wii
While the PS3 and Xbox 360 were content with pushing hardware specs and remaining grounded in traditional controller-driven gameplay, Nintendo saw opportunity for motion gaming to hit the masses. Its investment was well worth it, as the Nintendo Wii saw industry-leading demand the moment it arrived in stores. Driving interest from demographics typically not congruent with gaming, it became a hot topic in not only gaming circles, but mainstream media.
Following the middling performance of the Nintendo 64 and GameCube, it was a pivotal moment in Nintendo's history that demonstrated it can still innovate in world-altering ways.
2. Sony PlayStation
Total Sales: 103 million~
Release Date: December 3rd, 1994 (JP), September 9th, 1995 (US)
Best Selling Game: Gran Turismo (11 million~)
Learn More: Check Out These PlayStation Memes
Arriving at a time when game cartridges were industry standard, Sony's PlayStation would arrive on the scene to show the world what the future entailed. Using CDs as game discs, its media storage capacity was well beyond what the industry was used to. The seemingly small innovation opened up the doors to new gaming experiences which could now host Full Motion Video and other storage heavy applications. Its 32-bit 3D graphics capabilities were a revolution a the time, breaking away from sprites and showing game worlds in a way that hadn't yet been seen before.
Although its early software library left much to be desired, by the end of 1998 that would change dramatically with Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, and several other titles that are now considered some of the best in history.
1. Sony PlayStation 2
Total Sales: 156 million~
Release Date: March 4th, 2000 (JP), October 26th, 2000 (US)
Best Selling Game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (28 million~)
Learn More: Read About The History Of The PS2's Evolution
The fact that the PlayStation 2 stands more than 50 million units sold ahead of any other home console speaks of its character. Arriving at a time when DVD was still a new format, Sony's second console was the complete entertainment package. Gamers would find its software library unequaled thanks to a large roster of third-party exclusives, while the average consumer enjoyed it for its simple DVD playback capability.
Its demand was made clear by its resale value at launch which surpassed $3000. Its high perceived value would remain for more than a decade, during which it evolved into a smaller, much more efficient and affordable product. Its period of manufacture (13 years) still stands as the longest in industry history, and its best games have been remastered to remind gamers why it was such a special console.