The Best-Selling Video Game Consoles of All Time
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The Best-Selling Video Game Consoles of All Time


Sony’s PlayStation 2 has long reigned as the best-selling video game console of all time. PS4, despite its massive sales success, ended its run roughly 40 million units behind its older sibling. And while it, too, is still a long way from the top, Switch’s extraordinary sales performance has earned it a spot on the podium of best-selling consoles.

With Switch and PS4 having secured their spots among the all-time best-selling consoles, we set out to discover how the rest of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft’s hardware stack up. Scroll down or click through the gallery below for our list of the 28 best-selling video game consoles of all time, with additional information on release dates, highest-rated games, and more.

(Some sales figures come straight from the hardware manufacturers, while others are estimated based on the most recently reported numbers and market analysis. Unofficial sales totals are marked with an asterisk (*). The highest-rated games, meanwhile, come from Metacritic.)

If you only care about the biggest sellers, here’s the TL;DR Top 5 Best-Selling Consoles list, in order. Scroll down for more details and breakdowns:

  1. PlayStation 2 (Sony) – 159 million*
  2. Nintendo DS (Nintendo) – 154.02 million
  3. Nintendo Switch (Nintendo) – 139.36 million
  4. Game Boy/Game Boy Color (Nintendo) – 118.69 million
  5. PlayStation 4 (Sony) – 117.2 million

28. Sega Dreamcast – 9.13 million*

*According to Sega’s 2001 annual report, lifetime sales for the console had hit 8.2 million by March 31, 2001 — the day Sega ended Dreamcast production. In the first half of the following fiscal year, the company reported it had sold an additional 130,000 units in Japan and 530,000 in the U.S, bringing the sales total up to 8.86 million. Remaining inventory for those two territories at the time, according to that same report, totaled 270,000 units. We know, thanks to Sega’s 2002 annual report, it eventually sold through all of that remaining inventory, bringing our sales total up to 9.13 million.

Now, the only figures missing are sales and inventory in Europe and Asia (outside of Japan) after March 31, 2001. However, we can seemingly discount Europe, as remaining European inventory was sold to Bigben Interactive around the time production ended. It’s unknown how many units were left in Asia, though it’s likely a fairly insignificant number considering it was the lowest performing of those four markets. As such, we’re sticking with the known total of 9.13 million.

27. Sega Saturn – 9.26 million*

*As of March 31, 1998, Saturn had sold 8.8 million units when it was discontinued in the U.S. That was the last official update from Sega, though the console would continue to be sold in Japan for another two years. 9.26 million is the final estimate given by research firm CESA. While we don’t have any official numbers to bridge that gap between 8.8 and 9.26 million, CESA’s Dreamcast estimate proved accurate (according to our math), and so we’re going to accept its Saturn total as the best available guess.

26. Wii U – 13.56 million

With 13.56 million units sold, according to official sales data, Wii U is Nintendo’s worst-selling console of all time by a wide margin. However, as former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé told CNN, the lessons learned from Wii U were crucial in propelling the Switch to success.

25. Sega Game Gear – 13.9 million*

*There are several Game Gear sales totals floating around the web: 10.62 million (from a data compilation on NeoGAF), 12 million (from late Sega executive Joe Miller), and “about” 14 million (from former Sega president Hideki Sato). Considering those three sources, we’ve opted to go with the company’s former president, assuming “about” means slightly less than 14 million.

24. PlayStation Vita – 14 million*

*Despite a dedicated fanbase, Sony’s follow-up to the PSP failed to gain a similar foothold in the handheld market, falling well short of its predecessor’s sales total. Sony stopped reporting sales figures for Vita fairly early on in its lifecycle, though estimates — from news outlets and industry analysts — put the total somewhere between 10 and 15 million. Gamesindustry.biz reported Vita “sold south of” 15 million units, yet ended its run “marginally ahead” of Wii U, leading us to our rough estimate of 14 million.

23. Sega Master System/Mark III – 20 million*

*According to a compilation on NeoGAF of available sales data, Master System sold 6.2 million units in Europe. In Brazil, its biggest market, sales reached over 8 million, bringing our total to 14.2 million. Estimates for sales in Japan and the U.S., meanwhile, generally sit around 2 million per territory. Accounting for another 2 million in remaining territories — such as Australia and South Korea, where the console reportedly sold fairly well —we arrive at our final estimate of 20 million.

22. Xbox – 21 million*

*While Microsoft hasn’t announced an official sales total for the original Xbox, an archived post from the official Xbox website states “more than 24 million Xbox consoles” had been sold as of May 2006. Total Xbox 360 sales at that time had just hit 3.3 million units, according to GamesIndustry.biz, leading us to our estimate of 21 million for the original system.

21. Xbox Series X|S – 21 million+*

While Microsoft has maintained a policy of not disclosing console sales totals since 2015, the company seemingly revealed Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One figures during a presentation at the 2023 Best International Games Festival in Brazil. According to an image posted to Twitter on June 29, Xbox Series X|S has thus far sold over 21 million units. This is likely partially thanks to the success of Xbox Game Pass.

*We’re keeping the asterisk on this sales total as we work to verify the figure with Microsoft.

20. GameCube – 21.74 million

The GameCube ended its run with 21.74 million units sold, according to Nintendo’s official numbers, making it the company’s second-worst-selling console to date. However, with 208.57 million software units sold, the number of GameCube games sold per console is the highest for any Nintendo system at 9.59.

19. Atari 2600 – 30 million*

*The oldest console on this list, Atari 2600 sold an impressive 30 million units in its lifetime, according to an archived version of a press release from Atari partner AtGames. The 2600 is by far Atari’s most successful console, with none of its successors — 5200, 7800, and Jaguar — selling enough units to qualify for this list.

18. Nintendo 64 – 32.93 million

Nintendo’s third home console ended its run with just under 33 million units sold, according to official sales numbers from the company. N64 Software sales fell just shy of 225 million units, giving it the lowest number of games sold per system (6.83) for a Nintendo home console.

See our picks for the best N64 games ever made.

17. Sega Genesis/Mega Drive – 35 million*

*The sales total of Sega Genesis/Mega Drive is a topic of much debate among game historians. The actual figure is impossible to lock down given the lack of concrete data, but estimates generally range from 30 to 40 million units. Aforementioned Sega executive Joe Miller once said system sales were over 40 million, though that number is highly contested and seemingly contradicted by Sega’s available sales data. Compilations of that data — from internet researchers and professional research firms — show first-party console sales hit somewhere between 28 and 31 million units.

Add in estimated third-party console sales from companies such as TecToy in Brazil (where the console performed well into the 2010s) and Majesco in North America, and we arrive at our ballpark figure of 35 million — a number seemingly corroborated by a 2017 press release from Sega partner AtGames.

16. SNES/Super Famicom – 49.10 million

This sales figure comes directly from Nintendo. While the SNES fell short of its predecessor in terms of sales, the console is remembered fondly for its expansive library of high-quality games, including those listed above. 379 million units of software were sold for the system. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System — or Super Famicom as it’s known in Japan — often tops “best console” lists thanks to its massive third-party support and iconic single- and multiplayer games.

15. PlayStation 5 – 50 million+

PlayStation 5 is another massive success for Sony, selling over 50 million units as of December 9, 2023. A semiconductor chip shortage restricted Sony’s capacity to manufacture new PS5s during its first two years on the market, though the console is now readily available and tracking with the sales pace of PS4, which went on to sell 117 million units.

See our picks for the best PS5 games below.