Switch Passes 3DS on List of All-Time Best-Selling Consoles

PlayStation 2 has long reigned as the best-selling video game console of all time, and it’s in no danger of losing that crown. Despite the runaway success of PlayStation 4 over the past seven years, Sony is still roughly 40 million units away from overtaking its own top spot, while Nintendo’s runaway success with Switch still puts it well behind even PS4.

So while PlayStation 4 and Switch continue to secure their spots among the best-selling consoles of all time, we set out to discover how the rest of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft’s hardware stack up. To do so, we compiled a list of the 15 best-selling video game consoles of all time, with additional information on release dates, highest-rated games (according to Metacritic), 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 (*).)

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15. Xbox One – 41 million*

XOne

Initial release date: November 22, 2013 (NA, EU, AU, SA)

Production status: Ongoing

Highest-rated games: Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

*Microsoft stopped reporting Xbox One sales in October 2015, opting to “look at engagement” as a “key metric for success,” according to a Microsoft spokesperson (via Variety). However, according to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad (via ResetEra), the Xbox One family — Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X — combined to sell roughly 41 million units by the end of 2018. That number has certainly grown since then, but it’s unclear how many additional units were sold in 2019 and 2020.

14. SNES/Super Famicom – 49.10 million

SNES

Initial release date: November 21, 1990 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid

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

13. NES/Famicom – 61.91 million

NES

Initial release date: July 15, 1983 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games (according to IGN; Metacritic data not available): Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo’s official numbers put NES sales at over 61 million units. The most senior entry on this list, Nintendo’s first console went on to generate over 500 million units of software sales.

12. Nintendo 3DS – 75.94 million

3DS

Initial release date: February 26, 2011 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Fire Emblem: Awakening, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

This sales figure comes directly from Nintendo and is current as of December 31, 2020. It encompasses total sales for all systems within the 3DS family, which includes all variations of Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS. To date, the handheld family has generated 385 million units of software sales.

11. Nintendo Switch – 79.87 million

Nintendo Switch

Initial release date: March 3, 2017 (Worldwide)

Production status: Ongoing

Highest-rated games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

As of December 31, 2021, Switch has sold nearly 80 million units, according to Nintendo, with 13.53 million of those being the handheld-only Switch Lite. To date, over 530 million software units have been sold for Switch. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remains the console’s best-selling game, with over 33 million copies sold.

10. PlayStation Portable – 80 million*

PSP

Initial release date: December 12, 2004 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: God of War: Chains of Olympus, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable

*Sony last reported an official sales total for PSP in 2012, when it announced the handheld had sold 76 million units. The system would continue to be produced for an additional two years, during which time it’s unclear exactly how many units were sold. Estimates for lifetime sales generally sit around 80 million, with some reports coming in closer to 82 million, which would put it above Nintendo’s GBA. However, sticking with the more-conservative estimate of 80 million, PSP comes in as the 10th-best-selling console of all time.

9. Game Boy Advance – 81.51 million

GBA

Initial release date: March 21, 2001 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

This official sales figure comes directly from Nintendo. The company also notes software sales for the handheld closed at 377 million units.

8. Xbox 360 – 85 million*

X360

Initial release date: November 22, 2005 (NA)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V, BioShock

*In June 2014, Microsoft reported it had shipped 84 million Xbox 360s to retailers. While Microsoft stopped reporting specific sales figures in 2015, the system remained in production for nearly two years. During that two-year period, we can safely assume Microsoft converted that 84 million figure from sell-in to sell-through, while, conservatively estimating, moving an additional one million units. If accurate, that would place Xbox 360 in the eighth spot on the list of best-selling consoles.

7. PlayStation 3 – 87.5 million*

PS3

Initial release date: November 11, 2006 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

*As of March 31, 2017, PS3 had sold 87.4 million units, according to Sony. The system would remain in production through May of that same year. With that in mind, it’s likely PS3 ended its run with somewhere between 87 and 88 million units sold, leaving us with our conservative estimate of 87.5

6. Nintendo Wii – 101.63 million

Wii

Initial release date: November 19, 2006 (NA)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

According to official sales figures from Nintendo, Wii ended its run as the fifth-best-selling console of all time. With over 100 million systems sold, Wii generated 920 million units of software sales — the second most for any Nintendo console.

5. PlayStation – 102.4 million

PS1

Initial release date: December 3, 1994 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Tekken 3, Gran Turismo

According to Sony, the original PlayStation’s final sales total sits at 102.4 million, with over 960 million software units sold. This makes it the third-best-selling Sony console ever, as it was recently surpassed by PlayStation 4.

4. PlayStation 4 – 113.8 million

PS4

Initial release date: November 15, 2013 (NA)

Production status: Ongoing

Highest-rated games: Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us Remastered

PlayStation 4 has dominated the eighth generation of consoles. As of September 30, 2020, Sony has shipped 113.8 million PS4s. It holds the title of “fastest home console to reach 100 million unit sell in,” according to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, beating PS2 to the milestone by two months. To date, more than a billion software units have been sold for the console.

3. Game Boy/Game Boy Color – 118.69 million

Game Boy

Initial release date: April 21, 1989 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (Metal Gear Solid), Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

This sales figure comes directly from Nintendo and includes sales of both the original Game Boy and subsequent Game Boy Color. 501 million units of software were sold for the console — good for third on Nintendo’s all-time software list.

2. Nintendo DS – 154.02 million

DS

Initial release date: November 21, 2004 (NA)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Flipnote Studio, Chrono Trigger

This sales figure comes directly from Nintendo and encompasses total sales for all systems within the DS family, including the original model, DS Lite, and DSi. Nintendo DS is also the company’s best-performing system in terms of software sales, with nearly 950 million games sold.

1. PlayStation 2 – 159 million*

PS2

Initial release date: March 4, 2000 (JP)

Production status: Ended

Highest-rated games: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, Grand Theft Auto III, Resident Evil 4

*PlayStation 2 remains the best-selling video game console of all time. Sony’s beloved system tops Nintendo DS by roughly 5 million units sold, while handily outselling every other console in existence. As of January 31, 2011, Sony had sold 150 million PS2s to retailers. While that was the last official total reported, the console would remain in production through early 2013. Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad (via ResetEra) noted sales climbed to 155.1 million through March 2012. Our grand total of 159 million was reached using Ahmad’s continued logic:

“In the fiscal year ending March 2013 a total of 16.5 million PS3 & PS2 units were shipped,” he wrote. “PS2 was still being shipped during this period so the info we’re missing is how many units were PS2 and how many were PS3. Using PS3’s 80m sell in announcements as a guide you can work backwards and ultimately work out that PS2 [sales from March 2012 through the end of its production] must have been close to 4m.”

Its software sales sit at a staggering 1.5 billion units, according to Sony.

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Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN.

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