Where Switch, PS5 Rank Among the Best-Selling Video Game Consoles of All Time

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Sony’s PlayStation 2 has long reigned as the best-selling video game console of all time. Despite its massive sales success, PlayStation 4 will end its run tens of millions of units away from the top spot. And while it, too, is still a long way from the top, Switch has maintained extraordinary sales momentum and is now approaching the lifetime sales total of PS4.

With Switch and PS4 having secured their spots among the all-time best-selling consoles, we set out to discover how the rest of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft’s hardware stack up. Now after three quarters of 2022, we’ve expanded our original list to make room for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, as well as hardware from former console makers Sega and Atari.

So 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. Game Boy/Game Boy Color (Nintendo) – 118.69 million
  4. PlayStation 4 (Sony) – 117.2 million
  5. Nintendo Switch (Nintendo) – 114.33 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. Xbox Series X|S – 17 million*

22. 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.

21. 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.

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 games sold per console is the highest for any Nintendo system at 9.59.

19. PlayStation 5 – 25 million

PlayStation 5 is another massive success for Sony, selling 25 million units by the end of September 2022, according to its official sales numbers (7.8 million during Sony’s fiscal year 2020, 11.4 during FY21, and 5.7 during FY22 so far). A persistent chip shortage has kept PS5 from matching the sales pace of its predecessor, PS4, which has gone on to sell over 100 million units and counting.

18. 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.

17. Nintendo 64 – 32.93 million

13. NES/Famicom – 61.91 million

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. The NES is often credited with bringing video games back from the dead after the video game crash that ended once dominant brands such as Atari.

12. Nintendo 3DS – 75.94 million

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. The 3DS didn’t see a direct successor, effectively turning Nintendo from a console/handheld maker into a single-system-focused publisher.

11. Game Boy Advance – 81.51 million

This official sales figure comes directly from Nintendo. The company also notes software sales for the handheld closed at 377 million units. The Game Boy Advance line of devices included many different design iterations and form factors, the last of which was the Game Boy Micro in 2005. The top-selling model was the Game Boy Advance SP, with 43.57 million units sold. The Game Boy Micro only sold 2.42 million during its short run.

10. PlayStation Portable – 82 million*

*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 unknown exactly how many units were sold. However, in an interview with former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden, former IGN editor Colin Moriarty noted 82 million PSPs were “in the wild,” though it’s unclear if that number was confirmed by Layden.

9. Xbox 360 – 85 million*

*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.

8. PlayStation 3 – 87.5 million*

*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

7. Nintendo Wii – 101.63 million

According to official sales figures from Nintendo, Wii ended its run as the sixth-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.

6. PlayStation – 102.4 million

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’s since been surpassed by PlayStation 4.

5. Nintendo Switch – 114.33 million