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5 Best-Selling Game Consoles of All Time

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Since the rise of home consoles in the early 1970s, gaming giants have gone on to expand and flourish their works, gradually stacking up to compile some of the greatest pieces of hardware on the planet. Fast-forward to 2021, and we truly are spoilt for choice, with some of the most innovative ideas condensed into one magical place. But, between all the rivalry that revolves around global sales, there really can only be one winner.

From Nintendo to Sony, SEGA to Microsoft — gaming kingpins only continue to invent new ways to dethrone the titleholder and fortify their legacy. However, looking at the facts and figures from the last twenty or so years, there really is only one brand that wears the crown, with the rest falling in line directly beneath. But let's run it from the top, from the fifth best-selling console of all time to the best of the best, bolstered by multi-millions.


5. PlayStation 3 (86.9 million)

Developing the follow-up console to the renowned PlayStation 2 was never going to be a walk in the park for Sony, nor was it going to happen overnight either. Truth be told, with Microsoft hot on their heels with the next-gen Xbox 360 lurking around the corner, the pressure to go above and beyond was almost inevitable. And yet, in light of this, the PlayStation 3 was a massive success from the moment it shot out the doors in 2006, immediately snagging millions of global sales.

With all of this being said, the PlayStation 3, despite its success, still ended up being Sony's worst-selling console. Although slightly ahead of the rival Xbox 360 by a few hundred thousand units, the hardware did, sadly, fall short next to its sibling releases. However, being the fifth best-selling console of all time — it's unlikely that Sony icons are crying themselves to sleep with a pittance in their pockets every night. But who knows.


4. Nintendo Wii (101.5 million)

By the time the Nintendo Wii rolled around in 2006, gamers were ready to delve into brand new worlds, where gameplay stretched beyond joypads and keyboards. And luckily, that's exactly what Nintendo brought to the table, with a flood of compelling games all revolving around a few neat accessories and an entire bucket of sporty add-ons. And, being a family-focused console, Nintendo practically narrowed in on the entire globe, inducting gamers, grannies and even distant relatives to the fold. Come 2007 — everybody had a Nintendo Wii.

With the likes of Mario Kart and Wii Sports around to amplify its innovativity, the Nintendo Wii essentially went on to become one of the most in-demand consoles on the market. Fast-forward to 2021, and the Nintendo Wii has sold well over 101 million units, making it the fourth best-selling console of all time. The Switch, on the other hand, falls to the seventh spot, with just shy of 85 million sales backing its status. But given its ongoing demand, that'll likely overtake the Wii within the next five years or so. But don't take our word on that.


3. PlayStation (104.2 million)

Back in '94, home consoles practically stole the show at almost every convention while the world hung on tenterhooks, waiting eagerly for every minor release to fill the board. Sony, being one of the rising players on the battlefield, knew that with the likes of SNES and the beloved Mega Drive already mopping up the masses, they had to go big or go home just to gain so much as a foothold in the game. But, lo and behold, they came up trumps, developing what was to become one of the greatest consoles of all time.

Over a long and healthy reign atop the apex of gaming, the PlayStation branded itself as a warming sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of ambitious developers. With oceans of talented folk using Sony as a stepping stone to greater horizons, the PlayStation did, truly, evolve and fortify the dreams of those who aspired to become much greater. And as for the player base it homed, well — just ask the 104 million loyal fans who found a place for it since its iconic launch.


2. PlayStation 4 (115.4 million)

Ever since Microsoft and Sony threw down the gauntlet over their rival consoles, fans have anticipated every move made on both halves, wondering which of the two will finally snag the crown for good. Only, when it comes to facts and figures, as expected — only one brand tends to stand out: The PlayStation 4, latched with an enormous 115 million and counting sales worldwide. The Xbox One, on the other hand, well, let's just say that's currently floating around the tenth best selling spot on the list. 45 million units shipped, to put it simply.

Similar to the Switch and Wii scenario, it's still highly likely that the fourth-generation console will overtake the second. Although over forty million sales apart, the PlayStation 4 does, in fact, still pull in quite the number of sales. But then, even if it doesn't snatch the crown from its older sibling — chances are the PlayStation 5 will at some point or another. Either way, it's not as though Sony need to worry about becoming benchwarmers any time soon.


1. PlayStation 2 (157.6 million)

Speaking of which, the best-selling console of all time is, of course, the PlayStation 2. But then, glancing over the entire catalogue of games the hardware held a hand out to over its thirteen-year lifespan — does it really come as that much of a surprise? After all, with 3,800 video games developed for it, it only makes sense that the consoles sold stack up to mouth-watering heights. And even now, pushing into 2022, fans are still winding back to the kit, be it a bulky set or a slimline — just to breathe in the nostalgia it effortlessly produced during its healthy tenure.

Selling over 157 million units worldwide, the Sony giants are pretty much laughing from their high chairs, breathing in an endless stream of revenue from all developed consoles. Combined, PlayStation has sold well over 464 million units worldwide, ranging from 1994 to 2021, making its spool of consoles the iron titans of the gaming domain. Following closely behind, of course, is Nintendo with its portfolio of top-tier hardware, both handheld and home. But as for the gold — Sony wears it with pride for the foreseeable future.


So, what about handheld consoles? Well, we'll be looking into the top five in portable gaming next week. In the meantime, let us know what your favourite console of all time is over on our social handle here.


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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.