Video gaming has been around ever since the invention of arcade classic such as Pong way back in the early 1970s, but has evolved into one of the most lucrative forms of entertainment ever since the advent of home and handheld consoles in the early 1990s. With hundreds of millions of sales behind them, which video game consoles have the honour of calling themselves the top performers over the years?
5. PlayStation (Sony)
Year Released: 1994
Total Sales: 102.49 million units
The very first edition of probably the most iconic video game console family ever seen, the PlayStation was first launched by Sony back in time for a festive holiday release in December 1994. Whilst the modern day rivalry associated between Sony and the PlayStation is with Microsoft and Xbox, it would be a whopping six years on from the release of the PS1 that the first version of the Xbox would be released to the public.
Instead, the original PlayStation was mainly up against the two established forces in the gaming world at the time, SEGA with its SEGA Genesis and Nintendo with its Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). And despite the fact that both these systems sold exceptionally well for their day, with 35 and 50 million sales respectively, the PlayStation’s improved hardware and impressive technical capabilities ensured it blew out the competition with over a hundred million units shipped at the time of writing.
4. PlayStation 4 (Sony)
Year Released: 2013
Total Sales: 113.5 million units
From one PlayStation console to another, it is staggering to think that the PS4 is seven years old following the release of the system back during the eighth generation of consoles back in February 2013. The PS3 might have eventually grown to become the best selling system in the end, but there’s no denying just how much it had been lagging behind both the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii during the seventh generation heyday.
Sony came roaring back with the PS4 however, dismantling the Nintendo Wii U and Xbox One by practically reinventing the importance of exclusive titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and flexing its power as the world’s most powerful console at the time.
3. GameBoy / GameBoy Color (Nintendo)
Year Released: 1989/1998
Total Sales: 118.69 million units
Perhaps the most iconic handheld consoles of their day, it’s staggering to think that the original GameBoy managed to remain relevant in the gaming world for well over a decade before Nintendo decided to freshen up. Taking gaming with you on the go was a revolutionary move in the early 1990s, and games like Super Mario Land showcased just how smoothly home console franchises could make the jump to handhelds going forward.
2. Nintendo DS Family (Nintendo)
Year Released: 2004
Total Sales: 154.02 million units
Building on the success of the Nintendo Game Boy and all of its sister systems, everything about the Nintendo DS and DSi variants felt like a refreshing step up, even though its initial release in 2004 only came three years after the release of the GameBoy Advance. In fact, the DS was originally planned to be a third pillar of the Nintendo family, lining up alongside the GameCube and GBA; however, following the announcement of the DS’ backwards compatibility with GameBoy games, it was clear to fans that this was a successor to the GameBoy family.
The improved technical capabilities of the DS, much more expressive colour palettes and innovative bottom touch screen showcased the console as the next step in the evolution of skill gaming as a pursuit in the handheld market, and many of the features it introduced would go onto be replicated on the Nintendo Switch following that system’s release in 2017.
1. PlayStation 2 (Sony)
Year Released: 2000
Total Sales: 156 million units
The greatest console of all time, the PlayStation 2 was released in October 2000 in North America. Benefitting from the Xbox’s unsteady venturing into the console world and the GameCube’s lack of technical power or anything resembling a strong collection of titles, the PS2 would dominate the console market for nearly fifteen years, establishing a legacy that no other system has come close to matching since.
Over 3,600 games were released for the PS2 making for one of the greatest arsenals of all time and uniting fans right across the community. Innovative technologies were developed throughout the PS2’s lifetime for the system, and few consoles can still point to the fondness it holds quite like Sony’s second edition of the PlayStation.