What is the best selling game console in history?

Where will the sales growth of Switch, Nintendo’s ultra-popular video game console, stop? Although this machine will turn 6 in March, it continues to hold a key position in the video game market: in France, the Switch has just achieved the status of the best-selling home console with over 7 million sales, thus breaking the record for the Wii, one of the previous consoles sold by Nintendo. In total, every fourth family in France has a Switch, notes Le Figaro.

In France, the Nintendo DS remains the leader

Home console? The name might come as a surprise to a gaming console whose main feature is to offer on-screen gameplay with a controller or in handheld mode on battery power. However, the nuance is par for the course, because in France the best-selling machine in history at this stage remains the Nintendo DS, an exclusively handheld console with a total of almost 9.2 million in sales, recalls Les Echos. Two other Nintendo creations follow: Switch, then Wii; Sony Playstation 4 closes the top four.


Switch has overtaken Game Boy in the world

And in another place? Detailed sales figures are rarely released by manufacturers when the console remains on the market. However, several specialized sites collect trend-based estimates that allow comparisons to be made. According to one source on the subject, VGChartz, the Switch recently broke a new record with 118.81 million units sold worldwide, the hybrid console breaking the record for one of Nintendo’s iconic machines, the Game Boy, a few weeks ago. , which won 118.7 million pockets in the 1990s as the first advanced handheld console.

Blockbuster Exclusive Games and Licenses

Such popularity of the Switch may come as a surprise. The console shows a very significant technical gap with the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox. Not to mention the ever-growing development of the Steam gaming platform for PC. However, Nintendo’s creation is based on highly successful exclusive games and licenses – most notably Zelda and Mario – and plays in a separate, more family-oriented niche that Nintendo is accustomed to investing in. The phenomenal success of Animal Crossing is a testament to this, as this 2020 best-selling game amid lockdown has boosted Switch sales.

Playstation 2 seems invincible

All these signs of success, however, keep the Switch from claiming to be the best-selling game console in history. The other two exceed it, at the moment. Among them is a handheld console also created by a Japanese firm: the Nintendo DS. This touch screen folding machine, which remains France’s best-selling machine to date, has sold over 154 million units worldwide.

Nintendo DS (left) and itsNintendo DS (left) and its “lite” version on the occasion of the release of this new model in 2007 (photo by Epa/Yonhap)

The crown worthy of the final boss of video games has not changed for several years now: Sony Playstation 2. Released in 2000 and released until 2013, it lived a very long life and sold 158.7 million copies, again according to VGCartz. In theory, the Switch remains the only one that can topple the PS2 as it’s still on sale. However, the march remains pretty far off, with nearly 40 million units separating the two global sales numbers.

Components of success

The ingredients for this Sony success are numerous. The console at that time made a technical revolution with a very strong graphical advancement compared to the Playstation, the first to be named. Extending the era ushered in by this first Sony console, it was aimed at the video game audience looking for an immersive experience, not just kids. Without making you forget or buy back your ancestor’s games: this console was the first to offer backwards compatibility. The machine also took the opportunity to be introduced to other markets by offering DVD reading. Enough to push a wider audience to fall in love with the object. To this was added, finally, the classic shortage at the exit, which only increased the excitement around the object. So many elements that even today fuel its iconic character.

Playstation 2 remains the world's best-selling console in early 2023.Playstation 2 remains the world’s best-selling console in early 2023 (Wikimedia Commons/Evan-Amos)

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