Best selling Console of all time – 1972/2021

On November 12, 2020 came out the new Playstation: Playstation 5. We know that this console is having a great success becoming almost unobtainable in many stores. But which are the best selling consoles in history? Which ones have been most successful during the last 50 years? In today’s article we’ll analyze the Best-Selling Consoles in History – 1972/2021.

Evolution of best selling console of all time

Let’s start by trying to answer a first question. When was the first console born? And where? The first console in the world produced commercially is Magnavox Odyssey. Produced by the company Magnavox was distributed for the first time in America in 1972 and then be sold in the UK in 1973 and Europe from 1974 onwards. The design of this console was made by Ralph Bear, a German engineer, who had already started working on it in the 60s. In 1968 this console took shape and 4 years later it was put on the market. The console remained on sale until 1975 and copies sold according to the site Giant Bomb were about 350 thousand worldwide.

The Magnavox Odyssey – Source Wikipedia. Link here:

In the following years, especially since 1975, the Console market started to take shape. In the first generation of consoles, for example, there was a game known all over the world: Pong. Pong, one of the first video games marketed in the world that ’72 was an arcade and then became a console specific in 1975, was a simulator with a black and white graphics. Players, 1 or 2, could challenge the computer or play against it. The objective of the game was as simple as intriguing: to make the opponent not catch the ball. Imitating therefore what happens (in a simplified version) in the game of ping-pong (from here the game and the console take their cue).

An image of the video game “Pong” – Wikipedia

Pong reaches a good success in the years from ’75 onwards. Success, however, certainly had Coleco Telstar between the years 1976 and 1978. In fact, this console – which was followed by others – had 3 different games inside. Field hockey, Handball and Tennis. Only from 1977 onwards increased. In general, however, this console had a great success, positioning itself at the top for months as the best-selling console in the world.

But it is definitely Color-TV game, series of Nintendo, produced in 1977 that has dominated the market of the 70s. Its success has led Nintendo to sell for this series of consoles a value ranging from 2 to 3 million copies (in the video I included the figure of 3 million because it seems the most correct).

The 80’s: Atari vs Nes

After the first and second era of video games (of the second era are part of the first systems with the cartridge to be inserted inside the console) we move to the 80s. And to do so we must certainly mention two great consoles. Atari 2600 and NES.

These two consoles have come to sell over 25 million copies worldwide. An incredible figure. Atari 2600, sold for the first time since 1977, was to all intents and purposes one of the first consoles in the world to have an enormous success. With the cartridge system, in fact, this console allowed users to buy different games. One of them – perhaps the most famous – is definitely Pac Man.

To respond to ATARI – a company that would remain active until 1992 – Nintendo produced the Nintendo Enterainment System abbreviated to NES. The NES, which began selling in 1983 for the first time in Japan, arrived in the USA in 1985 and then in Europe in 1986. The NES also had an electronic cartridge system that allowed players to be able to buy new games. Among the most famous games available on the NES there is definitely the mythical Super Mario Bros.

Between the ’90s and ’00s comes the Playstation

As you can see from the video posted above, the console market continued to grow very strongly throughout the 1990s. But in general NES remained the best-selling console in the world for a very long time. With the arrival of Sony and Playstation, however, between ’99 and ’00 comes the overtaking. Playstation maintains the primacy of sales worldwide for many years being surpassed only by the Playstation 2.

Playstation 1 – Wikipedia

The Playstation, on sale in the Japanese market since 1994 and in America and Europe from 1995 onwards, had an incredible impact on the world of video games. Even though it was the first console produced by Sony, the fact of focusing a good part of the project on CDs and their reading allowed this console to have a great success. In fact thanks to the Playstation it was possible to use and read audio CDs. Obviously the success of Playstation is also due in large part to the excellent performance for the time, the 3D games etc.

The challenge to 3: Playstation, XBox and Nintendo

The challenge of the consoles from the fifth generation to the ninth sees more and more high sales numbers. Playstation 2 surpasses as we said Playstation 1 in sales. But with time also comes Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch and other consoles. Currently the best selling console in the world is still Playstation 2, followed by Playstation 4 and Playstation 1. In fourth place we find Nintendo Wii, in fifth Playstation 3 and in sixth XBox 360. It will be very interesting in the future how console sales will go worldwide. Recently, as we said at the beginning, Playstation has launched a new console: Playstation 5. Currently the copies sold of this console are 4.5 million worldwide. It will be interesting to see if and how soon this console will enter the top 10 and top 3. The challenge between Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft is just beginning.

Source and links

I used several sources to make this article. Among them certainly is Wikipedia, which groups the best-selling consoles in the world as of 2021. But I also read several and articles and in-depth articles to verify that the data on the sales of individual consoles were correct. As you can imagine it is difficult to have accurate data, especially for the ’70s and ’80s. In general, however, the video is useful to get an idea of how the market went.

I recommend an interesting series on Netflix on this topic:

To read another article on the evolution of programming languages from 1965 to 2020:

To see a video of Best-Selling Consoles in History – 1972/2021:

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