Sony couldn’t have dreamt up a better follow-up to their original home gaming console than the PlayStation 2. In fact, this console still sits at the top in regards to numbers, having sold more than any other console in existence – home, handheld, or otherwise. It’s true, however, that those numbers may have been helped by the fact that there weren’t much in the way of competitor’s releases for years – though not by much, as the performance of the gaming machine stands on its own. This console was also the birthplace of some of the most memorable games of all time, including a concept that seemed too strange to work, but ended up being a smash hit: the Disney/Square Enix action RPG, Kingdom Hearts.
^ Jump up to: a b "Sega Corporation Annual Report 2001" (PDF). Sega Corporation. August 1, 2001. p. 14. Retrieved November 2, 2015. A total of 3.39 million hardware units and 23.87 million software units were sold worldwide during fiscal 2001, for respective totals of 8.20 million units and 51.63 million units since Dreamcast was first brought to market.
^ Jump up to: a b "Revisions to Annual Results Forecasts" (PDF). Sega Corporation. October 23, 2001. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015. Regarding sales of Dreamcast hardware from inventory resulting from the withdrawal from Dreamcast production [...] the Company exceeded initial targets with domestic sales of 130,000 units and U.S. sales of 530,000 units for the first half. Consequently, at the end of the half, Dreamcast inventories totaled 40,000 units domestically and 230,000 units for the United States, and we anticipate being able to sell all remaining units by the holiday season as initially planned.
There's no "I" in team and the days of being limited to solo gaming are long gone. Online play lets you join forces and complete missions co-operatively, or go head-to-head with real people from around the world instantaneously. A premier online gaming experience backed by dedicated servers offers fast, smooth connections, but often comes with a small monthly or yearly fee. If you want to play with your friends make sure you know which consoles they're using, that way you're not left on the sideline.
The following tables contain video game consoles and handheld game consoles that have sold at least 1 million units worldwide either through to consumers or inside retail channels. Each console include sales from every iteration unless otherwise noted. The years correspond to when the home or handheld game console was first released—excluding test markets. Each year links to the corresponding "year in video gaming".
"I knew the retail days on the NeoGeo were numbered, but I actually sold one of these beasts when I was merely a sales associate at a Babbages back in 1990. A son dragged his mother in and she started asking questions like "does the NeoGeo have better graphics than the Super NES?" I did not lie...it definitely does and I told her so. She bought it and a game for a $1000 receipt. I couldn't believe anyone would actually shell out the dough for it, but I witnessed it firsthand."
The PlayStation 2 is the best-selling videogame console ever with more than 130 million units sold by the end of 2008. That alone says a lot regarding its place in history and its reception amongst the general population. The PS2 was not only a major highlight in Sony's history (for both its games business and the company as a whole), but it also helped launch the DVD format into the VHS-killer that it became.
"The 2600 had a lot of fabulous games, and I remember playing River Raid so much that I had a callous between my thumb and index finger from the base of the not-too-ergonomic 2600 joystick rubbing on it. But I think the game we played the most was Maze Craze, which randomly generated a new maze every game and offered some great competitive multiplayer gameplay (for its time). That was perhaps the first "party game"—at least at our house."
It starts with a black screen. A woman’s voice. She speaks Japanese, and your eyes are wired to the subtitles. You have waited many months – if not years – for this game. Finally, you are sitting here. With sweaty hands and light in your eyes. The rest of the world disappeared around you, when you inserted the game disk into your console. Now it is only you, your controller and a long game. The graphics come up on the screen, the familiar melody starts to play, and your head explodes in a wild euphoria. FINALLY!
^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (March 23, 2010). "Nintendo to Make 3-D Version of Its DS Handheld Game". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 4, 2010. 'We wanted to give the gaming industry a head’s up about what to expect from Nintendo at E3,' said Ken Toyoda, chief spokesman at Nintendo. 'We'll invite people to play with the new device then.'
Born from a failed attempt to create a console with Nintendo, Sony's PlayStation would not only dominate its generation but become the first console to sell over 100 million units by expanding the video game market. Sony actively courted third parties and provided them with convenient c libraries to write their games. Sony had built the console from the start as a 3D, disc-based system, and emphasized its 3D graphics that would come to be viewed as the future of gaming. The PlayStation's CD technology won over several developers who had been releasing titles for Nintendo and Sega's fourth generation consoles, such as Konami, Namco, Capcom, and Square. CDs were far cheaper to manufacture and distribute than cartridges were, meaning developers could release larger batches of games at higher profit margins; Nintendo's console, on the other hand, used cartridges, unwittingly keeping third-party developers away. The PlayStation's internal architecture was simpler and more intuitive to program for, giving the console an edge over Sega's Saturn.
The first true battle of the consoles began in 1991 with the US release of the Super Nintendo. Boasting 16-bit graphics and a superior soundcard than its competition (the audio system was entirely standalone), Nintendo pushed its art style and name branding against SEGA's "SEGA does what Nintendon't" campaign, but in the end it was what Nintendo did – or had, rather – that put the SNES higher on our chart. Despite "hardcore-minded" competition, Nintendo pushed a pedigree of original content, starting with the debut Super Mario World and carried on through titles like Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, F-Zero, Mario Kart, and the dawn of the FX chip which brought the debut of Star Fox. Developer Rare continued to push the console in its later years with the help of Nintendo, introducing larger cart sizes with Donkey Kong Country, and a flood of third party support pushed the Super Nintendo to legendary status with games like Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Gradius III, Contra III, Mega Man X, Secret of Mana, and many, many more. When it comes to a pure concentration of AAA titles, few consoles – if any – can stand up to the Super NES.
Design your own creative Mario levels with this Nintendo 2DS Super Mario Maker bundle. The handheld console plays both Nintendo DS and 3DS games in clear 2D graphics, and its wireless capabilities let you connect friends and other players. Collaborate with friends on game courses with the creative tools and design tutorials of this Nintendo 2DS Super Mario Maker bundle.
Sony's PlayStation 3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2006, in North America on November 17, 2006, and in Europe and Australia on March 23, 2007. All PlayStation 3's come with a hard drive and are able to play Blu-ray Disc games and Blu-ray Disc movies out of the box. The PlayStation 3 was the first video game console to support HDMI output out of the box, using full 1080p resolution. Up to seven controllers can connect to the console using Bluetooth. There are 6 discontinued versions of the PS3: a 20 GB HDD version (discontinued in North America and Japan, and was never released in PAL territories), a 40 GB HDD version (discontinued), a 60 GB HDD version (discontinued in North America, Japan and PAL territories), 80 GB HDD version (only in some NTSC territories and PAL territories), a "slim" 120GB HDD version (discontinued), and a "slim" 250 GB version (discontinued). The two current shipping versions of the PlayStation 3 are: a "slim" 160 GB HDD version and a "slim" 320 GB HDD version. The hard drive can be replaced with any standard 2.5" Serial ATA drive and the system has support for removable media storage, such as Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, USB, SD, MiniSD, and CompactFlash (CF) digital media, but only the PlayStation versions up to 80 GB support this. The slim PlayStation 3 consoles (120 GB and up) had removable storage discontinued. All models are backward compatible with the original PlayStation's software library, and the launch models, since discontinued, are also backward compatible with PlayStation 2 games. As a cost-cutting measure, later models removed the Emotion Engine, making them incompatible with PlayStation 2 discs. In 2010, Sony released PlayStation Move, allowing for motion-controlled games. With recent software updates, the PlayStation 3 can play 3D Blu-ray movies and 3D games.
Sony's flagship, the PS4 Pro is a powerhouse system in its own right, allowing gamers to play their games in dynamic 4K (resolutions can upscale up to 4K with some tech wizardry) and with HDR enabled, too. The latest revision of the console is also quieter than ever (CUH-7200), which fixed one of the more minor issues some reviewers found with the launch model.
The Xbox One X contains six trillion floating point operations per second with 326GB/s and 12GB GDDR5 RAM, giving it the most graphical horsepower in rendering native 4K HD graphics at 60 frames per second. This makes games like Call Of Duty: WWII have a heightened sense of realism, detailing everything from flowing hair, rays of the sun and clothing fiber. All Xbox One games are compatible and run better on the Xbox One X in Full HD display as well. Microsoft even plans on bringing Original Xbox and Xbox 360 backward compatibility to the system too.
NEC had a hit on its hands in Japan with the PC Engine in 1987, a console that regularly outsold the Famicom (the Japanese NES) and wanted to replicate that success in America. So it turned to a marketing company to repackage the underpowered 16-bit machine and go head-to-head with the dominant players in America: Nintendo and SEGA. Perhaps it was the lack of third-party support. Perhaps it was the absolutely goofy inter-capped name TurboGrafx-16. Whatever the culprit, the Turbo just never made a dent in the American market.
"A technology geek to the end, I had greatly anticipated the arrival of high-definition consoles, so when Nintendo chose to stay conservative with Wii's graphics, I wasn't sure what to think of the system. I remember finally getting it, though. Not with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption -- I played it early on and the controls still needed work -- but with Wii Sports bowling. So simple. So effortless. So much flippin' fun! Nintendo had talked blue and red oceans, ranted on about expanded audiences, and it was all gibberish. But rolling that virtual bowling ball with a realistic flick of the wrist felt so incredibly natural that I didn't want to put the Wii remote down. That was when I finally understood what the company really hoped to achieve with the console."
The strategy worked. The Wii isn't much more advanced than the GameCube, but the controller – a device Nintendo has stated began as a GameCube peripheral – has converted millions of casual gamers to become system owners. The idea of bundling Wii Sports with the system was an incredibly smart move, as people immediately understood what the Wii was and what it could do in a simple to play, well designed experience.
Enter the Nintendo Wii, a system that put much more emphasis on the user interface than it did on the high definition, surround sound experience. The way we play was the biggest change to what we play: the idea was to introduce something that anyone could pick up and understand, and with the new input, it was hoped, a new market would form and a new audience would step forward to play games.
A handheld game console is a lightweight device with a built-in screen, games controls, speakers, and has greater portability than a standard video game console. It is capable of playing multiple games unlike tabletop and handheld electronic game devices. Tabletop and handheld electronic game devices of the 1970s and 1980s are the precursors of handheld game consoles. Mattel introduced the first handheld electronic game with the 1977 release of Auto Race. Later, several companies—including Coleco and Milton Bradley—made their own single-game, lightweight tabletop or handheld electronic game devices. The oldest handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges is the Milton Bradley Microvision in 1979. Nintendo is credited with popularizing the handheld console concept with the Game Boy's release in 1989 and continues to dominate the handheld console market.
Currently, the PS4 has the better library of exclusives between the two, though this will obviously depend on your taste. Fantastic games like God of War, Spider-Man, and Tetris Effect came out last year on the PS4 (and only the PS4), along with several other excellent console exclusives since launch like Bloodbourne, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Until Dawn.
Created by famed gaming company SNK, Neo-Geo is interesting in that their system was launched in two different formats. There was the MVS (Multi Video System), which was a traditional coin-operated arcade cabinet that could support 6 different games at a time, and the AES (Advanced Entertainment System), what started as a rent-only platform in Japan and would become their home console. At the time, the AES was the most powerful gaming system ever launched. But, though it had an impressive lineup of excellent games, it suffered in the U.S. due to its extremely high sale price – $650 (roughly $1,250 today). Regardless, the Neo-Geo is something of a cult classic, which was only bolstered by the portable version of their console.
Sony led the charge on the mid-generation console update with the PS4 Pro but, by taking its time, Microsoft gave us the better hardware in the Xbox One X. It offers the same 4K Blu-ray and HDR video playback as the One S, while also bringing that visual enhancement to games. Microsoft wasn’t exaggerating when they told us that the Xbox One X is the most powerful home gaming console ever sold. It won’t be getting VR, however — which may disappoint those hoping it could be an inexpensive entry point to high-quality VR experiences.
Despite its narrow mass audience, the Master System had -- and still has -- a very loyal fan base. Thankfully, the thumping SEGA received with the Master System did not daunt its quest for the living room, leading to the Genesis, which corrected most of the Master System's mistakes and gave Nintendo a run for its money for the majority of the 16-bit generation.
A chief competitor of the Atari 2600, this second generation gaming console was actually released by Mattel Electronics (a sub-brand of the same company that makes board games), like and would remain the company’s only until 2006. It also boasted an impressively long production run, lasting 11 years until it was discontinued in 1990 – though much of that can be credited to technologically updated iterations across that span of time. As it was created in the early days of the video game industry before controllers were somewhat standardized, it featured unique rotary wheeled and number padded remotes connected to the greater system by a telephone-style coiled cables. It also was advertised as having better graphic and sound capabilities than the Atari 2600, leading to it being the first real competitive threat.
"The N64 and its flagship game Mario 64 hold a special place in my heart as they are what initially led me to (what would become) IGN. I got the system and game my freshmen year of college and my buddies and I would hole up in my dorm room, methodically trying to collect every star. We found out you could find game help on this fantastic new resource called The Internet, and an AltaVista search for "Mario 64" returned N64.com, which is where IGN got its start. "
The SEGA Master System is the videogame console that almost could. Despite its technical superiority to the dominant NES, the machine lacked just one critical thing: Mario. Without this icon and the emergence of Sonic the Hedgehog still five years on the horizon, the Master System ran a far distant second to the NES during the 8-bit generation -- the phoenix-like resurrection of videogames following the Atari 2600-lead industry crash.
The advertised transaction is a rental-purchase agreement (rent-to-own agreement, consumer rental-purchase agreement or a lease/lease-purchase agreement, depending on your state). You will not own the merchandise until the total amount necessary to acquire ownership is paid in full or you exercise your early purchase option (“EPO”). Ownership is optional. MA and RI consumers: after the first 184 days, you may purchase the merchandise for 50% of the remaining Total Cost, plus applicable sales tax. Product availability and pricing may vary by store. Advertised offers good while supplies last and cannot be combined together or with any other promotions. See Store Manager for complete details. Consulta con el Gerente de la Tienda para los detalles completos. ”Closeout Corner” quantities are limited. Product, condition and selection vary by location. Participating locations only. Smaller Payments refers to reduced weekly rental rate and may not reduce total cost to own in all cases. See store for details.
Each console on the list ahead was selected for its influence on the industry and the gaming culture as a whole, with special consideration for their benchmark titles, peripherals, monetary success, and total hardware sold. But beyond sales figures and critical reception, one of the biggest contributing factors in our ranking process was our lasting impressions of each console, and how it contributed to our love for gaming and inspired us to become involved in the industry.