How many units sold to be a successful console? (Lifetime Total)

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Posted by SaltSlasher (1158 posts) 9 months, 3 days ago

Poll: How many units sold to be a successful console? (Lifetime Total) (96 votes)

At least 20 million 19%
At least 30 million 16%
At least 40 million 20%
At least 50 million 26%
At least 75 million 15%
At least 100 million 5%

For fan talk people focus on units sold, so wondering if there is a minimum amount of units that need to be sold to be considered successful to you personally? Obviously there are exterior money makers and most machines make tons of money, and very successful for their maker, but everyone focuses on units sold, and doesn't matter how long on market or what generation they sold.

Research to help pick:

Seems like under 20 are considered failures; most saw short lives for one reason or another, all financial failures even if not their own fault. Above 100 million are amazing successes even if some were on market for a considerable amount of time.

(Each of section of consoles listed highest selling to lowest, sections based off VGchartz, and years is roughly how long on market, according to wiki)

Under 20 million: For Sure Failures

Vita (5-7 years'ish on market)

Wii U (5 years)

Saturn (6 years)

Dreamcast (3 years)

+100 million: For Sure Success

PS2 (13 years)

DS (9 years)

Gameboy (14 years)

PS1 (12 years)

Wii (11 years)

The rest I split into 2 groups. Looking at this as a general rule of thumb, I think it's safe to say the section of "above 50 million" is filled with only successful machines. Leaving the only group I'm not sure of, the under 50 million but above 20 million. How successful seems questionable, yeah some likely didn't meet expectations, but certainly don't think any were marked as failures. They span many generations, so thinking of things like inflation, 27 million 2600's might be as super successful as getting 100 million by today's standards. So its more like, under 50 isn't necessarily unsuccessful, but crossing 50 million seems to mean that you're successful.

21-49 million: Questionable Success

SNES (13 years)

Xbox One (currently 5 years)

N64 (6 years)

Genesis (9 years)

2600 (25 years)

Xbox OG (8 years)

Gamecube (6 years)

Switch (currently 2 years'ish)

50-99 million: Pretty sure all successful (unless someone can prove otherwise)

PS3 (11 years)

360 (11 years)

PS4 (currently 5 years)

GBA (9 years)

PSP (10 years)

3DS (currently 7 years)

NES (20 years)

^I believe that above 20 is minimum to even be eligible for success, and think 50 million must be minimum goal of every console maker, but doubt that's how many needs to be sold to make money. I don't know if I necessarily feel 50 is mandatory, cause I always considered SNES and Genesis super successful and they sold 49 mil and 30 mil. Even with SNES nearly double, I still always loved Genesis. However both them were on market different lengths, if I did a ratio of units sold to length on market, we'd get a clearer picture. What I find interesting is that each gen has different rules, like 30 mil (Genesis) one gen sounds great, but then following gen 30 mil (N64) feels weak).

Avatar image for ajstyles
#1 Posted by AJStyles (925 posts) -

I think Market Share needs to be a factor.

The Xbox/GameCube/Dreamcast are massive failures against the PS2. There is no debate. The Original Xbox lost Microsoft BILLIONS and they stayed in the red for years.

Nintendo themselves stated GameCube is a failure in their eyes. That’s all the proof I need. When the company themselves believes their product failed, who are we to argue?

SNES/Genesis are NOT failures. The terrible consoles who went up against them were though. Stuff like 3DO or whatever lol

Atari 2600 is NOT a failure. It dominated when it was around.

N64 is NOT a failure.

Xbone is pretty damn disappointing but after the gen is over, I would say it sold enough to not be a complete failure.

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#2 Posted by SaltSlasher (1158 posts) -

@ajstyles: For fan talk yeah market share seems to be most important thing of all, its like the main measuing stick we have since we don't have finical reports for every last thing. I was sort of dabbing into the market share, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it kind of doesn't matter. It mostly only seems to matter per gen, which isn't how I sorted them. If no competition or more competition, you still sold the same amount, you just change how you measure. Like if OG Xbox sold more than any but lost money, or if PS4 was only console ever, how would even gauge how successful it is.

I don't get why you say all them machines aren't failures and barely cover why, but rail into Xbox. PS1 slaughtered N64 in basically every category, yet when PS2 does same to Xbox you focus on it as a failure. You seem to be basing success/failure mostly off market share. Atari dominated cause sold more than anyone, yet no other Atari sold that well, and they're gone. When considering OG Xbox sold roughly the same, and Xbox is still here, kind of whack to shit on Xbox as a failure, when it led to success, and 2600 led to death. I just never considered OG Xbox a failure. I knew many people who had one and everyone liked it, it was the GameCube no one had and no one talked about. Just like this gen, maybe sales tell 1 story, but as far as I've been around tons of people I know play Xbox and talk about Xbox, its the Wii U they didn't get or talk about. Just like both many have PlayStation but most don't swear a blood oath....although I have some family who are the typical anti-Xbox everything.

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#3 Posted by sakaiXx (5724 posts) -

In current market? More than 75 million. Even 3ds 70million sales is not an outstanding number.

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#4 Posted by svaubel (4132 posts) -

It depends on market performance, profits for company, etc. More than just a raw number. It also depends on support and software. The two most recent actual failures being the Vita and Wii U, both selling a fraction of their predecessors.

A measurement of success is arbitrary for the end user. To me the PS4 has been a failure despite outselling Microsoft and Nintendo. Why? Outside of 4 games I have had no reason to even turn the PS4 on, it has no backwards compatibility (unless you consider PSNow BC), cant play 4K Blu-ray movies like my Xbox can, and the controller just feels weird to me.

A console does not have to sell a bloated 100 million units to be successful. And it often times takes having a failure to make a company bounce back. This whole dick waving contest about whom is outselling whom is silly. All three companies are successful right now.

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#5 Edited by AJStyles (925 posts) -

I forgot to mention that I consider the Wii a failure despite its massive sales.

The Wii is one of the worst consoles ever with massive amounts of shovel ware. No 3rd party AAA games. You are left with just a handful of Nintendo games which were honestly bad because the motion control gimmick ruined those games.

I don’t care how many 10’s super Mario galaxy got, the game was unplayable with the Wii mote/nun chuck. Same with Zelda. Smash was also much worse than melee before it.

Honestly, we should just make an entire chart system and list every possible way a console failed/succeeded.

Wii succeeded in sales, but failed in games, online etc.

Original Xbox failed in sales and money made, but hey, it succeeded in online gaming and multiplayer gaming and graphics for that gen.

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#6 Edited by Mandzilla (4112 posts) -

The PSP sold a fair amount of units, but hacking was a real problem on the handheld. Software sales weren't the best, so in that regard you could say it was a bit of a failure.

Probably one of the reasons why the Vita launched with those pricey memory cards.

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#7 Posted by XVision84 (16252 posts) -

In my eyes, if a console doesn't sell 100 million units at the very least, it's a failure and the company might as well go bankrupt while they're at it.

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#8 Posted by BenjaminBanklin (4762 posts) -

It seems like with the rising cost of game development and consoles being platforms for multiple services, you want as many of them out there as possible. Like, I'm sure you want to be north of 50 million to be a true money machine with a healthy profit. As it stands, as we saw from this gen, consoles are becoming a zero sum game. So, they should want as much marketshare as they can get.

If the console has a low ceiling, then marketing games developed for it becomes more and more useless if the userbase is capped. That's why you saw Nintendo do a super early bailout with the Wii U. and Xbox carry their content to PC. Because Xbox One alone isn't enough to justify AAA content on the scale of it's predecessor. So, yeah, I'll likely say marching past 50 mil may be the magic number.

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#9 Edited by lundy86_4 (53414 posts) -

Far too many variables to determine based on individual taste. Profit-margins from console sales and game sales (razor-blade model) account for far too many variables if we aren't well-versed in the market. At the end of the day, it's far too up-in-the-air to call a definitive answer.

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#11 Edited by 2Chalupas (7084 posts) -

@elitegaming247 said:

Depends on market size, the ambitions of the parent company and also to market share. You can't compare this gen to previous gens because the size of the markets are different as markets today are drastically larger than what they were 20 or 30 years ago.

The gaming market during the SNES and Genesis era was a lot smaller than it is today so you can't use that as a barometer for gauging success or failure this gen. Selling 40 million back then was a big deal even though nowadays it isn't much in today's market. It all goes back to the size of the market and different standards back then. The gaming market grew exponentially during the PS1 and PS2 era since then.

The SNES was undoubtedly a success. It had a huge chunk of the market share back in the 90s so I'm not sure why you have it in the "questionable success" category. Nintendo dominated back in the 90s and to question whether the SNES was a success is lol-worthy, and sounds like the kind of mistake someone who wasn't gaming back then would make. The only competition Nintendo had back then was SEGA, the rest of the consoles back then weren't even competition.

Yep, 40 million back then would be like someone making a 140 million selling console today. Total domination. SNES and Sega Genesis were both huge. SNES of course being one of the GOAT, but indeed the only reason it didn't outsell the original NES was because the Genesis gave it some stiff competition. But that doesn't make it a failure by any stretch, there were 2 major players and SNES outsold it's main competitor a little less than 2:1. During last gen there were about 260 million consoles sold, that means on an equivalent market share basis the SNES would have sold like 160+ million.

Nowadays 40 million is probably just enough to keep you in the game, to at least want to go back to the drawing board and try and win the next gen. But it is also a "near failure". To put it in perspective,the Atari Jaguar supposedly only sold like 250K. But that was a different era with custom hardware and engineering issues going into even the simplest game development. There were lots of small selling consoles in the 80's and 90's., the Jaguar was just notable because it came from a former major player whose pioneering console sold 30 million. That was a drop from 30 million to 250K in just a few generations. I'm not sure that type of failure is possible in today's world because it's like choosing coke vs. pepsi at this point. The floor now is probably like 20 million, so I pretty much agree with the OP there. Modern "big 3" console selling <20 million is pretty much an epic fail.

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#12 Posted by Zappat (1595 posts) -

I would say in todays market anything lower than 50 mill is not really a succesful main gaming platform. It would be at a disadvantage with respect to others in how much the company would invest in games, third party deals and how they will be promoted. Basically like the Xone now.

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#13 Posted by ProtossRushX (5455 posts) -

xb1 is a failure in my mind so whatever number its at

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#14 Posted by rzxv04 (686 posts) -

Hmm.. fan talk metric? Maybe 75m+ with how the PS4's being praised and touted.

It'd be nice to know more about their R&D and Operating costs.

I also have no idea how much net profit they need in order to keep pursuing the venture.

Nintendo seems with with 400-700m yearly.

https://www.tweaktown.com/news/58424/nintendo-spent-527m-research-development-last-year/index.html

I think total software/services sold would give a better idea on how much "winning" each company gets because hardware alone could be too close to break even/small profit/some loss.

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#15 Posted by henrythefifth (2502 posts) -

It depends on the brand we are considering, actually.

To be considered successful Playstation, the console must sell 50 000 000 units.

To be considered successful Xbox, the console must sell two units.

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#16 Posted by SaltSlasher (1158 posts) -

@lundy86_4 said:

Far too many variables to determine based on individual taste. Profit-margins from console sales and game sales (razor-blade model) account for far too many variables if we aren't well-versed in the market. At the end of the day, it's far too up-in-the-air to call a definitive answer.

Yet people can without a doubt claim that Xbox is a failure.

But my sentiments as well, so much to consider I found it difficult to choose what to focus on. People seem to focus on total sales all the time and prior never seen anyone care too much how long something was out, or when it got its numbers, it was look it sold a ton, its awesome, or look it sold like crap its a loser.

The dumbest part about this exercise, even if we concluded without a doubt which were failures and which were bonified successes, the failures would still have large user bases filled with fans who still love the machine. Like so many still love Dreamcast and Saturn despite the most top shelf failures of all time that took Sega out of the console game. So now I wonder what the point is in caring about data and statistics, when the solid proof won't change what people love.

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#17 Edited by tormentos (29200 posts) -

OK i'll game.

Let's start by the obvious the double standard.

How the lemmings see the PS3 as a huge failure because it didn't sold like the PS2 and sony loss market share,without even looking at the variables and problems the console had to overcome to even reach 80 million which no other platform would have overcome.

Starting by what platform started at $600 and sold 86 million units.

1-Starting at $600 dollars when the competition had a console as cheap as $299,and the other new platform was $250.

2-Selling 86+ million units and still consider been a failure while only 2 console alone haven sold before it more than 80 millions in previous generations.

3-The PSP another platform from sony seen a s huge failure even that again sold more than 80 million units,hell the PSP sold more units by a hair than the GBA? Which again was another successful nintendo portable.

4-The 3DS is one that strike me the most,it is seen as a huge success because the PS Vita sold like crap,without actually seeing that the 3DS has sold like total crap if you compare it to the DS sales,even vs the PS3 it has sell less units in the same time frame how can this be?

Which bring me to the hypocrisy of sony needs to win the generation to be consider successful,but somehow MS doesn't,and is an excuse i been hearing since the PS2 squashed the OG xbox.

Oh the MS plans was to gain some market share not to win,then come the 360 and end last after starting the generation,oh they stole a huge chunk of market share from sony which was the plan,now the xbox one is selling less than the 360,less than the PS3 and somehow is ok again,because MS doesn't need to win a gen only sony does,MS can for ever be the loser than that people will make excuses as to how it is somehow a success,when other product with similar results or even better are consider a failure.

So yeah the xbox one is a FAILURE because the PS3 somehow was one.

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#18 Posted by Willy105 (24836 posts) -

It all depends on context.

Gamecube and Xbox were practically tied, but Iwata considered the Gamecube a failure while Microsoft considered the Xbox a success.

Each had different expectations.

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#19 Posted by tormentos (29200 posts) -

@Willy105 said:

It all depends on context.

Gamecube and Xbox were practically tied, but Iwata considered the Gamecube a failure while Microsoft considered the Xbox a success.

Each had different expectations.

That is because MS consider anything they do a success,hell sony beat both compabined by 100 millions.

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#20 Posted by robert_sparkes (3107 posts) -

The size of gaming these days 80 million is just about considered a success.

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#21 Posted by foxhound_fox (97975 posts) -

A profitable console is a successful console.

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#22 Posted by BenjaminBanklin (4762 posts) -
@ProtossRushX said:

xb1 is a failure in my mind so whatever number its at

To me it's kind of a failure on that level too because of how hard MS tried to force it into the market. With the constant discounts, useless marketing deals, giveaways and revisions, it only really gained ground in what, like three countries? They've burned more cash on it then they ever hoped it could make back just so they can save face. And that, is the definition of failure.

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#23 Posted by MonsieurX (39148 posts) -

@BenjaminBanklin said:
@ProtossRushX said:

xb1 is a failure in my mind so whatever number its at

To me it's kind of a failure on that level too because of how hard MS tried to force it into the market. With the constant discounts, useless marketing deals, giveaways and revisions, it only really gained ground in what, like three countries? They've burned more cash on it then they ever hoped it could make back just so they can save face. And that, is the definition of failure.

Did they?

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#24 Edited by BlackBalls (1498 posts) -

It honestly depends, for example the Xbone is considered a flop this gen yet it sold 40 million units.

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#25 Edited by robert_sparkes (3107 posts) -

I wouldn't consider it a massive flop just didn't exceed expectations. Also the PS4 has sold remarkably well and succeeded where the Xbox didn't deliver quality 1st party games.

I would go with a success in this age of gaming 70+ million.

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#26 Posted by BenjaminBanklin (4762 posts) -
@MonsieurX said:
@BenjaminBanklin said:
@ProtossRushX said:

xb1 is a failure in my mind so whatever number its at

To me it's kind of a failure on that level too because of how hard MS tried to force it into the market. With the constant discounts, useless marketing deals, giveaways and revisions, it only really gained ground in what, like three countries? They've burned more cash on it then they ever hoped it could make back just so they can save face. And that, is the definition of failure.

Did they?

They never report profit, so it's a foregone conclusion that things aren't where they should be.

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#28 Posted by BenjaminBanklin (4762 posts) -
@MonsieurX said:
@BenjaminBanklin said:
@MonsieurX said:
@BenjaminBanklin said:
@ProtossRushX said:

xb1 is a failure in my mind so whatever number its at

To me it's kind of a failure on that level too because of how hard MS tried to force it into the market. With the constant discounts, useless marketing deals, giveaways and revisions, it only really gained ground in what, like three countries? They've burned more cash on it then they ever hoped it could make back just so they can save face. And that, is the definition of failure.

Did they?

They never report profit, so it's a foregone conclusion that things aren't where they should be.

https://venturebeat.com/2018/04/26/xbox-made-2-25-billion-for-microsoft-last-quarter/

https://www.cnet.com/news/microsofts-xbox-business-hits-the-magic-10b/

No profit at all

Nope... because that's revenue, not profit. And the CNET report doesn't have the whole story because gaming for MS was 10 billion, not just Xbox. Anything can be attributed to gaming for the company with a definition that broad.

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#29 Posted by BigBadBully (2163 posts) -

I would say 20 million current day is a success, cause you then have many more people tapping into services like ps+, psnow, xbox live gold, gamepass, play anywhere....

Earlier gens had to rely on physical hardware where thats not the case anymore.

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#30 Posted by SecretPolice (35355 posts) -

@foxhound_fox said:

A profitable console is a successful console.

Concise and precise. I love that kind of thing.

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#31 Edited by scatteh316 (10252 posts) -

I would say around the 40-50 million mark as it would still give you enough market share to be competitive in the here and now and in the future.

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#32 Posted by TryIt (13157 posts) -

@saltslasher

define 'successful' and I am not saying that to be difficult but when you think about it, it does warrent an explanation.

is just saying in business with a business likely larger then anything you or I will even make in our lifetime a measure of success? if not then what does that make us? a total failure?

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#33 Posted by knight-k (2600 posts) -

80mil +.

100mil + is a huge success. Only the greats achieve this.

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#34 Posted by ahmedkhan1994 (714 posts) -

More than the ps4, otherwise it's an automatic failure.

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#35 Posted by sonny2dap (1531 posts) -

Depends on your objective, take the original xbox, numbers wise didn't do great but it's the reason the xbox brand still exists today, it did enough to break into the market and carve out a place for itself by that metric it was a great success despite selling nothing like its rival.

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#36 Posted by Jag85 (13535 posts) -

Depends on the generation:

Gen 1 - 100k

Gen 2 - 1m

Gen 3 - 5m

Gen 4 - 10m

Gen 5 - 20m

Gen 6 - 30m

Gen 7 - 40m

Gen 8 - 50m

Avatar image for Jag85
#37 Posted by Jag85 (13535 posts) -

The 30 million hardware number for the Sega Mega Drive is an incomplete number, not the final number sold. When including sales after 1995, and Genesis/Mega Drive consoles sold by third-party manufacturers like Majesco and Tectoy, the Mega Drive's final number is closer to 40 million hardware sales.

More importantly, the most important factor in determining a console's success is actually the number of software units sold, not the hardware units sold. Most consoles have traditionally sold hardware at a loss, in order to make profit on the software. So it's the software where the real money is made. That's been the console business model for decades. Yet gamers continue to insist on judging a console's success by hardware sales instead of software sales.

When it comes to software sales, that's where the Mega Drive was a huge success. It had a software attach ratio of 16:1, the highest ever in all of console gaming history. In comparison, the SNES had an 8:1 attach ratio and the PS1 and PS2 had a 9:1 attach ratio. That translates to at least over 500 million Mega Drive software sold, beating the SNES which sold 380 million software.

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#38 Posted by LuxuryHeart (1038 posts) -

I say at least 50 million nowadays. Though back in the day was different. You have to factor in population, popularity of gaming, and inflation of prices. You can't just say that the Atari 2600 was a flop compared to the Xbox One or N64 because the population was smaller back then along with the popularity of gaming.

Atari 2600: That system sold 30 million units, most of its sales had by 1985. On December 31, 1985, the global population was at 4.85 billion compared to our population of 7.7 billion as of October 2018. Adjusting for the population back then, that's 47.63 million consoles sold. Not too shabby, especially since most of the sales were in America and gaming wasn't a big thing back then.

SNES: It sold 49.1 million, but look at the time. The SNES was discontinued in 2003 everywhere, but it got most of its sales by late 1996 with 42.3 million sold world wide. On December 31, 1996, the population was at 5.8 billion. If you adjust for the population back then, selling 49.1 million would be like selling 65.18 million today. Even more when you factor in the cost of the system, the cost of the games, and the popularity of gaming in general.

Genesis: This forum explains that it might have sold about 37-40 million. https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?129693-What-was-the-Total-Sega-Genesis-Hardware-Sales-NumberIf you account for adjustments, assuming the Genesis/Mega Drive sold about 38.5 million units (evenly between 37-40 million), that's about 51.11 million units today. Again, you also have to account for the popularity of gaming and inflation as far as the price of the system/games.

N64: The N64 sold 32.93 million units. It got most of its sales by 2001. The population then was about 6.2 billion. Adjusting for population, that's 40.9 sold. Yeah, this wasn't a success. I personally consider it a flop, but I know others who consider it a decent success. Take in mind that the PS1 had come out and made gaming sort of popular, so it doesn't get the excuse of the Atari. Still nothing to sneeze at though.

OG Xbox: It got most of its sales by 2006, and it sold 24.65 million. The population during this time was 6.6 billion. Adjusting for population that's 28.76 million. Yeah, that's not a success whatsoever; it was a huge flop. Especially since the PS2 managed over 155 million sold, so meh.

GameCube: It sold 21.74 million. Adjusting for population, that's 25.36 million. It was a huge flop.

Avatar image for luxuryheart
#39 Edited by LuxuryHeart (1038 posts) -
@2Chalupas said:
@elitegaming247 said:

Depends on market size, the ambitions of the parent company and also to market share. You can't compare this gen to previous gens because the size of the markets are different as markets today are drastically larger than what they were 20 or 30 years ago.

The gaming market during the SNES and Genesis era was a lot smaller than it is today so you can't use that as a barometer for gauging success or failure this gen. Selling 40 million back then was a big deal even though nowadays it isn't much in today's market. It all goes back to the size of the market and different standards back then. The gaming market grew exponentially during the PS1 and PS2 era since then.

The SNES was undoubtedly a success. It had a huge chunk of the market share back in the 90s so I'm not sure why you have it in the "questionable success" category. Nintendo dominated back in the 90s and to question whether the SNES was a success is lol-worthy, and sounds like the kind of mistake someone who wasn't gaming back then would make. The only competition Nintendo had back then was SEGA, the rest of the consoles back then weren't even competition.

Yep, 40 million back then would be like someone making a 140 million selling console today. Total domination. SNES and Sega Genesis were both huge. SNES of course being one of the GOAT, but indeed the only reason it didn't outsell the original NES was because the Genesis gave it some stiff competition. But that doesn't make it a failure by any stretch, there were 2 major players and SNES outsold it's main competitor a little less than 2:1. During last gen there were about 260 million consoles sold, that means on an equivalent market share basis the SNES would have sold like 160+ million.

Nowadays 40 million is probably just enough to keep you in the game, to at least want to go back to the drawing board and try and win the next gen. But it is also a "near failure". To put it in perspective,the Atari Jaguar supposedly only sold like 250K. But that was a different era with custom hardware and engineering issues going into even the simplest game development. There were lots of small selling consoles in the 80's and 90's., the Jaguar was just notable because it came from a former major player whose pioneering console sold 30 million. That was a drop from 30 million to 250K in just a few generations. I'm not sure that type of failure is possible in today's world because it's like choosing coke vs. pepsi at this point. The floor now is probably like 20 million, so I pretty much agree with the OP there. Modern "big 3" console selling <20 million is pretty much an epic fail.

I wouldn't go that far... Selling 40 million back in the SNES/Genesis days was like selling 53.1 million based on population. The SNES sold an equivalent of 65.18 million today.

Of course you can also factor in the popularity of gaming in the equation. The SNES/Genesis sold a combined total of 87.6 million units. Adjusted for the population in 2013, that's about 108.59. The Wii/PS3/Xbox 360 sold a combined total of 274.34. If you account that the SNES/Genesis was 2 against 3, the total would be 162.89 with the SNES accounting for 91.3 million (Genesis accounting for 71.59 million) if you factor in the growth of gaming in general. A huge success, but it isn't 140-160 million by any stretch.

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#40 Edited by Jag85 (13535 posts) -

Home console market size of each generation:

  • Gen 1 - 5 million
  • Gen 2 - 40 million
  • Gen 3 - 85 million
  • Gen 4 - 110 million
  • Gen 5 - 150 million
  • Gen 6 - 210 million
  • Gen 7 - 270 million
  • Gen 8 - 150 million (so far)

Home console market shares of each generation:

  • Gen 1
    • Nintendo Color TV Game - 60%
    • Coleco Telstar - 20%
    • Epoch Electrotennis - 9%
    • Magnavox Odyssey - 7%
  • Gen 2
    • Atari 2600 - 63%
    • ColecoVision - 15%
    • Intellivision - 8%
    • Atari 5200 - 3%
  • Gen 3
    • NES - 73%
    • Sega Master System - 24%
    • Sega SG-1000 - 2%
    • Atari 7800 - 1%
  • Gen 4
    • SNES - 45%
    • Sega Mega Drive - 37%
    • PC Engine - 14%
    • Neo Geo - 1%
  • Gen 5
    • PS1 - 68%
    • N64 - 21%
    • Saturn - 10%
    • 3DO - 1%
  • Gen 6
    • PS2 - 74%
    • Xbox - 11%
    • GameCube - 11%
    • Dreamcast - 5%
  • Gen 7
    • Wii - 40%
    • X360 - 30%
    • PS3 - 30%
  • Gen 8 (so far)
    • PS4 - 55%
    • X1 - 23%
    • Switch - 13%
    • Wii U - 9%

Top ten most successful home consoles by market share:

  1. PS2 - 74%
  2. NES - 73%
  3. PS1 - 69%
  4. Atari 2600 - 63%
  5. Nintendo Color TV Game - 60%
  6. PS4 - 55% (so far)
  7. SNES - 45%
  8. Wii - 40%
  9. Sega Mega Drive - 37%
  10. X360 / PS3 - 30%

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#41 Edited by KBFloYd (21859 posts) -

i'd say 30million. if you sell around that i think you can gaurantee a successor console.

anything above that is a huge success

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#42 Posted by Micropixel (1383 posts) -

@foxhound_fox said:

A profitable console is a successful console.

This. ^

While everyone is so quick to chalk the Wii U up as a failure based on it's lifetime sales numbers, Nintendo actually profited off the console 6 months after it's launch. So that's 4 and a half years of profits prior the Switch. This is why you'll never seem them going 3rd party; because Nintendo is relentless at finding ways to profit off of everything (except the Virtual Boy).

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#43 Edited by SaltSlasher (1158 posts) -
@Jag85 said:

Home console market size of each generation:

  • Gen 1 - 5 million
  • Gen 2 - 40 million
  • Gen 3 - 85 million
  • Gen 4 - 110 million
  • Gen 5 - 150 million
  • Gen 6 - 210 million
  • Gen 7 - 270 million
  • Gen 8 - 150 million (so far)

Home console market shares of each generation:

  • Gen 1
    • Nintendo Color TV Game - 60%
    • Coleco Telstar - 20%
    • Epoch Electrotennis - 9%
    • Magnavox Odyssey - 7%
  • Gen 2
    • Atari 2600 - 63%
    • ColecoVision - 15%
    • Intellivision - 8%
    • Atari 5200 - 3%
  • Gen 3
    • NES - 73%
    • Sega Master System - 24%
    • Sega SG-1000 - 2%
    • Atari 7800 - 1%
  • Gen 4
    • SNES - 45%
    • Sega Mega Drive - 37%
    • PC Engine - 14%
    • Neo Geo - 1%
  • Gen 5
    • PS1 - 68%
    • N64 - 21%
    • Saturn - 10%
    • 3DO - 1%
  • Gen 6
    • PS2 - 74%
    • Xbox - 11%
    • GameCube - 11%
    • Dreamcast - 5%
  • Gen 7
    • Wii - 40%
    • X360 - 30%
    • PS3 - 30%
  • Gen 8 (so far)
    • PS4 - 55%
    • X1 - 23%
    • Switch - 13%
    • Wii U - 9%

Top ten most successful home consoles by market share:

  1. PS2 - 74%
  2. NES - 73%
  3. PS1 - 69%
  4. Atari 2600 - 63%
  5. Nintendo Color TV Game - 60%
  6. PS4 - 55% (so far)
  7. SNES - 45%
  8. Wii - 40%
  9. Sega Mega Drive - 37%
  10. X360 / PS3 - 30%

If this was reddit, I'd being uping a lot of posts...such a great topic and great reply...I thought Xbox One would have worst 2nd place market share, but looking at this, 2600, PS2 and PS1 dominated over the rest more so than PS4 is to One. It ain't no SNES/Genesis and damn sure not as even as PS3/360, but I think 23% is a respectable market share, although likely not as high if we didn't count Wii U. 23% is not a big drop from 30%, I think where it hurts most for the brand is losing market share in North America and/or USA. Just looking at Nintendo since NES, they dropped and dropped til minimal share on NGC and Wii U, I definitely wouldn't call Xbox doomed right now.

I think the better case is to be made at "what % market share needed to be successful". Look at Saturn, Dreamcast and Wii U, 10%, 5%, and 9%, if anything having 10% or less market share is about where a lot failure is, but of course Xbox/NGC's 11% is much better than Saturn's 10%, and think first Xbox had more reasons to be 11% cause new to consoles, while Nintendo had continued to not achieve again. I think its safe to say Sony is the best console maker all-time, Nintendo's console greatest slowly dissipated, and Xbox has done well for itself being the newest console maker, I doubt Google or anyone new who enters console space will achieve 30% market share within 2-3 gens. Obviously what Sony did was incredibly impressive to single handily take over the business, but think both did a great job, as did Nintendo at first.

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#44 Edited by Jag85 (13535 posts) -

@saltslasher:

The Saturn was a bigger failure than the Xbox and GC because of the much bigger market share drop. Sega's market share dropped 27%, from the Mega Drive's 37% to the Saturn's 10%. Whereas Nintendo's market share dropped only 10%, from the N64's 21% to the GC's 11%. While the Xbox was a new console, so it made an 11% gain.

Market share gains and losses of various consoles:

  • Gen 1
    • Magnavox Odyssey: +7%
    • Epoch Electrotennis: +9%
    • Coleco Telstar: +20%
    • Nintendo Color TV Game: +60%
  • Gen 2
    • Atari 2600: +60%
    • Intellivision: +8%
    • ColecoVision: -5%
    • Atari 5200: -60%
  • Gen 3
    • Sega SG-1000: +2%
    • NES: +73%
    • Sega Master System: +22%
    • Atari 7800: -2%
  • Gen 4
    • PC Engine: +14%
    • Sega Mega Drive: +13%
    • Neo Geo: +1%
    • SNES: -28%
  • Gen 5
    • 3DO: +1%
    • Saturn: -27%
    • PS1: +68%
    • N64: -24%
  • Gen 6
    • Dreamcast: -5%
    • PS2: +6%
    • GameCube: -10%
    • Xbox: +11%
  • Gen 7
    • X360: +19%
    • PS3: -44%
    • Wii: +29%
  • Gen 8 (so far)
    • Wii U: -31%
    • PS4: +25%
    • X1: -7%
    • Switch: +4%

Biggest market share gains:

  1. NES: +73%
  2. PS1: +68%
  3. Atari 2600: +60%
  4. Nintendo Color TV Game: +60%
  5. Wii: +29%
  6. PS4: +25%
  7. Sega Master System: +22%
  8. Coleco Telstar: +20%
  9. X360: +19%
  10. PC Engine: +14%

Biggest market share losses:

  1. Atari 5200: -60%
  2. PS3: -44%
  3. Wii U: -31%
  4. SNES: -28%
  5. Saturn: -27%
  6. N64: -24%
  7. GameCube: -10%
  8. X1: -7%
  9. ColecoVision: -5%
  10. Dreamcast: -5%

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#45 Posted by tormentos (29200 posts) -

According to @kingtito the PS3 was a failure the 360 wasn't so again it depend on how much of a blind fanboy you are..

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#46 Posted by Xabiss (2722 posts) -

I think when you hit 40-50million units sold you did okay or average. When you hit the 100 million mark that is just a home run. Just like the PS4 this gen will be a home run because it will easily sale 100 million before the gen is over. Xbox will be lucky to hit 50 million and the Switch only time will tell. I am thinking around the 80 million mark.

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#47 Posted by kingtito (10378 posts) -

@tormentos said:

According to @kingtito the PS3 was a failure the 360 wasn't so again it depend on how much of a blind fanboy you are..

Sony agreed el tormented..hence the PS4. Totally different direction with zero chances taken. Just make it more powerful than it's competition while changing nothing else....well except for charging cows for online. You swallowed that like a true Sony drone. Must suck to be you

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#48 Posted by Shewgenja (21456 posts) -

There are some interesting answers in this thread, but what needs to be taken into account is the cost to develop games rising over the years. The number of console owners needs to grow with development costs to maintain a profitable ecosystem to a single platform, which is in turn, the onus for attracting third-party exclusives and more games.

A console selling 20-30 million back in the 90s and early 00's was plenty to maintain that healthy ecosystem, whereas those numbers would be disasterous in the HD era.

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#49 Posted by tormentos (29200 posts) -

@kingtito said:
@tormentos said:

According to @kingtito the PS3 was a failure the 360 wasn't so again it depend on how much of a blind fanboy you are..

Sony agreed el tormented..hence the PS4. Totally different direction with zero chances taken. Just make it more powerful than it's competition while changing nothing else....well except for charging cows for online. You swallowed that like a true Sony drone. Must suck to be you

NO the PS4 fallow the great formula that the PS1 and latter the best selling console of all times PS2 already had deliver.

That is funny the PS2 was the most powerful console when it launched as well,the xbox wasn't release for another 20 months,so yeah sony continue the formula they already used.

If they would have follow MS steps the PS4 would have a 54% fail rate and by this time frame it would be losing like MS was last gen at this same time frame,oh i forgot you actually believe the wii didn't exist.

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#50 Posted by kingtito (10378 posts) -

@tormentos said:
@kingtito said:
@tormentos said:

According to @kingtito the PS3 was a failure the 360 wasn't so again it depend on how much of a blind fanboy you are..

Sony agreed el tormented..hence the PS4. Totally different direction with zero chances taken. Just make it more powerful than it's competition while changing nothing else....well except for charging cows for online. You swallowed that like a true Sony drone. Must suck to be you

NO the PS4 fallow the great formula that the PS1 and latter the best selling console of all times PS2 already had deliver.

That is funny the PS2 was the most powerful console when it launched as well,the xbox wasn't release for another 20 months,so yeah sony continue the formula they already used.

If they would have follow MS steps the PS4 would have a 54% fail rate and by this time frame it would be losing like MS was last gen at this same time frame,oh i forgot you actually believe the wii didn't exist.

Wrong el tormented. They failed with the PS3 and lost , from what I understand, the PS2 profits. They lost most of their market share and allowed MS to be a major player in the console market. You can thank MS for the PS4 instead of being the ungrateful super fanboy you are. They were going in a different direction until the PS3 failed in Sony's eyes.

The PS2 was the weakest gen 6 console of the big 3(Gamecube, PS2, Xbox) so no idea what you're talking about. Once again you failed to prove your point

Reading comprehension fail once again. I didn't say they followed MS steps el tormented. I said they can thank MS for the direction they went. In other words, because the 360 took so much away from Sony, Sony had to rethink their strategy, hence the PS4. Seriously, go work on your comprehension skills, it's the worst I've ever seen.