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

  • 75 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for saltslasher
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 pyro1245
#51 Posted by pyro1245 (5065 posts) -

20M is a lot of things to sell.

Sheeeit. I'd say it's a successful product if you sell 1M.

Really a successful product just has to make money and not lose money. Set your expectation accordingly.

Avatar image for TheEroica
#52 Edited by TheEroica (18417 posts) -

There is nothing "moderate" about the success of the Snes... My people were a small group back in those days, but those in the know had an Snes and it was a legendary console.

Avatar image for Jag85
#53 Edited by Jag85 (13535 posts) -

Since most of the money is made from software (while hardware is usually sold at a loss), a better way of judging console success is software sales:

  1. PS2 - 1.5 billion (9.8 attach rate)
  2. PS1 - 960 million (9.4 attach rate)
  3. DS - 950 million (6.2 attach rate)
  4. Wii - 920 million (9.1 attach rate)
  5. PS3 - 750 million (8.9 attach rate)
  6. PS4 - 650 million (8.8 attach rate)
  7. X360- 630 million (7.5 attach rate)
  8. Sega Mega Drive - 550 million (16.0 attach rate)
  9. Game Boy - 501 million (4.2 attach rate)
  10. NES - 500 million (8.1 attach rate)

Avatar image for luxuryheart
#54 Posted by LuxuryHeart (1038 posts) -
@Shewgenja said:

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.

I disagree with the first part, but agree with the second. With gaming costs on the rise, developers can scam funds out of gamers using loot boxes and micros-transactions.

The reason that 20-30 million isn't a success anymore is because the world population grew and gaming is more popular now. You can't just said, "the Atari is considered a success and it only sold about 30 million. That means that 30 million is a success!" Um, the Atari was out when gaming wasn't popular and the global population was smaller. Selling 30 million in that time was like selling 47.63 million consoles today, and that's only factoring the population growth alone. It's even more when you factor the growth of gaming in general. Same with the Genesis. Sure the Genesis sold about 37-40, but selling 40 million during that time was like selling 53 million today when you adjust for population. In my opinion, with the population today and the popularity of gaming, 50 million is the bare minimum to be a success. No excuse to sell under that.

Avatar image for tormentos
#55 Posted by tormentos (29200 posts) -

@kingtito said:

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.

NO they did not unless you want to see the xbox 360 as a failure and there is a truck load of links showing how MS didn't make money with the 360 which was a money pit for then for quite some time.

Factually they loss less than half their user base which is not MOST by any real definition.

Again factually wrong the generation started with the Dreamcast you should stop moving goal post to favor your arguments,the dreamcast was the weakest,but then again is not like this gen were the PS4 launched a week from the xbox was $100 cheaper and stronger,the xbox landed almost 2 years after the PS2.

No unless you can prove that sony didn't have a successful console before MS that shit hold no grounds,you can't say the PS4 is what it is because of the 360,because the PS2 was a monster that dwarfed even the 360,hell the xbox 360+ xbox combined sold like 109 million units you can add what the xbox one has now and probably all 3 may beat the PS2 by 1 or 2 millions..lol

Sony didn't rethink shit sony went back to what they use to do,cheap price tons of games.

Avatar image for kingtito
#56 Posted by kingtito (10378 posts) -

@tormentos said:
@kingtito said:

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.

NO they did not unless you want to see the xbox 360 as a failure and there is a truck load of links showing how MS didn't make money with the 360 which was a money pit for then for quite some time.

Factually they loss less than half their user base which is not MOST by any real definition.

Again factually wrong the generation started with the Dreamcast you should stop moving goal post to favor your arguments,the dreamcast was the weakest,but then again is not like this gen were the PS4 launched a week from the xbox was $100 cheaper and stronger,the xbox landed almost 2 years after the PS2.

No unless you can prove that sony didn't have a successful console before MS that shit hold no grounds,you can't say the PS4 is what it is because of the 360,because the PS2 was a monster that dwarfed even the 360,hell the xbox 360+ xbox combined sold like 109 million units you can add what the xbox one has now and probably all 3 may beat the PS2 by 1 or 2 millions..lol

Sony didn't rethink shit sony went back to what they use to do,cheap price tons of games.

MS did exactly what they wanted to do with the 360
1. Make MS a major player in the console market
2. Take market share from Sony
Mission accomplished on both fronts. The PS3 did the exact opposite for Sony...

So the gamecube was gen 8? Even if you want to count the Dreamcast that still wouldn't make it the most power console that gen which goes against your claim the PS4 followed that road map.

Anyone with rational and logical thought could say the PS4 is what it is because of the 360 and what the 360 did to the PS3 would say so. That would explain why you can't see it because you lack any and all rational and logical thought. No surprise there

Gee I wonder why Sony went back to being simple scared to take a chance. Could it be because they failed with the PS3 and how MS came and took the NA market away from them? Hmmmm sounds like MS had a lot to do with Sony's PS4 direction.

-------->corner

Avatar image for DocSanchez
#57 Posted by DocSanchez (5318 posts) -

It's all relative to the company and their previous success/lack of it. If someone comes out of nowhere and sells 20 mill, that's a massive success. If Sony release a PS5 and it gets 30, it's a massive failure.

Avatar image for lordroberts774
#58 Posted by lordroberts774 (61 posts) -

And too bad Wikipedia is edited by biased fanboys (proven by the locked pages), because their view of failure is based on bias articles that only agree with partial statements, ignoring facts that dispute claims. Thus, it's an invalid source to use in schools.

Avatar image for EG101
#59 Posted by EG101 (2010 posts) -

As many consoles as it takes for the manufacturer to be profitable. As long as its profitable for 1st party, 3rd parties continue releasing games on the console while also being mostly profitable and the manufacturer is profitable then I would consider it a success.

Usually that number comes around the 25 - 30 million mark depending on the initial investment during the start of the gen. Could even be less sales if Hardware is sold for profit from the start. I think Sony stated that PS4 broke even with just 1 additional sale of a game at launch. That would probably mean Sony and 3rd parties were already very profitable at the 20 million mark with the PS4.

Avatar image for fedor
#60 Posted by Fedor (5177 posts) -

@lordroberts774: How did you even find this old ass post?

Avatar image for davillain-
#61 Posted by DaVillain- (36964 posts) -

@fedor said:

@lordroberts774: How did you even find this old ass post?

I think when people are using google to search for something such as one of this type of threads don't or won't notice looking at the dates and start posting assuming it's still relevant. You be surprise, some can find older threads as 2000 lol.

Avatar image for nerdrage
#62 Posted by NerdRAGE (28 posts) -

PROFITS. That's what decides success. If you're profitable, you succeeded.


Avatar image for fedor
#63 Posted by Fedor (5177 posts) -

@davillain-: Lol, yea that probably right.

Avatar image for tdkmillsy
#64 Edited by tdkmillsy (3133 posts) -

My nephew has an Xbox One and plays one game on it only that cost nothing (bet you cant guess which :) ).

Does the number of consoles sold really define success?

Avatar image for davillain-
#65 Posted by DaVillain- (36964 posts) -

@nerdrage said:

PROFITS. That's what decides success. If you're profitable, you succeeded.

Funny, you posted in this thread by the name of Micropixel (your old account) first page 11 months ago lol. You probably forgotten about it.

Avatar image for robert_sparkes
#66 Posted by robert_sparkes (3107 posts) -

Sony have continued to raise the bar 100+ is an incredible feat. Successful should be upwards 40-50 depends on investment.

Avatar image for XVision84
#67 Posted by XVision84 (16252 posts) -

Posting in here before the lock.

On topic: if a console doesn't sell at least 100 million units, they might as well go out of business.

Avatar image for ten_pints
#68 Posted by Ten_Pints (3834 posts) -

Somewhere around 60 mill I would guess. It has to be enough for developers from all around the world to support to be a success.

Avatar image for heirren
#69 Posted by Heirren (1639 posts) -

Depends on the market. If share prices rise, its a successful console.

Avatar image for calvincfb
#70 Posted by Calvincfb (0 posts) -

@kingtito: you are clueless about the gaming market.

Avatar image for mojito1988
#71 Posted by mojito1988 (3643 posts) -

Failure or success has little to do with total numbers sold. It is all about the profits.

Avatar image for Megavideogamer
#72 Posted by Megavideogamer (6499 posts) -

These days 40 million is the cut off mark for a Successful console. The NES had 62 ish million, The Super NES had "just" 49.10 million. But that was due the competition for Sega Genesis 32 ish million. But add in the Brazil numbers of the Megadrive re-releases/reissues for 40 million.

All of the Sony Playstations have surpassed 40 million. Including the "ill fated" PS3 which sold 86 to 88 ish million. The even more "ill fated" Xbox 360 was a success at 85 million. Even the Xbox One is at or very close to the cut off number. 39 Million to 40 million Xbox one consoles sold. Another "ill fated start" but Microsoft squeaks by yet again.

But this leaves out The Nintendo 64 which sold 32 million. While beloved now only has a library of just under 400 total games. 392 of something of that number. The Nintendo Gamecube has a game library of around 678 total games, But only sold 21.74 million. So both consoles failed....

But so did at lot of notable consoles Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Atari 2600, SNK Neo Geo etc.

But the Nintendo Wii sold 101 million, But only had 75-80 Awesome great games out of a total library of 2100 games. The Wii U only sold 13.5 million with only 150 ish Disc based library. But makes the N64 and Gamecube look like huge successes. Nintendo has turned things around with the Nintendo Switch.

Sony PS2 remains the high mark of success at 157 ish million consoles sold. It may never be exceeded ever.

40 million seems to be the number to measure success.

Avatar image for kingtito
#73 Posted by kingtito (10378 posts) -

@calvincfb said:

@kingtito: you are clueless about the gaming market.

Coming from a delusional crazy nut job cow, I'll take that as a compliment. Thanks kid

Avatar image for Ibacai
#74 Edited by Ibacai (13824 posts) -

I don’t think that the total number of sales matters as long as a system is profitable and garnering public appreciation.

Avatar image for calvincfb
#75 Posted by Calvincfb (0 posts) -

@kingtito: not a cow. You're as wrong as that as everything else.

Avatar image for kingtito
#76 Posted by kingtito (10378 posts) -

@calvincfb said:

@kingtito: not a cow. You're as wrong as that as everything else.

Then just an idiot? Got it but.....if it walks like a cow, sounds like a cow and looks like a cow...by golly it must be a cow.