Video games have become one of society’s favorite pastimes, especially among the young adult demographic: Playing video games has even become a recognized ‘sport’ in its own right, branded as Esports. The world of gaming has become such a booming industry that it has inspired some of the finest breakthroughs of technology and, arguably, more innovative gaming and storytelling than has ever graced mankind in such a short space of time.
The evolution of gaming has a rich history that started out as research for computer interaction and artificial intelligence testing. Then, the gaming industry reached a popularity boom in the 1970’s with arcade games, which would be the inspiration for what we now know as video game consoles. With Atari’s introduction of Pong in 1972, consumers’ enthusiasm showed that there was a strong market for the stimulation and thrill of playing interactive games. Upon their introduction to the public, arcade games became instantly popular. No longer would kids sit at home playing board games, but instead they would spend their time – and pocket money – at the arcade.
Because of gaming’s popularity, computer whizzes and engineers began to brainstorm on how to bring the video game experience into the home. In the mid-to-late seventies, the development of gaming computers began to emerge, but it still wasn’t quite enough. As the computer industry began to develop, systems dedicated to video games with their own screens and hard drives became part of the early generation of gaming.
Then in the late 70s and the early 80s, a separate machine- or console – was developed; a computerized box that needed a television or computer to be used as the output, while using game controllers as the input. This newest innovation would stick around and would quickly boom with popularity due to the fact that it was mobile and could be used on several different televisions. It was smaller and adaptable and. Thus, the world was introduced to the gaming console, and the rest is history. An interesting history, indeed, with rapid and extreme innovations year on year. Here is a list of the top ten gaming consoles that have sold in the highest number of units over the course of gaming history. This list, a testament to how far the gaming industry has come, has some familiar brands and a few handheld devices which made gaming mobile long before the age of smart phones and tablets.
10. Nintendo (1983) – 61.91 Million
A true classic, the Nintendo Entertainment System was one of the best selling consoles of its time with its 8-bit system. After a video game crash, the Nintendo brought the popularity of gaming back to the world as well as setting the standard for gaming consoles. In 2009, it was named as the single greatest video game console in history. Who can disagree with classics such as Mario, Super Mario, Ninja Turtles, Duck Hunt, and many more of our favorite video games that came from that system?
9. PlayStation Portable (2004) – 80 Million
The PlayStation Portable is a handheld console that uses a disc format as its primary storage medium. It also has the ability to connect to the Internet as well as other PSP’s, PlayStation 2’s and PlayStation 3’s. The disc format for the storage is known as the Universal Media Disc (UMD). Other features of the PSP are the large viewing screen as well as the extensive multi-media capabilities. With so much technological capabilities at the palm of the gamers’ hand, the PSP became a hot-selling item after its release.
8. PlayStation 3 (2006) – 80 Million
The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006 and part of the seventh generation video game consoles and what made the PS 3 stand out from the rest of the competition was the fact that it used Blu-ray discs as its primary storage medium. Sony developed the PS3 and the hyper surrounding the console made it one of the most anticipated releases of the year. The PS3 was first released in Japan with North American and European releases following soon after.
7. GameBoy Advance (2001) – 81.51 Million
Imagine having a 32-bit gaming console in the palm of your hands, chances are you were probably imagining the GameBoy Advance, which was the successor to the GameBoy Color. What made this particular handheld device exceptionally popular was that it marked the return of the old school Nintendo games like Super Mario, Bros. but this time with color quality even better than the original. Even with many competitors around the industry at the time, the GameBoy Advance still maintained consistent sales as well as Nintendo’s market share.
6. Xbox 360 (2005) – 82.9 Million
The Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and developed by the Microsoft Corporation and was the successor of the original Xbox, which was released in 2001. The 360 was first unveiled on MTV in May of 2005 with details of the upcoming release. The console was a direct competitor with the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3, with the idea of the newly innovated console first conceived in 2003. What made the Xbox stand out was the “Xbox Live”, an online service that allows to purchase subscriptions, stream music and movies, online gaming, and more.
5. Wii (2006) – 100.9 Million
The Wii system was released right before the Thanksgiving holiday in 2006 and was a direct competitor with Microsoft’s Xbox and the PlayStation 3. But what made the Wii different from any console that had existed before was the controller, which is a battery operated pointing device that can detect movement in three dimensions. The Wii was actually inspired by the Nintendo GameCube and the idea was first conceived in 2001 and went through several years of development until its release.
4. PlayStation (1994) – 102.49 Million
The PlayStation (known as PS) was first introduced in 1994 and was the first console to surpass 100 million units sold (of its time). It was known as a computer entertainment platform due to its extensive 32-bit technology and utilizing CD-ROM to read the game software. The PS was eventually discontinued in 2006, but remained as one of Sony’s more successful consoles until the PS2 was released. In an industry that was dominated by Nintendo and Sega, Sony really set a new standard for consoles that made it the success that it was.
3. GameBoy (1989) – 118.69 Million
Nintendo’s second handheld device was introduced in 1989 and was an 8-bit console known as Game Boy, and then a color version known as the GameBoy Color, which was released in 1998. Between the two versions of the device, GameBoy has sold over 118 million units until the devices were discontinued in 2003. The device was able to interchange different games with game cartridges so users weren’t stuck with just one game. GameBoy would set a standard for handhelds in the industry and inspired technology for future devices made by Nintendo.
2. Nintendo DS (2004) – 153.98 Million
The Nintendo DS is a handheld console that has not one, but two screens that work together in tandem. It became a huge hit in the gaming world since its release in 2004. The bottom screen is a touch screen, as well as features microphone and wireless connectivity, giving gamers the capability to play together in the same game as long as they’re close together and on the same Wi-Fi connection. The handheld console was meant to compliment the GameCube and GameBoy advance, but sales quickly proved that Nintendo created something special with the DS. A follow up to DS was developed called the Nintendo DS Lite, which was a smaller version of the original, but still didn’t sell as well as the original.
1. PlayStation 2 (2000) – 155 Million
The PlayStation 2 (or PS2) is the best-selling gaming console in history with over 155 million sold since its release in 2000. It was first released in Japan in March and then the PS2 had a North American and European release that followed soon after. Over 3800 games have been developed for the system with over a billion games sold in total. As one of the ‘sixth generation’ of consoles, this console was released with competition from notably less successful units like the Dreamcast Sega and Nintendo’s Gamecube, and the more successful Microsoft Xbox. It has since, of course, trumped all of these. Sony announced that in 2013, the PS2 had ceased production – after a hugely successful 12 year run. So if you haven’t yet got your hands on a PS2, do so before functional units become truly rare and correspondingly expensive!
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