Hello everyone, two months ago Paul Gale Network created this article, which was a compilation of Nintendo’s all-time, total video game hardware and software that was sold, in addition to this article, which did the same for PlayStation.
Today, we look at the two, head to head!
1) Nintendo DS – 154.02m
2) Game Boy – 118.69m
3) Nintendo Switch – 103.54m
4) Wii – 101.63
5) Game Boy Advance – 81.51m
6) Nintendo 3DS – 75.94m
7) Nintendo Entertainment System – 61.91m
8) Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 49.10m
9) Nintendo 64 – 32.93m
10) Nintendo GameCube – 21.74m
11) Wii U – 13.56m
12) Virtual Boy – .77+m (This is the last Virtual Boy figure provided, though it did sell after. How much exactly is unknown.)
Total Nintendo hardware from the above consoles = 815.34 million
1) PlayStation 2 – 157.68m
2) PlayStation 4 – 116.9m
3) PlayStation – 102.4m
4) PlayStation 3 – 87.4m
5) PSP – 76.4m
6) PlayStation 5 – 17.2m
7) PS Vita – 13.8m
Total hardware sold from the above consoles = 571.8 million
It wouldn’t be enough to just provide the above, however, because most know that Nintendo entered the video game industry first. The following is a comparison between the two companies and how much hardware they moved on average, per year, for the amount of years they have been active.
Famicom (Japan’s NES) released on July 15th, 1983.
From July, ’83 to December, ’21: 38 years and 5 months (38.416 years) have passed, with 815,340,000 consoles being sold.
This is an average of 21,223,969 Nintendo consoles being sold per year during that time.
PlayStation launched in Japan on December 3rd, 1994.
From July, ’94 to December, ’21: 27 years and 28 days (27.07 years) have passed, with 571,780,000 consoles being sold.
This is an average of 21,122,275 PlayStation consoles being sold per year during that time.
With Nintendo’s 38 year history on the market and PlayStation’s 27, it makes sense that Nintendo sold more hardware in total, but what’s really interesting is to see that the average number of consoles sold per year for the two, is actually quite close. It should be noted that the first PlayStation did not launch outside of Japan, until 9 months later, when it came to North America and Europe. Adjusting the numbers would help Sony’s lifetime by a small percentage. On the Nintendo side, the NES didn’t come out in North America until a full 2 years and 3 months after Famicom (and in other territories, the gap was even larger). If you include the total sales, but reduce the years to beginning with the NES and not the Famicom, Nintendo’s lifetime average becomes 22,544,378 a year, which is a considerable bump.
For Nintendo, the software average from July, 1983 to December, 2021, after having sold 5 billion, 320.6 million over that time, is 138,499,583 games sold per year.
For PlayStation, the software average from December, 1994 to December, 2021, after having sold 5 billion, 559.4 million over that time = 205,371,259 games sold per year.
This is an interesting stat, but does require some additional analysis. Unlike what we saw above with hardware, Nintendo’s 11 year head start did not make it the winner in the total software sales sold department. Even if you include the total Nintendo software, but begin with the NES in October of 1985 (reducing the time by 2 years and 3 months), the company’s average is 147,116,075 games sold per year, which is still far lower than PlayStation’s. Why is this? One reason could be that more software has existed on PlayStation hardware, in terms of both volume of titles available and actual discs printed. The other reason could be because Sony includes every single digital sale, including titles available also at retail, those that are digital only, and “single dollar” releases. It is likely a combination of both truths, but on the Nintendo side of things, we know that the company does not include “all digital sales”. It would be interesting to see the two companies more accurately stacked up against one another in the software department, but this is as accurate as we can get for now.
Based off the 5,320,600,000 units of software and 815,340,000 units of hardware that have been sold as of December 31st, 2021, 6.5 to 1 is the ratio of software to hardware across Nintendo’s entire history.
Based off the 5,559,400,000 units of software and 571,780,000 units of hardware that have been sold as of December 31st, 2021, 9.72 to 1 is the ratio of software to hardware across PlayStation’s entire history.
Both original articles are available below and like them, this head to head was a lot of fun putting together. Thank you reading along and have a great one!
Source: Nintendo stats
Source: PlayStation stats