The Most Popular Video Game Consoles

The recent remastering of the Super Nintendo SNES and Atari’s first console since 1993 has signaled the resurgence in demand for classic video game consoles. As gaming grows in sophistication, nostalgia for the relatively primitive consoles of the past has become prevalent.

Despite advancements in game and console technology we have seemingly never lost our affinity for the game titles of the past. From Super Mario to Crash Bandicoot, some of the most popular releases in each series date back to the 80s. For example, one of the top 10 rated games from the Star Wars series was made for the original Super Nintendo console.

Even with demand for the classics still present, desire for the next best thing has never faded. Over the last few decades, there have been dozens of new consoles released, but only a few have reached the millions of units sold mark. We analyzed top consoles in their year of introduction to determine how receptive each state was to the console launch.

The Most Popular Video Game Consoles

PlayStation 2 Searches in 2004*


*Although the PS2 was released in 2000, earliest Google Trends data available is 2004

The PlayStation 2 was met with widespread and continued success even after the release of the PlayStation 3, which was comparatively disappointing in adoption. The PlayStation 2 still holds the record for most units sold of any video game console.

PlayStation 3 Searches in 2006

Of the consoles we studied, the next most popular console by number of units sold is the Nintendo Wii. Although still a far cry from PlayStation 2’s over 155 million units, the Wii has sold over 101 million units.

Wii Searches in 2006

Although released a year before the Wii was introduced, the Xbox 360 fell 17 million units shy of beating the Wii in the number of units sold. The Xbox 360 was discontinued in 2016 to make way for the Xbox One.

Xbox 360 Searches in 2005

The Xbox One been another rather disappointing release for Microsoft, as of 2014 the conosle had sold less than 10 million units. Micorsoft has already made plans to revitalize the Xbox One by releasing the Xbox One X in 2017.

As the dynamic landscape of gaming continues to evolve, we can be almost certain the pace of innovation and popularity will transcend the current state of gaming. We are already seeing strides in social gaming, mobile gaming, and virtual reality gaming.

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