Could PS4 be the most successful console of all time? How it stacks up against history

Sony releases some impressive figures on its North American sales of the PlayStation 4 over the weekend. On just the first day of release, 15 November, the company claims it sold over one million units.

That's a staggering number and a record for the industry. Indeed, it broke its own launch day record, set by the PlayStation 2 on its first day of release in Japan. That console sold 980,000 units on its release, and that was in Sony's homeland.

The console will be released in the UK, Europe and many other territories on 29 November and Japan on 22 February 2014. And considering that pre-orders were sold out soon after going live, we can expect some healthy sales figures globally too.

Naturally, the Xbox One will be released in a week's time with an eye on spoiling the party, but for the time being it looks like the PS4 is set to be the bigges-selling games console of all time. That's why we've looked at historical data of all the major home consoles since 1983's Nintendo Entertainment System to see how many they sold globally in comparison to their initial launch sales figures.

We've chosen to list them in a descending order of total global sales, with an explanation of the initial launch results for each.

READ: PS4 vs Xbox One: Battle of the next-gen giants

155 million - Sony PlayStation 2

The PS2 sold 980,000 units in Japan on day one. And while figures for the US or Europe are hard to come by, it is said that sales of the console, games and accessories earned Sony $250 million on the first day of release in America.

102.49 million - Sony PlayStation

It is hard to source the exact launch sales figures of the PS One, originally called just PlayStation. It wasn't an immediate hit, and took time to grow. Originally Sony targeted it as more of an adult/lifestyle machine than people had been used to with previous generations of games consoles.

100.30 million - Nintendo Wii

Nintendo sold 600,000 Wii units in the Americas in the first eight days. Japanese sales are estimated at 370,000 in two days, while 105,000 were reported to have been sold in the UK in its opening weekend.

80 million (so far) - Sony PlayStation 3

Sony recently announced that it had sold 80 million PS3s globally, but on its launch day in Japan - the first country to get the console - it is reported to have sold just 81,639 units. But it's said that 600,000 were sold in Europe in just two days, when it finally made its way to the region. US sales weren't quite so impressive, with stock levels being blamed for a fairly poor 197,000 sold in the first week.

79.4 million (so far) - Xbox 360

As the latest global sales figures were last updated in September, it is likely the Xbox 360 at least matches the overall sum of the PlayStation 3. Microsoft is believed to have sold 326,000 units in the console's first two weeks in North America. Around 300,000 were available for launch in UK and sold out quickly. Only 103,990 units were sold in more than three months in Japan.

READ: Sony PS4 hands-on video review

61.91 million - Nintendo Entertainment System

It is hard to find records of launch sales of the 1983 console NES, but until the Wii it was Nintendo's most successful console by far.

49.10 million - Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo's follow-up to the NES and one of gaming history's most fondly remembered jewels didn't do quite as well as the 8-bit machine that preceded it. But it is said to have sold 300,000 units in just a couple of hours in Japan on launch.

40 million - Sega Mega Drive/Genesis

Originally, the Sega Mega Drive (as called in the UK) or Genesis (the US name) sold only a meagre 400,000 units in a whole year after its Japanese release. It still went on to give the SNES a run for its money.

32.93 million - Nintendo N64

Nintendo N64 sold 300,000 of its 500,000 available consoles during first three says of North American launch.

24 million - Xbox

The original Xbox console sold 1.53 million units in North America in its first three months on sale, and that region saw by far the most amount sold in total: 16 million. The end total of 24 million made Microsoft aware that it could make a real go of it in the home games console market.

21.74 million - Nintendo GameCube

There are no official sales figures for day one, but it is said that 500,000 units were shipped to retailers in Japan for release day. 700,000 were shipped to North America.

14.8 million - Sega Master System

While it dwarfed in comparison to its main rival, the NES, Sega's 8-bit machine did have some impact, especially in the UK and Europe, which accounted for over six million of its overall sales.

10.60 million - Sega Dreamcast

The initial sales performance of the Sega Dreamcast was good. It sold 225,132 units on the first day in the US, rising to 372,000 in four days, and 500,000 in two weeks. It never capitalised on that initial wave of interest though and was out-fought by the first PlayStation.

9.5 million - Sega Saturn

The gap console between the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Dreamcast did well on day one in Japan, selling 170,000 units. However, only a further 80,000 were sold in the following  five months.

3.91 million (so far) - Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo sold over 425,000 Wii U units in the US in its first couple of weeks. It sold 40,000 consoles in its first weekend in the UK. And 600,000 were sold in Japan in the first few weeks of release. But it is languishing behind in the overall chart by some distance. Sony's PS4 sales make up for more than 25 per cent of Nintendo's current global figure in just the one day.

1 million (so far) - Sony PlayStation 4

It's very early days, with the PS4 only being on sale in the US for one weekend, but things are looking good. It already breaks all manner of records. Could it reacthe heights of the PS2? Time will tell, it's certainly started well.

You can catch up with Pocket-lint's in-depth coverage of the PlayStation 4 on our dedicated hub at pocket-lint.com/ps4.



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