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Nintendo Crosses 700 Million Units of Hardware Sold

Oct 25, 2017
2,094
Sydney
NES was incredibly popular even here in the Middle East, no one of my age didn't try Super Mario Bros or Duck Hunt. imagine that Captain Tsubasa game from Tecmo was actually translated to Arabic. it was very popular.
the thing though... I think the systems were actually clones... not official systems, because most of them had like, 20 or more games downloaded on the device..
That's an excellent point. The Famicom/NES had a much, much bigger impact worldwide than Nintendo's sales show - due to it being the most pirated and clones system of all time by far. Famiclones dominated Asia, South America and Eastern Europe for at least a decade. No way to ever know but I'd be guessing Famiclones sold well over 100 million, they were everywhere.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,094
Sydney
We are getting off track here. My original point was that the NES, only selling 60 million consoles, dominated the industry because the retail market was smaller and back then 50-60 million consoles ruled the world.
I wasn't talking about arcades. I was doing a one-to-one comparison with the retail video game industry.
I did some research and revised the data. Here are the exact figures of the industry:
US Retail video game industry:
1980:
$464 million - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $1.3 billion
1981:
$1-2.5 billion - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $2.53-$6.31 billion
1982:
$3.8 billion - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $9.04 billion
1983
$2 billion - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $4.61 billion
1984:
$800 million - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $1.8 billion
1985:
$100 million - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $213.4 million
1986:
$430 million - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $901 million
1987:
$750 million - Nintendo
$1.1 billion - Total retail excluding arcades and computer software
$62 million - Computer software
Adjusted for inflation: $2.35 billion
1989:
$3.5 billion - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $6.5 billion
1990:
$3.4 billion - Nintendo
$5.1 billion - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $8.96 billion
1991:
$6 billion - Total retail excluding arcades
Adjusted for inflation: $10.11 billion
1992:
$5 billion - Console software excluding arcades and computer software
$342 million - Computer software and other
Adjusted for inflation: $8.7 billion
Compare to today:
US Retail industry:
2017:
$14.32 billion - Total retail excluding PC software and digital indies and mobile
$36 billion - Total retail including PC software and digital indies and mobile and in-game spending
Yes, I understand that the US is larger today than in the 80's and 90's. That helps prove my point. It was SMALLER back then then today by a pretty significant margin (not as significant in the 90's) so the NES being so successful at 50 million means it ruled the market.
Dude, you said it was a TINY FRACTION, not 'somewhat smaller'.

Reality is, the NES dominated America more than anything else since and in absolute terms sold in the ballpark of every leading console since, and in relative to population terms sold more than most of them.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,238
Jordan
That's an excellent point. The Famicom/NES had a much, much bigger impact worldwide than Nintendo's sales show - due to it being the most pirated and clones system of all time by far. Famiclones dominated Asia, South America and Eastern Europe for at least a decade. No way to ever know but I'd be guessing Famiclones sold well over 100 million, they were everywhere.
This is what I always thought, NES and Super Mario Bros were cultural phenomenons everywhere and Nintendo's official numbers don't cover the whole picture with how much Famiclones sold around the world.

same thing happened with Pokemon on GBA, a huge amount of copies were sold here, but they were not authentic.. they were fakes. almost every cartridge sold here was fake at least from a certain point going forward. the popularity of Pokemon was much higher than what official numbers show... you can tell this is the case with the way Pokemon GO exploded everywhere around the world.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,094
Sydney
Yeah, tiny fraction in the 80's, somewhat smaller in the 90's. Let's not get caught up in semantics.
No, you don't get to try and re-frame and claim I'm being the one getting caught up in semantics. The NES' USA sales would be considered very very successful even today. There's no 'relative to the industry' element necessary.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,094
Sydney
N64 was ridiculously popular in North America, even in the US, N64 vs PS1 was more like Genesis vs SNES than the total blowout it was in the rest of the world.
Also final figures often don't tell the 'on the ground' story during the generation proper.

Due to Sony owning the factories and being able to cost cut better than anyone ever before, and using CDs which could be pressed for pennies, Sony got the PSOne down to a really cheap price, and a third of its total after the PS2 was out along with $10-20 budget software. Among the PS1's highest sellers are budget games like Frogger which sold in gas stations for $10, and the ~$20 Platinum/Greatest Hits versions of many many games vastly outsold their original prints. They managed the same trick again with the PS2.

So the while it was more competitive while the generation was running, final fugues look more blown out than that.
 
OP
OP
Phantom Thief
Oct 25, 2017
25,362
Also final figures often don't tell the 'on the ground' story during the generation proper.

Due to Sony owning the factories and being able to cost cut better than anyone ever before, and using CDs which could be pressed for pennies, Sony got the PSOne down to a really cheap price, and a third of its total after the PS2 was out along with $10-20 budget software. Among the PS1's highest sellers are budget games like Frogger which sold in gas stations for $10, and the ~$20 Platinum/Greatest Hits versions of many many games vastly outsold their original prints. They managed the same trick again with the PS2.

So the while it was more competitive while the generation was running, final fugues look more blown out than that.
That too, a significant portion of the PS1's sales came after the PS2 had launched. Now, of course, I don't hold this against Sony, their long term support for their consoles needs to be lauded over all else, but it does mean that, as you said, the full picture of how the marketshare was distributed in the actual generation can often get muddied in retrospective assessments.
PS1 had 53% of the market; N64 had 37%. It wasn't as ridiculously mismatched as it was in the rest of the world, N64 managed to do remarkably well in NA.
 

P-Switch

Alt Account
Member
Jul 15, 2018
966
Nintendo found it's niche and found a way to survive, and be VERY profitable, while fighting two eletronic/tech giants like Microsoft and Sony. And they're relevant. That's huge.

Nintendo might not be the absolute market leader like once was, but it's a very solid, profitable and innovative company.
Like once was when?

How are you defining market leader?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,836
Arizona
This is the figure that has always confuses me the most. Certainly not my favorite system, but it had a solid launch line-up, strong third party support most of its life, and a pretty competitive price-point despite not supporting DVD playback.

...maybe these positives are just a matter of opinion though? I understand the factors surrounding every other decline in console sales on this list, just not the GameCube's
GCN only had “strong” third party support in comparison to the Wii U and late-stage Wii. GCN missed out on several huge hits and a bunch of various other titles. Western support dropped off a cliff from N64, with GTA and most FPS titles skipping the system, and while Japanese support was better, it wasn’t nearly enough of a recovery to compensate and the Japanese audience further contracted. Throw in the lack of multimedia features that made PlayStation a household brand and the Xbox excelled at, no online features in a gen where Battlefront and Halo were making huge waves, and the “kiddie” design and reputation and it’s not particularly shocking.
 
Last edited:
Oct 28, 2017
3,221
This is the figure that has always confuses me the most. Certainly not my favorite system, but it had a solid launch line-up, strong third party support most of its life, and a pretty competitive price-point despite not supporting DVD playback.

...maybe these positives are just a matter of opinion though? I understand the factors surrounding every other decline in console sales on this list, just not the GameCube's
It lacked GTA and of course DVD playback.

So.many people I knew used PS2 as their DVD
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,836
Arizona
That too, a significant portion of the PS1's sales came after the PS2 had launched. Now, of course, I don't hold this against Sony, their long term support for their consoles needs to be lauded over all else, but it does mean that, as you said, the full picture of how the marketshare was distributed in the actual generation can often get muddied in retrospective assessments.
PS1 had 53% of the market; N64 had 37%. It wasn't as ridiculously mismatched as it was in the rest of the world, N64 managed to do remarkably well in NA.
Yeah, the N64 had some really strong western support and a shitton of great multiplayer titles. Some standout technical showpieces that gen too. It was a very NA-oriented machine ultimately. Japanese developer support didn’t so much fall off a cliff as it did strap itself to a bolder rocket-boosted straight to the bottom of a ravine. Losing the favor of Square in particular proved quite bad for them.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,094
Sydney
That too, a significant portion of the PS1's sales came after the PS2 had launched. Now, of course, I don't hold this against Sony, their long term support for their consoles needs to be lauded over all else, but it does mean that, as you said, the full picture of how the marketshare was distributed in the actual generation can often get muddied in retrospective assessments.
PS1 had 53% of the market; N64 had 37%. It wasn't as ridiculously mismatched as it was in the rest of the world, N64 managed to do remarkably well in NA.
Sony's always been in a position to milk products better. As they already had offices in every country in the world from TVs/stereos/music/movies they could easily set up Playstation everywhere quickly and easily. And being a massive electronics company owning the factories for chips AND media allowed them to scale up/down and cost-cut much more efficiently.

PS3 is the first console that couldn't be cost cut as well as the others - and it dropped off very rapidly after a successor was released and got no more big exclusives, even its later big games were essentially made cross-gen like TLOU. Then again it and PSP were also the first time Sony lost so I guess they were on curves somewhat more like losing consoles, which typically peter out more rapidly.
 
OP
OP
Phantom Thief
Oct 25, 2017
25,362
Yeah, the N64 had some really strong western support and a shitton of great multiplayer titles. Some standout technical showpieces that gen too. It was a very NA-oriented machine ultimately. Japanese developer support didn’t so much fall off a cliff as it did strap itself to a bolder rocket-boosted straight to the bottom of a ravine. Losing the favor of Square in particular proved quite bad for them.
Yeah, Square jumping ship over all else precipitated a mass exodus of Japanese third parties from the N64 (sort of like EA and Dreamcast, or EA and Wii U).

Sony's always been in a position to milk products better. As they already had offices in every country in the world from TVs/stereos/music/movies they could easily set up Playstation everywhere quickly and easily. And being a massive electronics company owning the factories for chips AND media allowed them to scale up/down and cost-cut much more efficiently.

PS3 is the first console that couldn't be cost cut as well as the others - and it dropped off very rapidly after a successor was released and got no more big exclusives, even its later big games were essentially made cross-gen like TLOU. Then again it and PSP were also the first time Sony lost so I guess they were on curves somewhat more like losing consoles, which typically peter out more rapidly.
I think a lot also as to do with the PS3 and PSP using exotic proprietary parts that, especially in the case of the former, never quite reached the economies of scale that would have been necessary for miniaturization and cost cutting (also why a true small PS3 Slim never came along, or why PS3 hardware level BC is so difficult even now). In the case of the PSP, the system itself had lost most of its momentum long before its successor strutted on to the scene, not unlike Wii and Wii U.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,032
I'm kinda surprised the cumulative home console number isn't further behind the portables. It's going to be really interesting to watch them the next couple years. The dual home console/portable approach has been their business plan for decades but the 3DS seems to be slowly fading.
 

Nemesis162

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,860
Brazil
N64 was ridiculously popular in North America, even in the US, N64 vs PS1 was more like Genesis vs SNES than the total blowout it was in the rest of the world.
Yeah. 64 problem was in Japan where it bombed and had pretty much a rejection and it also did less in Europe. In other words, the 64 was the Xbox of Nintendo.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,238
Jordan
GCN only had “strong” third party support in comparison to the Wii U and late-stage Wii. GCN missed out on several huge hits and a bunch of various other titles. Western support dropped off a cliff from N64, with GTA and most FPS titles skipping the system, and while Japanese support was better, it wasn’t nearly enough of a recovery to compensate and the Japanese audience further contracted. Throw in the lack of multimedia features that made PlayStation a household brand and the Xbox excelled at, no online features in a gen where Battlefront and Halo were making huge waves, and the “kiddie” design and reputation and it’s not particularly shocking.
Xbox had much better third party support than the GC, and the biggest console multiplayer game in the world at that time (Halo) with the best online connection, and still only sold a little better than the GC.

I genuinely believe the GC deserved better for the games it had.

Pikmin
Luigi's Mansion
Metroid Prime
Super Smash Bros Melee
Super Monkey Ball
Star Wars
Eternal Darkness
Resident Evil

the system really had a fantastic library of games
if only word of mouth was as strong as it is today with social media..

the PS2 crushed the competition that gen and other systems never had a chance. there was unbelievable number of games releasing on that system, it was crazy...
I remember IGN even doing something like... game of the month, due to the huge number of releases..

and the marketing was dishonest for it with a lot of talks about how it is more powerful than a Super Computer
and even crazy things like this:
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/article_29913

an integrated bundle of 12-15 PlayStations could provide enough computer power to control an Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV
and how this or that game use only 70% of the processing power...

hahaha...
haha..
how did i believe that crap at the time... ~___~
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,836
Arizona
Xbox had much better third party support than the GC, and the biggest console multiplayer game in the world at that time (Halo) with the best online connection, and still only sold a little better than the GC.
The Xbox had a whole host of problems itself that led to it being stillborn in Japan and weak in Europe. It still beat the GCN by over 25% in the US, where the Xbox’s strengths (western support, specs, multiplayer - essentially everything the N64 excelled at) were actually most relevant. And that was with a mere 4 years on the market before the 360, and a substantially higher price.
 
Oct 31, 2017
1,792
Sony will probably overtake them. On average, Sony sells 22.12 million units of hardware annually since entering the market, compared to Nintendo’s 20.7 million.
Yep, it’ll only take 100 years if the trend stays the same.

But right now both seem happy with selling 20 million a year.
 
Oct 27, 2017
16,620
man, wiiu was not a good time for nintendo. i'm glad they dropped it and recovered so well.

I still can't believe how close DS was to PS2. Insane.
they stopped production too soon, while ps2 was still being sold in a lot of markets years after ps3 came out. if they continued production if would have passed ps2 for sure.
 
Dec 9, 2017
940
Reading this makes me sad for the GC. I loved the GC to pieces but it was never meant to be for them to survive :’(. Alot of great titles that have never seen the green light in sequels to todays age like Baten Kaitos Origins, Skies of Arcadia, Killer 7, Viewtiful Joe, Eternal Darkness, and a true successor to Super Mario Sunshine.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,950
This is the figure that has always confuses me the most. Certainly not my favorite system, but it had a solid launch line-up, strong third party support most of its life, and a pretty competitive price-point despite not supporting DVD playback.

...maybe these positives are just a matter of opinion though? I understand the factors surrounding every other decline in console sales on this list, just not the GameCube's
I remember when it was 99 dollars, people would leap to pick up any system today at that price and yet it only sold that much
 
Oct 27, 2017
16,620
NES was incredibly popular even here in the Middle East, no one of my age didn't try Super Mario Bros or Duck Hunt. imagine that Captain Tsubasa game from Tecmo was actually translated to Arabic. it was very popular.
the thing though... I think the systems were actually clones... not official systems, because most of them had like, 20 or more games downloaded on the device..
it was really big here in iran too, my memories of it aren't super clear, but we had one (it was called "micro" here) that didn't look like the official NESes i've seen so it must have been a clone. there were shops that sold bootleg cartridges, they were the size of japanese NES cartridges, not US ones. they each had like 10 games in them and were very colorful.
 
Nov 4, 2017
276
Sony is more consistent. Plus, did Sony counted the two portable Playstation or just the home consoles?
im not sure if i agree with that, nintendo has been pretty consistent with their handhelds, the switch included as well. home consoles not so much, sony is the complete opposite though with their home consoles being steady and the handhelds..well no
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,745
UK
Nintendo should re-launch a few million DS systems packed with a "best of" of first party titles just to sell another few million and take the PS2s crown
 
Jun 10, 2018
1,275
Imagine seeing these sales totals, seeing how grossly more consistent Nintendo's handhelds have performed vs. their home consoles, knowing the Switch functions as a bog standard handheld out-of-the-box, and still believe it's their handheld business that they killed off going the hybrid route.

Hopefully one day people will put their home console-centric biases aside and realize Nintendo's handheld business is alive and well with the Switch.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,275
  • NES — 61.91
  • SNES — 49.10
  • N64 — 32.93
  • GameCube — 21.74
  • Wii — 101.63
  • Wii U — 13.56
  • Switch — 19.67
Interesting that the Xbox 360 beat all but one of those.

I guess it show Nintendo has not had the best luck with home consoles though.
It's more than Xbox 360 was a very successful console (though the entity of the success vary depending on the market) in a age when console gaming reached an apex.
For instance Xbox 360 is among the 5 top selling console of all time in USA:

1) DS
2) PS2
3) XB360
4) Wii
5) GBA

NES was an all-conquering console in Japan and US but in a time when console gaming was much smaller than today (couldn't be otherwise).