The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time

The majority of gaming consoles have taken the big dirt nap and only see the light of day at pawn shops and e-bay. Here's our list of top console failures.

Be it a lack of games, poor strategy, or inadequate marketing, a majority of video game consoles are commercial failures. Here are the 10 worst selling consoles of all time in terms of high-profile systems that stood a viable chance. Other lesser-known consoles are sure to have sold worse, but the below represent the notable platforms that never met expectations.

See also: The 10 Worst-Selling Handhelds of All Time


10. Dreamcast

Released in the fall of 1998 in Japan and a year later in the US, the Dreamcast was Sega's fifth and final video game system. The much beloved console launched years ahead of the competition but ultimately struggled to shed the negative reputation it had gained during the Saturn, Sega 32X, and Sega CD days. As a result, casual gamers and jaded third-party developers doubted Sega's ability to deliver. Despite a much celebrated game library, the Dreamcast only sold 10.6 million units during its short, three-year lifespan.

Key games: Soul Calibur, Seaman, Crazy Taxi



9. TurboGrafx-16

The TurboGrafx-16 was released in 1989 in North America and was largely considered a success in Japan. But the console never caught on in the US for two reasons: 1) Nintendo's anti-competitive (now illegal) practices prevented Japanese developers from making games for both the TG16 and NES; and 2) poor localization. NEC successfully promoted the system in Japan using advertising in big cities only. When a similar strategy was implemented in the much larger and more diverse North America, a lack of public awareness resulted in smaller communities leaving NEC unable to compete. By 1991, the TurboGrafx-16 was all but dead and would go on to sell a total of 10 million units worldwide with only 2.5 million sold in the States.

Key games: Bonk's Adventure, Splatterhouse



8. Saturn

The Sega Saturn was released in the US several months before the PlayStation in 1995, but like the Dreamcast that would later follow, it failed to last more than 3 years on the market. The console's high $399 price put the sting on gamer wallets, and a complex multi-processor hardware architecture hindered game development leaving Saturn with relatively few good games. As a result, the more technogically forgiving PlayStation enjoyed a high influx of games to become the clear best-selling system of that generation. The "stillborn" Saturn would sell only 9.5 million units worldwide.

Key games: NIGHTS, Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA



7. Sega CD

Compact Disc was all the rage in the early 90s when Sega released their first Genesis add-on that played 16-bit full-motion video games. The problem was threefold: the device was expensive at $299, it arrived late in the 16-bit life cycle, and it didn't do much (if anything) to enhance the gameplay experience. Granted, the attachment delivered the greatest Sonic game of all time (Sonic CD), but everything else under whelmed and the system sold only 6 million units in its short-lived life. Worse still, Sega CD marked the first of several Sega systems that saw very poor support; something that devalued the once-popular Sega brand in the eyes of consumers, and something that would ultimately lead to the company's demise as a hardware maker.

Key games: Sonic CD, Night Trap, Earthworm Jim



6. 3DO

The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer was the first legitimate 32-bit console to hit retail. Engineered by EA founder Trip Hawkins, the system was released in September 1993 by Panasonic. Despite its highly promoted launch, unprecedented power, and attractive development terms, the machine flopped because 3DO was unable to convince consumers to pay an exorbitant $700 price tag (and you thought the PS3 was expensive!). Interestingly enough, the 3DO was one of the first machines to be marketed as a "high-end audio-visual system" in addition to being a game console. Add that to the over-saturated console market of the mid-90s, and the EA-backed system would sell little more than 2 million units (note: the Wikipedia entry claims 6 million, a figure we couldn't verify).

Key games: Road Rash, The Horde



The list continues!

Comments [13]

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ninsego

The writer clearly hasn't actually played a Virtual Boy or he would know there are several great games for the system. Mario Clash and Wario Land are fantastic games, not just compared to other games on Virtual Boy, but rated against all games. Virtual Pinball, Teleroboxer and Nester's Funky Bowling are good too. In fact, while the Virtual Boy has a very small library, very few of its games are actually bad. Nobody who rags on the Virtual Boy's library has actually played the system.

Also, Sonic CD is NOT the best Sonic game. That's just what people who made the mistake of buying a Sega CD told themselves so they'd sleep better.

Mequa

You forgot these two consoles (based on Amiga hardware), which died due to poor marketing.
The Commodore CDTV, a similar kind of concept to the CD-i, apparently did even worse than the Pippin.
The Amiga CD32, marketed as a Sega CD-beater, was the next biggest flop right next to the Pippin and CDTV.

Commodore CDTV: Sold 30,000 units
Commodore Amiga CD32: Sold 100,000 units.

Guru_Larry

What about the Amstrad GX4000? Only 24,000 ever sold.

THAT Should have been number one. >.>

Loghorn

Just go to Wikipedia & look up Neo-Geo, & go under history (sorry about that).

Loghorn

26C, the reason why Neo-Geo wasn't up there was because it was a syndicated gaming system. Most gamers weren't able to afford it, so the console was only accessible to a niche market.

See here (under the History section):

NO LINKS FOR YOU(console)

eday_2010

So how did this go from an article on the10 worst-selling consoles to a ps3 vs 360 argument? Get over yourselves, you idiots, and stay on topic.

donfacetony

and I'm not sure but I don't think you can watch youtube or momomesh free movies on the 360, you can on PS3

donfacetony

I loved my dreamcast still have one, I still play it actually, I love Skies of Arcadia, great game, very addictive. Armada and Shenmue were great games too. I have a PS3 love it, play it all the time, never got into X-Box just seems inferior to me. But I have noticed a lot of my friends and from reading shyt like this that X-Box sells more and has a very loyal fanbase. I can only come up with better marketing, all of my friends that tell me the x-box is better never even really played ps3 so they don't really know just shyt they have heard or read. From what I have seen with the playstation network is the ps3 is way better and has better graphics, but the x-box seems more fluid and their list of games on x-box live is better. ps3 has the playstation network for free which is crazy nice but you can play contra on x-box, and the points system on x-box is better. They both excell at different things but I'm glad I bought the ps3 for myself, I hated the first x-box and I have way too many ps2 and ps1 games to switch over. I can still play them with my ps3 and I gave my ps2 to my baby's momma. And I really have this strong curious desire to try the Apple console, don't know why.

bipolarradio

Xbox 360 breakdowns are a little inconvenient (I'm on my 3rd, 1st broke, 2nd was stolen) but that doesn't compare to the PS1 debacle, or does no one here remember that? I was a manager at Software Etc in Las Vegas (now GameStop) and we had more PS1's returned than anything else. Remember Sony recommending that you not play for more than 40mins at a time? (great idea for future MMO players) Or the suggestion to turn them upside down? Or the arrogant statement that Sony "realises there is a problem with overheating, and has a fix, but will sell the remaining 2.4 million defective units before shipping the corrected hardware." Guys, hate Microsoft all you want, but Sony raped us all much worse and got away with it. Other than better games, better On-Line, better saturation & selection, and lower price, you could always support the 360 because it's made in America and it would be a great way to tell Miyamoto and all those Japanese developers that if it wasn't for N. America they wouldn't have shit.

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