4. Game Boy Advance (81.51 Million Units Sold)
- Originally released in Japan on March 21, 2001.
- Later released in North America on June 11, 2001.
- A pretty major competitor at the time was the WanderSwan (#8 on this list), but the Game Boy Advance (GBA) was just too good!
- Unlike Game Boys before it, the GBA was designed in a “landscape” style. This is of course until the GBA SP. Excellent installment.
- Another installment came shortly afterwards,dubbed the Game Boy Micro. This sent the form factor back to a “landscape” style.
Whatever hand-held console you remember playing or are currently playing, the Game Boy Advance SP stands out above all others for a lot of people I’m sure. This is one I still pull out from time to time.
3. PlayStation Portable (82.00 Million Units Sold)
- Originally released in Japan on December 12, 2004.
- Later released in North America on March 24, 2005.
- At launch, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) became the most powerful portable system.
- The PSP was the first real major competition for the Nintendo line.
- The original model was replaced by one that was slimmer with a few design changes, which was then followed by a few more models.
The PSP was and still is a fairly powerful machine backed by the awesome powers of Sony. Little known fact, in 2005 they admitted to hiring graffiti artists to spray paint advertisements for the PSP in seven major U.S. cities including New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
2. Game Boy/Game Boy Color (118.69 Million Units Sold)
- Originally released in Japan on April 21, 1989.
- Later released in North America July 31, 1989.
- This 8-bit hand-held system was actually Nintendo’s second hand-held system, following the Game and Watch series introduced in 1980.
- This was the console that started the revolution that is Pokemon. Along with many other major titles, generations past and present love this title and we have this system to thank for it. Sure, without the Game Boy Pokemon and many great titles may still have existed through a different means, but they didn’t have to, thanks to this.
Unsure as to why the Game Boy and Game Boy Color may be lumped together as one? Their combined total sales is what landed them at this spot on the list. Here’s the facts! The Game Boy Color was originally released in Japan on October 28, 1998 and later in North America on November 18, 1998. While mostly retaining the same hardware as the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Color’s primary competitors were the much more advanced Neo Geo Pocket and the WonderSwan, though the Game Boy Color outsold these by a wide margin.
1. Nintendo DS (154.02 Million Units Sold)
- Originally released in North America on November 21, 2004.
- Later released in Japan on December 2, 2004.
- Unlike most, if not all consoles, the DS was originally released in North America.
- It’s a 32-bit dual screen hand-held console that came after the Game Boy advance.
- DS is said to stand for “Developers System” or “Dual Screen.”
Fun fact about our number 1 hand-held console, more Nintendo DS units have been sold than iPhones and Game Boys!