Console Tier List: All Game Consoles Ranked

Video Game consoles have always been the easiest way to play video games. There is a much better medium called the PC to play your favorite games but looking at the current market scenario, gaming consoles are the best bang for your buck. Our Console Tier List will help you choose the best video gaming console for your needs.

The Consoles ranked in the tier list are a result of our own experiences, perception, and thought process. We have done our best to be as unbiased and informative as much as possible but still, it doesn’t mean we will align with everybody’s opinion. Thus the tier list is open for suggestions but not unjust criticism. 

We have ranked consoles in tiers based upon their sales, impact on video gaming, the hardware at the time in comparison to the competition, and their overall strategy. This is why some of the consoles are a part of higher tiers while others are in lower or unfavorable tiers based on the factors we listed.

Besides this, our piece also consists of five bonus console tier lists. The first three bonus introductory tier lists are based on the current video gaming giants, then we have ranked the best modern gaming consoles and finally the best gaming consoles of all time.

S-Tier Consoles

Best consoles of all time
S Tier

The S Tier consists of the best consoles of all time that are highly regarded by critics, gamers, and the mass media. They have shattered sales records and are still being sold in the third-party market at a good rate. You can keep these consoles as an item to sell at a profit. They are at the top position on the best console tier list.

The consoles like the Atari 2600, the Playstation, and the original Xbox are all pioneers in their own right in this tier. For example, we have included the original Xbox over the 360 in this list based on this factor. Yes, the 360 brought loads of changes to the gaming world but the original Xbox introduced the gaming world on a larger scale through its good marketing strategy to the world of online gaming on a gaming console, and on top of that unlike the 360 the reported technical flaws were not widespread.

ConsoleReleased (USA)Manufacturer Units Sold (Millions)
PS22000Sony155
Playstation 42013Sony106
Nintendo Wii2006Nintendo102
PlayStation1994Sony102
NES1983Nintendo61.91
SNES1991Nintendo49.1
Sega Genesis1988Sega31
Atari 26001977Atari, Inc30
Nintendo 641996Nintendo30
Xbox 2001Microsoft24
GameCube2001Nintendo21.75
Sega Master System1985Sega12.5
Sega Saturn1994Sega9.26
Intellivision1979Mattel3
3DO1993Panasonic, Sanyo, Goldstar2
Colecovision1982Coleco2
SNK Neo-Geo1990SNK 1.18

A-Tier Consoles

Console Tier List
A Tier

The A Tier of our console tier list consists of video gaming consoles that were very good but fell short of the S Tier. By no means, they were useless or have no value in the market today and they are legendary in their own right. They just lack a few sales, and a little good marketing or initial blunders that deprives them of the S Tier. They are at the second position on the best console tier list.

The prime examples that one would want to ideally have on the S Tier are the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Both are amazing consoles in their own right and had some of the best gaming titles to date. But they had some underlying issues that a gamer can not ignore. First of all the manufacturing fault of the Xbox 360 was known as the dreaded Red Ring of Death while the PS3 had a very expensive price tag on launch.

ConsoleRelease (USA)ManufacturerUnits Sold (Millions)
Nintendo Switch2017Nintendo103.54
PS32006Sony87.4
Xbox 3602005Microsoft84
Dream Cast2001Sega9.13

B-Tier Consoles

B Tier Consoles
B Tier

These consoles are average and they hold up well. You can play them and get good use out of them or you can just skip them altogether. But investing in them is not that bad of an idea as they do have a bunch of good and bad titles and it is easy to point out the good ones and have tons of fun with them.

ConsoleRelease (USA)ManufacturerUnits Sold (Millions)
Atari 52001984Atari1
Atari 78001986AtariLess than a million
Magnavox Odyssey1972Sander AssociatesLess than a million
Vectrex1982Smith EngineeringLess than a million
Atari Jaguar1993IBMLess than a million
PS52020Sony10
Xbox Series X/S2020Microsoft8

C-Tier Consoles

Console Tier List
C Tier

The consoles in the C tier of our console tier list are below average. They did not sell well but are on the C Tier because they did something creative but weren’t able to innovate. They do deserve acknowledgment for this.

ConsoleRelease (USA)ManufacturerUnits Sold (Millions)
Atari Lynx1989Atari3
Bally Astrocade1983AstrovisionLess than a million
Coleco Vision1982Coleco2
Intellivision1984Mattel3
SG-10001983Sega1.5

D-Tier Consoles

Worst consoles of all time
D Tier

The consoles in this tier are the lowest-ranked and there are plenty of reasons for it. First of all the main reasons were the health hazard they posed, the terrible specs for the time and the dreadful marketing campaigns. These all add up with secondary reasons like a bad collection of games and not understanding the demand of the customers well.

An example would be the virtual boy. We would have included it in the C Tier because of the creativity it had but it lacked innovation. We can ignore the part of innovation but the serious health threat it posed couldn’t be forgiven. Nintendo had a blunder with this one and had to incur a big loss. Thus consoles like the Virtual Boy are part of the worst tier of our console tier list.

ConsoleRelease (USA)ManufacturerUnits Sold (Millions)
N-Gage2003Nokia3
CD-i1990Phillips/SonyLess than a million
Pippin1996AppleLess than a million
Mega Drive 32x1994SegaLess than a million
Gizmondo2005Tiger TelematicsLess than a million
Virtual Boy1995NintendoLess than a million

Nintendo Console Tier List

Nintendo is one of the biggest companies in the history of video gaming. They defined, refined, and reintroduced the console gaming that we know. Before it was called home gaming but over the years it has been called console gaming. The prime of Nintendo started with the NES

With the most iconic characters amongst the video gaming companies, they have an edge. These characters are loved across generations. For example, Mario can be recognized by you, your younger siblings, your dad, and even your grandparents. That is how iconic these characters like Mario are. Pikachu, Donkey Kong, and Link are a few that come into my mind.

Nintendo has a very good strategy like the neutral countries during a worldwide conflict. They let Sony and Microsoft do the aggressive marketing while they sit silent and let their loyal fanbase know that a console or a game has been released and then they grab their market share.

Here are all the consoles Nintendo ranked for you in tiers.

S-Tier Nintendo Consoles

These are the most iconic consoles from Nintendo in our opinion. The defined the console and has played a big role in why and where Nintendo stands today as a company.

SNES/NES

These include the ones like SNES and NES that gave a new definition to video gaming and cemented the efforts of the likes of ATARI by truly bringing video gaming from arcades to the homes.

DS and Gameboy

Then there are the likes of DS and Gameboy which are perhaps the two most iconic handheld video gaming consoles and were sold in millions around the globe till this day people are buying it in the second-hand market. 

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 in our opinion is one underrated console in current gamers and this has not been given the plaudits it deserves it was a truly unique system with some unforgettable games. Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 6, Super Smash Bros, and Pokemon Stadium, are some games that you just can’t miss.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
SNES49.1
NES61.91
DS154.02
Gameboy118.68
Nintendo 6432.93

A-Tier Nintendo Consoles

The A Tier of our Nintendo Console Tier List consists of consoles that are very good and certainly, you can’t skip them because of these reasons. They have little flaws here and there but are not worthy of being on the flawless S Tier.

Switch

The first console on our list is the switch. With the rate it is selling, we might have considered it for the first spot but we do have some problems with it. Which are the newer versions of Switch and they didn’t improve the performance of it unlike the new versions of the competition, for example, the Xbox One X was a massive improvement on the basic Xbox One. It is one of the major reasons for it is in the A Tier and also the game library can be improved massively.

Gamecube

The GameCube was a console that had a lot of promise but was not exactly crushed by the competition between Sony and Xbox but it fared really well. There is this misconception that it didn’t do well but it did fairly well. The only reason it is on this tier is that it lacked third-party support unlike the Playstation and Xbox and it still haunts Nintendo to this day.

Wii

Nintendo Wii had amazing sales, it was one of the most iconic and hot selling items at its time but till this day I find it a little overrated and many people can question my choice but I always found that the gyroscopes used were very bad and the strap with the controllers made playing games a very hard task. The game library is awesome on this one though and you will not get bored if you can somehow with third-party support improve the comfortability of the controllers.

3DS

The 3DS was a very good console and on the software side, it was way ahead of its time. But the sudden boom in the smartphone market caused a lot of damage. The boom happened to divert the attention of people from a handheld console with a touch screen to mobile gaming that was freely available or at a minimal cost on the Playstore or the Appstore. Above that, it was not able to distinguish itself and had strong identity issues but despite that, it had a very strong gaming library, and thus it had to be part of our A-Tier.

Gameboy

On the other hand, the Gameboy Color and the Gameboy advanced were great consoles and till this day people are crazy for them. The Gameboy Advance was the last Gameboy, after this the Gameboy Micro came but we categorized them together as it was not a major launch and is more of a collectible item.

The OG Gameboy Advance was a good console but they improved it finally with the SP version that came too late and by that time the PSP had spoilt the gamers. This is the only reason it is on the A Tier while the Gameboy Color had a very poor exclusive library and it was infuriating at that time.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
Switch103.54
GameCube21.75
Wii102
3DS75.94
GBA81.51
GBA Color118.69

You might be interested: Risk of Rain 2 Tier List

B-Tier Nintendo Consoles

The Weakest Tier of our Nintendo Console Tier List has two consoles and both were a commercial disaster for Nintendo. The reason the B Tier is the worst tier of Nintendo Console is that it is a very big company and it has let down fans very few times.

Wii U

The Wii U per se was not that bad a console but the strategy of Nintendo let it down. First of all, they waited for more than a year to drop any major titles, that were worth paying for a new console. This makes us question their release date and my conclusion is that they prematurely released the console on the other hand the arrival of the iPad and the touch screen handheld devices also dented Wii U’s sale.

Like the 3Ds Nintendo failed to differentiate itself from the mobile phones and tablets and it resulted in its demise. Plus its name really confused people. The other thing that made me put it on the worst tier was that Nintendo lost interest in the console and made no efforts to revive it like the PS3 which was revived by Sony after a subpar launch according to Playstation’s standards.

Virtual Boy

Virtual Boy as a concept was way ahead of its time but the implementation was not right. It is considered the worst failure of Nintendo in its grand history. Gunpei Yokoi was the developer of the console and he is referred to as the father of all handheld video gaming consoles him going wrong was seriously a big dent in his illustrious career. Gunpei thought of giving this as his last gift to Nintendo before leaving Nintendo, but his last gift turned out to be disastrous for the company. 

Yokoi believed that the video gaming industry would become a cash grab instead of being innovative and that was the reason he wanted to leave Nintendo. The design that Yokoi had come up with was much better than the one he was forced to put into use by the company heads and he hated it.

The executives at Nintendo didn’t listen to Yokoi and it was completely different from his vision of a handheld 3D console and the final product was rushed and a complete mess due to the obsession of Nintendo to compete with Sony’s Playstation and Saturn of Sega on their release date. Upon release, it was a complete mess and no one wanted to buy a console that gave them headaches and was half-baked. Gunpei did get some applause later on by developing the Game Boy color for Nintendo and then parting ways.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
Wii U13.56
Virtual BoyLess than 1 Million 

Xbox Console Tier List 

I feel Xbox has always been a company with an identity crisis and hasn’t cemented itself like Sony’s Playstation or Nintendo. But over the years with the right management decisions and the bad launch of the Xbox One they have bounced back and they are trying to make a brand image for themselves that is distinct and ends the identity crisis once and for all. We will begin our Xbox Console Tier List with the S Tier.

S-Tier Xbox Consoles

These consoles shaped Xbox’s history and for us, they were fair to the gamers and they deserve to be on the S Tier. On our main tier list, the Xbox Series X/S were on a lower-tier but over here they are on the S Tier as the context is different. 

Xbox Series X/S

First, let’s talk about the Xbox Series X/S. These two consoles have proved that Microsoft finally wants to improve its image. In the last generation after the bad launch event of Xbox One, Microsoft was losing its grip and was portrayed as a money-grabbing company not made for gamers. But with the release of the Xbox Series S for budget gamers and udner$300 you can play games at 1440p they truly showed to the world that they are ready to be more gamer-friendly.

Then the Xbox Series X, which is a great console and way more powerful than the PS5 in some major aspects but the biggest thing that sets it apart and has given Xbox a new life is the game pass. They started to develop it back during the time of the Xbox One but they truly implemented it here. It is the best way to play games at a very cheap rate and unlike Sony, it has a massive library of games ranging from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360 and it is worth every penny.

Xbox

I would have put the original Xbox on the S Tier just because of its dashboard alone, just kidding! This console was the start of all this. From the Rock popping up, in the launch ceremony to so many other surprises. It was a powerful machine and would have blown PS2 out of the water if only it had the third-party support that the Playstation had. The data was stored in blocks on the console and it was an awesome concept. The memory didn’t seem to run out very easily and to this day it can be used as a great emulation machine because of its insane memory.

It looked like a successor of the Dreamcast in a way and it kept Sega alive. With many exclusive games being released for it. The fake perception of it being a Halo Machine hurts me to this date and it deserves a lot of recognition as it was a console beyond that. If only they had more JRPG games, then this console would have been just perfect. Games at 480p with widescreen support, what else did you need at that time? And how can I forget online gaming? The Xbox Live was way ahead of its time when Sony and Nintendo didn’t even forecast the importance of online gaming. 

A console that is often overlooked, with an x86 system, DirectX support, and an Nvidia GPU, Oh dear OG Xbox, you could have been much more (add a sad smiley).

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
Xbox Series X12 (combined X and S)
Xbox Series S12 (combined X and S)
Xbox24

A-Tier Xbox Consoles

The A Tier of the Xbox Console Tier List includes only one console, and that is the Xbox 360. This console is the darling of many gamers and it might offend many to see it in this tier but there are good reasons for it. Let’s discuss them.

Xbox 360

The console was released in 2005 and became the talk of the town instantly. With the HDMI and the new super DVD concept, it was loved by the masses until we saw the manufacturing faults in the consoles. It was a major blow for Microsoft and the fanbase. For a majority of its life cycle was plagued with issues until the last version the Slim and the e-slim versions were released. Microsoft compensated many of the customers but there were many who were left angry and they switched loyalties despite this it was a grand console and gave Xbox a new lifeline in the war against Sony and at one point were ahead of them till SOny took much-needed measures.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
Xbox 36085.8

B-Tier Xbox Consoles

The B Tier includes one console and it is perhaps the worse console of Microsoft’s history in regards to the gap it increased between Sony and Microsoft in the gaming industry as well as the dent in the image of Xbox it had. Let’s talk about it.

Xbox One

When you are trying to be way ahead of the time you are more often than not bound to fail. Maybe the vision that Microsoft had with the Xbox One might not have been particularly bad in today’s era but at the time it was the equivalent of suicide. The launch event of Xbox One is probably one of the biggest disasters in the history of video gaming and on that very day, the console war of the last generation was lost. Then Xbox tried the improved version of the Xbox with the Xbox One X and how it was a great update it undid all the things wrong with the Xbox One, but the damage was done. Regardless I think this console could have been much more than what Microsoft did with it and it could have been given a new life way earlier than it was given. 

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
Xbox One50.55

PlayStation Console Tier List

The undisputed king of video game consoles is the Playstation and all of us perhaps have owned one at some point in life. With the majestic exclusives, the mascots, and the aura associated with these consoles from Sony, it is part of our childhood and it shaped our adulthood as well. This is the PlayStation Console Tier list where we rank the best Playstation Consoles for you.

S-Tier PlayStation Consoles

The S Tier includes one console, the one which shattered all records and is the benchmark for all consoles to this date. The Playstation 2, was a craze and if you didn’t own one then you were missing out. Let’s know why.

PlayStation 2

There must be genuine reasons for this to be considered the greatest console of all time by people and it is backed by its numbers, it is the most selling console of all time. More than a billion copies of games were sold on this console and the library of games is unmatched no console to this date has matched that gigantic library of games. You can still pick up a PS2 and I bet you that you will never get bored of the collection of games you can have. Sadly unlike the newer Playstations, this is just a dream with the limited amount of games available on them.

Backward compatibility with the Playstation One, check. The DVD player which as a standalone player was more expensive than the introductory price of the PlayStation 2 being included in the console was something that was very crazy and it was a nop brainer to pick the Playstation 2. The exclusive deal with Rockstar for GTA and how its boom helped PS2 reach the levels it did and paved way for other exclusive titles like the God of War which was a technological marvel. The PlayStation 2 is so unique and great that you can perhaps write books on it and it won’t be enough to define its greatness.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
PlayStation 2157.68

A-Tier PlayStation Consoles

The A Tier includes two consoles that hold a special place in the heart of video gamers. They are very good in their own right and some might argue they deserved a place in the highest tier but I had a different opinion and it was that no matter what both do, they just couldn’t reach the heights of the Playstation 2. Yes one started it all and the other gave Sony a lead they can never forget but it is still a tad below the Playstation 2.

PlayStation 

The PlayStation 1 like the PS2 changed the entire landscape of video gaming. PS2 introduced the DVD Rom while the Playstation 1 introduced the CD Rom and suddenly games could be much more. Now we take even the GB for granted at that time an increase in MBs meant a lot and it boosted games to a level that was not seen before and the era of polygons reaching the sheer brilliance of realism was on its way.

The PlayStation had an insane library of its own. With the horror games like Silent Hill, Resident Evil 1, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3, and games like Crash Bandicoot which saw 3 releases on the console and was one of the major mascots of Sony. The famous mascot is now in the hands of Microsoft but the little Bandicoot helped Sony a lot. Then comes Spyro, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Final Fantasy VII, and so many others. 

The Playstation was better and cheaper than Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64, with the launch titles that were something never seen before and the way it smashed the cartridges and enhanced the audio and visual experience of gamers, making it a special console that remains in the hearts of video gamers till this date and Sony has not forgotten it, which is evident by the release of a mock PlayStation One Console.

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 was the highest-selling videogame console of the last generation and the 4th highest console on the list of highest-selling video gaming consoles. It cashed on the success of the PS3 at its end of the cycle, with great exclusives and being more gamers friendly.  The Playstation cashed in on that and they made a console whose games were exclusive to it and were released years after the release date on the PC to milk them more.

When everyone was speculating it was the end of story-based linear games, SOny proved them wrong and created a console that was bought primarily for the video games that were story-based and were exclusive to PlayStation only. This showed to the world that Sony was ready to not forget its roots and they proved many wrongs. The PlayStation 4 had a cheaper price than the Xbox One had a terrible E3 which we talked about earlier and they made a console that not only killed Microsoft on the release date, it paved way for the early success of the PlayStation 5 despite the Xbox with the Xbox Series X/S being more gamers friendly than the PlayStation 5.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
PlayStation 4116.9
PlayStation 1102.49

B-Tier PlayStation Consoles

This was a tough one, we have two consoles on this tier list of our Playstation Tier List. The first one is the PlayStation 5 which is fair enough, the sample size is less to derive a meaningful conclusion with respect to the Playstation 5 but the Playstation 3 had made me indifferent for a long period of time and after thoughtful consideration, I included it on the B Tier. The B Tier doesn’t mean bad in this case and it can be placed in the upper tiers because it was a very tough decision on my part.

PlayStation 3

First of all, we all know now why the Playstation 3 was one of the best and most loved consoles of all time and thus I will come straight to the point of why it is placed low on our modern console tier list and the major reasons are big. First is the security breach that was associated with the PlayStation 3, for over 2 years the PSN was constantly having issues and it was down for 1.5 months due to a hacking scare. Imagine losing your personal data? Very scary, I picked an Xbox 360 at that time over the PlayStation 3 because of this reason.

The online services were free and many gamers saw it as a welcoming sign but I preferred the Xbox Gold over it any day, as they took the online services they provided seriously and the online games were not ruined by spammers for you, unlike the PlayStation. The controller was terrible, poor, and very tiring. It was not ergonomic and I would prefer the Dual Shock 2 over it.

There were other reasons, no party chat while playing a game, a terrible banning service which resulted in my legit account being banned forever, and the large update up to 1 GB at that time was very tiring when the internet services were not as developed as it is now. All of this contributed to it being on the last tier of our Playstation Console Tier List.

PlayStation 5

The Playstation 5 is a promising console, that is yet to be unleashed. The only true current-gen that we have seen so far is the Horizon Forbidden west and the PlayStation is slowly doing tweaks to reach a good level. There are games expected to be released for it and it has sold well despite this and the global shortage due to the disruption in the supply chain due to COVID 19. This is a console that we can’t really rate so far thus placing it on this tier is a safe bet.

ConsoleUnits Sold (Millions)
PlayStation 387.41
PlayStation 517.3

Our Console Tier List Criteria

We have taken many factors into play before coming up with the tier list. The historical figures, the creativity and innovation, the number of consoles sold, and above all the quality of video games released on the consoles before ranking them. The important factor that stands out as gamers for us was to check if a company was sincere to the gamers or not.

It is a very important factor for most gamers, as many gamers have an emotional attachment to the video gaming companies and their exploitation is not welcomed. We have applied the same criteria on all modern console tier lists above and the old consoles tier list and came up with the best information for you guys.

Why Trust Us?

The Console Tier List at Exputer is fully researched and input was taken from veteran gamers, collectors, hardcore gamers, fanboys, and also casual gamers. Then we came up with this tier list. Our team has been playing consoles since they found out what video gaming is and we had many people who were familiar with and had first-hand experience with the majority of the consoles on the tier list.

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Muhammad Sanan Khan


With half a decade in Video Game Journalism and an everlasting bond with all things related to video games, Sanan Khan can't even stop himself from blabbering about video games in his sleep. He is also the Founder of TopTierList.