10 Handheld Console Sales Statistics to Know in 2023

Let's understand trends around handheld console sales! 🕵️‍♂️


This industry brought a lot of innovation and changes in the gaming world. Several generations of gamers grew up and enjoyed different yet fundamentally the same experiences. With this in mind, one must wonder about sales handheld console statistics showcasing the most successful models and companies.

Sales Handheld Console Statistics to Blow Your Mind

Here are some remarkable numbers to know:

  • Nintendo DS is the best-selling handheld console, with 154 million sold units.
  • Nintendo produced 5 out of 7 best-selling handheld consoles.
  • The best-selling handheld console of 2022 is Nintendo Switch.
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch was sold in 55.46 million copies.
  • Tetris is the best-selling (handheld console) game ever, with 520 million copies.
  • Nintendo has been part of the console war since the 1980s.

The best-selling handheld consoles and their market share

Nintendo is the company dominating the handheld console industry, so let’s see the numbers that brought it to this position.

1. Nintendo DS is the best-selling handheld console (154 million units) 🏆

Source: statista.com

Nintendo DS created the most significant impact on the handheld gaming industry. This console was dominantly purchased in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Nintendo DS purchases by country/continent:

LocationSold units (in million)
North America57.92
Rest of world11.28

After a massive success and high standards set by Game Boy, the Nintendo DS had a big challenge, however, the numbers show that this dual-screen handheld console was ready for it!

The best-selling game for Nintendo DS was New Super Mario Bros., with over 30 million copies sold. Later on, we will explore the ‘Mario phenomenon’ more deeply, but for now, let’s focus on Nintendo.

2. Nintendo made 5 out of the top 7 best-selling handheld consoles ⭐

Source: statista.com

As we already hinted, Nintendo knows its way into the handheld console industry. The path from the early console industry to modern AAA gaming was intimidating, but somehow, they pulled it through. One proof of this is that 5 out of 7 best-selling handheld consoles are Nintendo.

Below is the chart of the top seven best-selling handheld consoles ever:

The only true competitor in this century is Sony, with handheld PlayStation consoles. It’s important to note that the PSP and PS Vita combined didn’t make as many sales as the Nintendo Switch.

3. 3 out of 5 best-selling consoles are handheld 🔝

Source: ign.com

Handheld gaming has its ups and downs, bringing the sales in both directions. However, after looking at the list of the five best-selling consoles, it’s clear that they always took a considerable share of the market.

1️⃣ PlayStation 2 (October 2000)
2️⃣ Nintendo DS
(November 2004)
3️⃣ Nintendo Switch
(March 2017)
Game Boy & Game Boy Color (April 1989 & October 1998)
PlayStation 4 (November 2013)

💡 Roughly 59% of accumulative 678 million sales are handheld consoles! (Accumulative for top five best-selling consoles.)

With this in mind, if you wondered is the Switch the most sold console, the answer is no, and most likely, it will never be. With Nintendo DS and PS2 leading by around 30 million units sold and a new Nintendo handheld console around the corner, the chances are that this version of Nintendo Switch won’t progress more on the list.

Nintendo made an excellent “switch”!

The switch we are referring to is, of course, Nintendo Switch. Although it won’t reach the top of the best-selling console list, here is what this console managed to bring to Nintendo.

4. The best-selling handheld console of 2022 is Nintendo Switch (18 million units) 🔥

Source: statista.com

Finally, we reached the point to talk about the latest handheld console from Nintendo! In March 2017, a handheld console that changed it all was launched. Five years later, Nintendo Switch still holds the #1 position on the list of best-selling handheld consoles for the year.

However, recent changes in the market and the introduction to new generations of handheld gaming might stop Switch from growing.

5. Nintendo Switch sales decreased 50% since 2021 📉

Source: statista.com

Although the most popular in 2022, the sales are rapidly decreasing. From the peak of 29 million sales in fiscal 2021 to the forecasted 15 million sales in fiscal 2024, Nintendo Switch is losing popularity.

A similar anomaly happened to other Nintendo consoles, like Nintendo 64 in the 90s and Wii in the early 2010s. What happened up until now is that after each decline in sales, Nintendo is ready to roll out a new (handheld) console. 

The chart below shows Nintendo Switch sales over fiscal years:

💡 Since the company had more success with handheld consoles, many gamers expect a Nintendo Switch 2 release in 2024. Although not officially announced, rumors and leaks suggest that it will happen in late 2024, around the supposed release of PS5 Pro.

6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most popular Nintendo Switch game (55.46 million) 👨‍🦰

Source: nintendo.co.jp

A common anomaly in the handheld console industry is seeing games produced by the same company blooming.

However, when we speak about any Mario game, it is clear that the sales report doesn’t correspond only with the marketing technique but also that it is one of the most iconic games of all time.

Here is the list of the top ten best-selling Nintendo Switch games:

Game titleCopies sold
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe55.46 million
Animal Crossing: New Horizons42.79 million
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate31.77 million
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild30.65 million
Super Mario Odyssey26.44 million
Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield25.92 million
Pokémon Scarlet / Pokémon Violet22.66 million
Super Mario Party19.39 million
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom18.51 million
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe16.17 million

👨‍🦰 5 out of 10 games listed feature Super Mario!

Similarly to Mario Kart 8, another Nintendo-produced game ranked high on the list. You guessed it, we are talking about The Legend of Zelda. Since the game’s first version on NES and N64, the play won the hearts of gamers.

7. 447 Nintendo Switch games were released between March 2022 and March 2023 📈


Although sales are dropping, the number of new releases of Nintendo Switch is constantly growing. Nintendo reveals the numbers for the fiscal year in March of the following year, so it’s still unknown how many new titles are released and planned for 2023. 

Here is the chart showing how many Nintendo Switch games (US market) were released for the past five fiscal years:

Handheld game sales, inflation & console wars create impact

In this section, we will reveal the best-selling games (for handheld consoles), look back at the prices of the most popular consoles, and list the epic battle Nintendo and other companies have been leading for the past five decades.

8. Tetris is the best-selling handheld console game ever! (520 million copies) 🧱

Source: tetris.com

The best-selling video game ever is made for handheld gaming. Before thinking about GTA V, Minecraft, and other titles that come to your mind, take a moment to understand that Tetris was sold in 520 million copies! (The number is across all platforms since the game was released in 1984.)

Together with the two above-mentioned titles, it’s the only game sold in more than 100 million copies.

We are witnessing the constant evolution of games and how gamers experience them. A lot has changed since the early days of 2D gaming. Another factor to consider is variety. Back in 1984, not many games were available on the shelf, so it made a clear path for Tetris to become what it is today.

9. If Game Boy was released in 2023, adjusted for inflation, it would cost $220.79 🏷️

Source: Handheld console companies’ data

Different generations of consoles come with different price tags. Here is how the best-selling handheld consoles compare by their initial price tag. We also included inflation-adjusted prices:

Handheld consoleRelease priceRelease yearPrice in 2023
Nintendo DS$149.992004$241.63
Nintendo Switch$299.992017$372.40
Game Boy$89.951989$220.79
Game Boy Advance$99.992001$171.83
Nintendo 3DS$249.992011$338.17
PS Vita$249.992011$338.17

We used the Inflation Calculator by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to calculate the inflation-adjusted prices. Some consoles from the list are still sold, and the price doesn’t correspond to the inflation-adjusted price.

Here, we notice how the price tag, adjusted for inflation or not, doesn’t always correspond to the placement on the best-selling handheld console list. Game Boy & Game Boy Advanced have the lowest price on the list but take mid-positions regarding the number of sales.

Another noticeable factor is the increasing price tag of handheld consoles over the years. However, it again doesn’t correspond with the placement on the list, proving that the gaming quality and the console’s desirability aren’t defined solely by the price tag.

10. Nintendo participated in 5 out of 6 console wars ⚔

Source: g2a.com

Console war is a common term describing rivalry between console manufacturers. Usually, as time passes, new competitors emerge, and old ones slowly fade away. However, this wasn’t the case with Nintendo, which stayed concurrent on the market for over three decades!

Here is the list of all console wars and the companies that participated in them, fighting to have the best-selling consoles ever:

Competing companiesPeriod
Atari vs. Intellivision 1970s – 1980s
Nintendo vs. Sega1980s – 1990s
Sony vs. Nintendo1990s – 2000s
Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Nintendo2000s – 2010s
Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Nintendo2010s – 2020s
Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Nintendo2020s – Present

Just behind Nintendo is Sony, a company successfully fighting for market share since the 90s. In this century, one of the biggest tech companies, Microsoft, joined with the Xbox.

(Bonus) The new generation of handheld consoles is here! 🎮

Rog Ally, Steam Deck, and other handheld PC consoles are gaining popularity. They are far from the numbers we presented, yet their popularity is growing

Increasing demand for handheld PC consoles pushed new players into the market, like GPD and Ayaneo. However, brand awareness plays a huge role. Even though Steam is well-known in the industry, some still express skepticism about Valves’ ability to produce a good quality handheld console.

Others are oriented toward new categories of handheld consoles, like Sony Project Q, which comes with a 1080p 60FPS display connectable to PS5. Again, skepticism is rather visible…


Hopefully, you learned something new regarding sales handheld console statistics. Nintendo dominates this part of the console industry and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. With its signature on 5 out of 7 best-selling handheld consoles, this Japanese company will continue developing in this direction.

Although the Switch sales have dropped by 50% since 2021, plenty of games are produced for it. Only in fiscal 2023, 447 titles were released for this console! The rapid growth of PC handheld consoles is introducing a new era of console gaming.

💬 What do you think the future of the handheld console industry brings?

Frequently Asked Questions:

What handheld console has the most sales?
Nintendo DS has the most sales (154 million units).

Which console sold the most 2023?
Nintendo Switch sold the most in 20223 (18 million units).

How many copies has the Switch sold?
Nintendo Switch has sold more than 126 million units since its release.

Will the Switch outsell the PS2?
No, Switch won’t outsell PS2 if it is to be judged based on the 50% decrease in sales since 2021.

What is the number 1 best-selling Switch game?
The best-selling Switch game is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

What is the best handheld game console in the world?
The best handheld game console in the world is Nintendo Switch if you want an authentic experience. However, check out Rog Ally and Steam Deck if you want to play PC games on the go.


  1. Handheld Bestsellers – statista.com
  2. Best-Selling Video Game Consoles – ign.com
  3. Is Nintendo Approaching the End of the Switch Cycle? – statista.com 
  4. Top Selling Title Sales Units – nintendo.co.jp
  5. Dedicated Video Game Sales Units – nintendo.co.jp
  6. About Us – tetris.com
  7. Console Wars Throughout History – g2a.com
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