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The third generation of video games (1983–1993), also commonly known as the 8-bit era, includes the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom), Sega SG-1000 series (including the Sega Master System) and Atari 7800. The NES/Famicom (released 1983) was the first console with hardware support for multi-color sprites and scrolling tilemap backgrounds, like golden age arcade games.

Hardware sales figures

See also: List of best-selling game consoles

Worldwide

Console Year Worldwide sales Regional sales
Japan Americas Elsewhere
Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom) 1983 61.91 million (2009)[1][2] 19.35 million (2009)[1] 34 million (1996)[1]
USA: 33.29 million (1993)[3]
Other: 710,000
8.56 million (1996)[1]
EU: 7.74 million (1993)[4][5]
South Korea: 360,000 (1993)[6]
Sega SG-1000 series 22.84 million 3.52 million 10 million 7.67 million
Sega Master System (Mark III) 1985 20.84 million (2012) 2.52 million
(1989)[7]
10 million
Brazil: 8 million (2016)[8]
USA: 2 million (1992)[9]
8.32 million
Western Europe: 6.95 million (1993)[10]
South Korea: 720,000 (1993)[6]
Australia: 650,000 (1994)[11]
Sega SG-1000 (Mark II) 1983 2 million (1996)[12] 1 million (1986)[7]
Atari consoles 1.13 million
Atari 7800 1986 1 million (1988)[13]
Atari XEGS 1987 130,000 (1989) USA: 100,000 (1988)[14] France: 30,000 (1989)[3]
Other consoles
Daewoo Zemmix (MSX) 1985 415,000 (1990)[6] South Korea: 415,000 (1990)[6]
Super Cassette Vision 1984 330,000 (1986) 300,000 (1986)[15] France: 30,000 (1986)[3]
Total 85.975 million 23.17 million 44.1 million+ 16.705 million


Home computer Year Worldwide sales Regional sales
Japan Americas Elsewhere
NEC PC-98 1982 18 million (1999) 18 million (1999)[16]
Commodore 64 1982 12.5 million (1993)[17] 100,000 (1983)[18] 2.1 million (1993)[17] 10.3 million (1993)[17]
MSX 1983 9.2 million (2013) 9 million (2013)[19] EU: 200,000 (1985)[20]
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 1982 5 million (2000)[21]
Commodore Amiga 1985 4.85 million (1993)[22] 700,000 (1993)[22] EU: 3.8 million (1993)[22]
Amstrad CPC 1984 2.5 million (1990)[23]
Atari ST 1985 2.1 million (1993)[24] US: 50,000 (1985)[25] UK: 120,000 (1988)[26]
Sega SC-3000 1983 120,000 (1983)[27]
Total 51.76 million 27.1 million 2.85 million 14.42 million+

Asia

In South Korea, the Master System, sold by Samsung,[28] was the market leader, outselling the NES.[6]

Japan

The cumulative (including annual) sales figures for Japan:

Year Sales
Nintendo Famicom series Sega SG-1000 series Epoch SCV
Famicom [29] FDS Modem SG-1000 [29] Mark III Master System
1983 1,000,000[30][31] 210,000[32]
1984 3,940,000
(+2,940,000)[33]
460,000
(+250,000)[32]
300,000
[33][15]
1985 6,600,000[34][35]
(+2,660,000)
(95% market)[36]
720,000
(+260,000)
370,000[37]
1986 10,500,000
(+3,900,000)
2,500,000[38] 1,000,000
(+280,000)
1,000,000[39]
(+630,000)
1987 12,280,000
(+1,780,000)
1,280,000
(+280,000)[29]
800,000[40]
1988 13,870,000
(+1,590,000)
(90% market)[41]
100,000[42] 1,040,000
(+240,000)[29]
1989 15,390,000
(+1,520,000)
150,000[43]
(+50,000)
1,240,000
(+200,000)[29]
1990 16,750,000
(+1,360,000)
2,520,000
1991 17,390,000[3]
(+640,000)
3,520,000
1992 18,130,000
(+790,000)[3]
(40% of Japan homes)[44]
1993 18,600,000[3]
(+470,000)
1994 18,870,000
(+80,000)[45]
1995 18,950,000[45]
(+70,000)
1996 19,020,000
(+60,000)[1]
1997 19,050,000
(+30,000)[1]
1998 19,100,000
(+50,000)[1]
1999 19,150,000
(+50,000)[1]
2000 19,200,000
(+50,000)[1]
2001 19,260,000
(+60,000)[1]
2002 19,320,000
(+60,000)[1]
2003 19,350,000
(+30,000)[1]
4,500,000[46]

Americas

In Brazil, the Master System, sold by Tec Toy, was the market leader, outselling the NES. Tec Toy still sells the Master System in Brazil through to the present day. By 1996, the Master System and Mega Drive sold a combined 2 million units, mostly the Master System.[47] By 2012, Tec Toy sold 5 million Master System consoles in Brazil.[48] By 2016, 8 million Master System consoles were sold in Brazil, indicating at least 4 million sales between 2012 and 2016.[8]

United States

The cumulative (including annual) sales figures for the United States:

Year Sales
Nintendo Entertainment System Sega Master System Atari
7800 XEGS
1985 90,000 (NYC)[49][50]
1986 3,090,000[51]
(+3,000,000)[52][53][35]
(+$310 million)
(73% market)[54]
250,000[55] 100,000[52][56]
1987 6,090,000
(+3,000,000)[57][58]
(+$1 billion)[59][60]
(70% market)[61]
750,000
(+500,000)[3]
(10% market)[62]
100,000[14]
1988 11,100,000
(+5,010,000)[63]
(+$1.7 billion)[59][64]
(75-85% market)[65][66]
1,790,000
(+1,040,000)
(+$299 million)
(13% market)[67][68]
1,000,000[13]
1989 20,300,000
(+9,200,000)[69][70]
(79-90% market)[71][72]
1990 27,500,000
(+7,200,000)[73][74]
(85-90% market)[75][73]
1991 31,900,000[76][3][77]
(+4,400,000)
2,000,000[9]
1992 33,290,000[3]
(+1,390,000)
(33% of US homes)[44]

Western Europe

In 1990, Computer + Video Games reported that the Master System was the biggest-selling console in Europe. However, they noted that the NES was beginning to have a fast-growing user base at the time.[78]

Screen Digest (1995) estimated installed base figures for Western Europe:

Year Sales
Nintendo Entertainment System [79] Sega Master System[79]
1990 655,000+[80] 1,608,000[80]
1991 4,710,000 3,840,000
1992 7,740,000 5,650,000
1993 7,260,000 6,250,000
1993 5,110,000 4,460,000


The regional sales figures for Western Europe:

Nation(s) Sales
NES [79] SMS [79] SCV [3] XEGS [3] MSX Amiga [22] Atari ST
United Kingdom 1,308,000-1,500,000[81][82][83] 1,350,000-1,500,000[84][85] 1,500,000 120,000[26]
France 1,400,000-1,788,000[86][87] 970,000-1,600,000[79] 30,000 30,000 250,000
Germany 1,500,000[88] 540,000-700,000[89] 1,300,000
Italy 500,000 400,000 600,000
Belgium 220,000 600,000 45,000
Netherlands 250,000 200,000
Spain 440,000 550,000 105,000
Others 1,760,000 1,400,000
Platform Total 7,260,000[79][5] 6,950,000[79] 30,000 30,000 200,000[20] 3,800,000 120,000

Australia

In Australia, the most successful console during this generation was the Sega Master System, which outsold the NES as well as home computers.[90] The Master System sold 650,000 units in Australia by 1994.[11]

Software sales figures

System Software sales Attach rate (per console) Source
Nintendo Entertainment System 500,010,000 8.08 [91]
Sega Master System 422,470,000 20.9 [92]
Atari 7800 3,770,000 3.77 [93]
Atari XEGS 827,504 6.37 [93]

References

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  84. UK Installed Bases (EA)
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  87. https://www.mastersystem-france.com/t2217p15-le-resultat-de-la-guerre-presque-20-ans-apres
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  91. https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/finance/hard_soft/
  92. Sega Master System software sales:
    • United States – 2 million hardware units, each bundled with one or more games = More than 2 million software units
    • Western Europe – 6.95 million hardware units, each bundled with one or more games = More than 6.95 million software units
    • Brazil (1989-2016) – 8 million hardware units = More than 411 million software units
      • 1989-2012 – 5 million hardware units, each bundled with 3 or more games = More than 15 million software units
      • 2012-2016 – 3 million hardware units, each bundled with 132 games = 396 million software units
    • Japan – 2.52 million hardware units = At least 2.52 million software units
  93. 93.0 93.1 http://www.atarimuseum.com/whatsnew/2009-MAY-28.html


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