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Forums - Sales Discussion - Gameboy total LT Sales Breakdown + chart comparison for japan

This is the breakdown of the sales by year of the Gameboy officially from Nintendo.

The explanation behind the difference of the numbers you see for every console and for the Gameboy (adding up to 120.4M) and the numbers from their website (adding up to 118.69M) is the following:

There are two types of accounting when it comes to historical recording of their sales: consolidated, and non-consolidated. Non-consolidated sales recording refers to the recording of shipments from Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s domestic inventory in Kyoto, Japan to the inventories of their wholly-owned subsidiaries around the world. These subsidiaries have inventories of Nintendo hardware and software. Normally, Nintendo's subsidiaries inform the corporate office about expected retailer hardware demand, and Nintendo quickly provides them with the inventory to complete a sales transaction. However, until the Nintendo console is shipped to the retailer, Nintendo cannot register it as a "consolidated unit sale." Until then, Nintendo records it as a non-consolidated unit sale. The non-consolidated sales recording method was preferred initially because outside of Japan, NCL could instantly and precisely measure the exact amount of inventory leaving NCL's factories and allocated for sale across the world. Once the subsidiaries had full control over the product, it took a longer period of time for Nintendo Co., Ltd. to receive an exact amount of sales. Nintendo now receives real-time shipment information direct to their corporate offices, so non-consolidated, while still tracked and relevant, isn't as preferred. If you go on Nintendo's website, you can see that Nintendo only provides us with a historical database of consolidated unit sales. However, if you look closely, you can see that Nintendo doesn't disclose Consolidated unit sales prior to 1998. This sales history mixes two sets of data: non-consolidated from 1982 through 2000, and consolidated from 2001 through 2013. They won't disclose old consolidated data, presumably due to reliability issues.

So for the Gameboy we have worldwide numbers:

FY89 - 3.93M
FY90 - 8.06M
FY91 - 10.67M
FY92 - 7.80M
FY93 - 7.47M
FY94 - 5.58M
FY95 - 4.16M
FY96 - 7.09M
FY97 - 11.02M
FY98 - 13.55M
FY99 - 17.24M
FY00 - 18.86M
FY01 - 4.69M
FY02 - 280k

With these numbers we get to 120.4M LT Sales, however to get to the 118.69M number from the consolidated numbers we have to remove a total of 1.71M for the years before march 2000, so 1.71 divided by 11 years gives us that we have to remove around ~155.45k from every year (although I removed 150 or 160/170k somewhere where needed to be able to give rounded numbers by dozens), so here are the final as close as possible numbers for the Gameboy by year (totalling up to 118.69M):

FY89 - 3.80M
FY90 - 7.90M
FY91 - 10.50M
FY92 - 7.66M
FY93 - 7.30M
FY94 - 5.40M
FY95 - 4.10M
FY96 - 6.90M
FY97 - 10.80M
FY98 - 13.40M
FY99 - 17.10M
FY00 - 18.86M
FY01 - 4.69M
FY02 - 280k

A graph for it would look like this:

And here is a graph of Switch vs Gameboy vs NDS vs N3DS in JAPAN (by march 2022 for the Switch):

Last edited by yo33331 - on 18 August 2022

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This is the data a neogaf user tabulated right? Nice to see it in graph form anyway.

I also have this bookmarked if you want to do anything with it: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_ktRB2qmldCTsto2HFhGCK9V9W6D07RfaWlnfGYypCk/edit#gid=0
Someone recorded the quarterly shipments of everything including breakdown by SKU (there are 3 sheets, one each for handheld, console & a graph), unfortunately whoever made it stopped updating in 2016, and I think Nintendo only recorded every 6 months before 2003, but makes it easier than trawling through Nintendo's old IR reports.



I often return to that post as I always forget to save it. Really goes to show how popular the gameboy got thanks to Pokemon and the GB color



badskywalker said:

I often return to that post as I always forget to save it. Really goes to show how popular the gameboy got thanks to Pokemon and the GB color

I forget sometimes how much Pokemon blew up from pretty day one. Pokemon alone is pretty guaranteed to sell 10+ million consoles for whatever platform the main entries are on.  



VGChartz Sales Analyst and Writer - William D'Angelo - I stream on Twitch and have my own YouTubeFollow me on Twitter @TrunksWD.

Writer of the Sales Comparison | Weekly Hardware Breakdown Top 10 | Weekly Sales Analysis | Marketshare Features, as well as daily news on the Video Game Industry.

Nice thread OP

N64 did well in USA (SNES level) but flopped abroad

GC in the other hand flopped everywhere

GBA could have reached 100 million and it was a smash out-of-the-gate, but DS quickly replaced it. Only 3 years in the market before DS release is quite shocking. Still insane it moved freaking 80 million copies with such a short life span


Game Boy sales run was really one of a kind, its sales peak came when it was already 10 years in the market, mind-blowing



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IcaroRibeiro said:

Nice thread OP

N64 did well in USA (SNES level) but flopped abroad

GC in the other hand flopped everywhere

GBA could have reached 100 million and it was a smash out-of-the-gate, but DS quickly replaced it. Only 3 years in the market before DS release is quite shocking. Still insane it moved freaking 80 million copies with such a short life span


Game Boy sales run was really one of a kind, its sales peak came when it was already 10 years in the market, mind-blowing

GameCube didn't do too bad in the US. Relatively speaking compared to other places. GameCube had more competition than the N64 did. N64 really only had to compete with the PS1, while GameCube had PS2 and Xbox. 

As far as GBA. I agree. It could have sold way more if Nintendo didn't replace it so fast. 



VGChartz Sales Analyst and Writer - William D'Angelo - I stream on Twitch and have my own YouTubeFollow me on Twitter @TrunksWD.

Writer of the Sales Comparison | Weekly Hardware Breakdown Top 10 | Weekly Sales Analysis | Marketshare Features, as well as daily news on the Video Game Industry.

trunkswd said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

Nice thread OP

N64 did well in USA (SNES level) but flopped abroad

GC in the other hand flopped everywhere

GBA could have reached 100 million and it was a smash out-of-the-gate, but DS quickly replaced it. Only 3 years in the market before DS release is quite shocking. Still insane it moved freaking 80 million copies with such a short life span


Game Boy sales run was really one of a kind, its sales peak came when it was already 10 years in the market, mind-blowing

GameCube didn't do too bad in the US. Relatively speaking compared to other places. GameCube had more competition than the N64 did. N64 really only had to compete with the PS1, while GameCube had PS2 and Xbox. 

As far as GBA. I agree. It could have sold way more if Nintendo didn't replace it so fast. 

The USA is safe haven of Nintendo. Neither Japan have this performance. Gamecube, with macroeconomics trends in mind, was a worst-selling than Wiiu. Wiiu has the worst scenario. Gamecube problems were more internal than external, just imagine a Gamecube in bad economic trends, yesh! 



The sales curve of the Game Boy is insane.



Very very interesting numbers. Thank you very much!
The NES Numbers in Japan are somewhat "strange" to be honest^^



DaAndy said:

Very very interesting numbers. Thank you very much!
The NES Numbers in Japan are somewhat "strange" to be honest^^

If you mean the long life, I suspect Nintendo may have just kept shipping them to sell off extra stock, it took 9 years to ship only 480k.