Console gaming has been the home to many classics, exclusive, and masterpieces of our generation. From the Uncharted series to the Forza series, and with the new console releases, such as the Xbox X, and Playstation 5 being leaked, and announced, there is no doubt that many gamers; whether mobile or PC, have been looking to purchase a console to hone their gaming skills, and to expand their game library with console exclusives. Even retro consoles such as the Playstation 2, or the Nintendo Wii, as well as handhelds such as the Game Boy Advance, are enticing due to their nostalgia as well as their extensive game library. So, if you’re selecting your console of choice, based on how much games the console has, and how much exclusives the console has, we’ve got it all covered here, in this article!
Disclaimer: The numbers, consoles, and rankings shown in this article were verified by me as of 30/4/20 to be accurate, however, the information may fluctuate; therefore, I’ve ensured to include links to the game lists, where you can rectify the precise game counts, and numbers, if needed.
List Of Which Console/Handheld Has The Most Games (Summary)
Why Having A Good Variety Of Games Is Vital
There is a multitude of benefits that comes with having a good assortment of games that is playable on your console. First off, there are the game categories, such as action games, RPGs, strategy games, as well as my personal favorite, simulation games, and many more! With so many categories to fulfill, having a good variety of games allows you to explore all of them, and find which categories you enjoy, and which you dislike.
Having a large library of games also allows you to explore different game studios. From the indie titles to triple-A games that never fail to amaze the consumers, having more variety equates to more options and avenues to explore.
Lastly, obtaining a console with a good mixture of different games ensures you’ll also have something to play that is related to your interest, instead of being limited by what the majority of the public wants.
Besides just having a good variety of games, console manufacturers also need to ensure they have games of quality. Instead of just publishing the next FIFA or the next Madden NFL, gamers are looking for something that defies their expectation. Take Red Dead Redemption 2 as an example, it is among the favorite of many, because it is game about quality over quantity, just like all of Rockstar’s games, such as the prized Grand Theft Auto series, and the treasured Bully game series, that has yet to see a sequel announcement. Therefore, console manufacturers need to lock in a good mixture, giving consumers the best of both worlds for both qualities, and quantity. Hence, we shouldn’t only look at quantity, but also the quality of games that are being pushed out.
Console manufacturers also look forward to having more exclusives to persuade consumers to join their platform, which is essentially games that can only be found on their platforms, which entices consumers to purchase their consoles to play that specific game, as well as many other outstanding titles that the console has to offer.
What Is Backwards Compatibility?
A typical term you’ll hear thrown around when talking about the most amount of games on a console, is backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility essentially refers to being able to play games that were made for an older system. For instance, if the Xbox One had backwards compatibility, it will be able to play Xbox 360 games, which adds on a bigger library to the Xbox One.
The main reason why users prefer consoles with backwards compatibility is because they allow the consumer to just purchase one console. Having all your games playable on one console is not only a cost-effective method of playing those games, but it also makes it easier to haul them around, on trips, and car rides.
Console With The Most Games
1. Playstation 2 – 4489 Games
With 4489 total games, the Playstation 2 has long been a staple in the gaming industry. From being the world’s best-selling console to being a console that doubles as a DVD player. The Playstation 2 remains as a console that many gamers look forward to obtaining and having a blast with.
2. Playstation 4 – 2565 Games
The Playstation 4 is widely known for its DualShock 4 controller, and its endless game options. With exclusives and a plethora of game categories to choose from, there’s essentially a game on the PS4 for everyone.
3. Xbox One – 2460 Games
The total number of games for the Xbox One currently accumulates to 2459. The Xbox One is best known for its powerful components, multimedia features, and wide game selection.
Console With Most Games According To Backwards Compatibility
1. Playstation 3 – 9759 Games
All PS3s can play most of the 3067 PS One Games, but only certain PS3 Systems can play the 4489 disc-based PS2 Games. If you would like to check if the console you’re looking to purchase or own, have backwards compatibility with disc-based PS2 games, the official Sony article is here. To put it simply, only the launch 20GB, 60GB, and 80GB PS3 models with 4 USB ports have limited backwards compatibility with disc-based PS2 games.
|Total Game Count
|PS One & Playstation 2
|PS One – 3067 Games
Playstation 2 – Most Disc-Based Games Out Of The Total 4489 PS2 Games
PS3 Games – 2203 Games (Source: Disc & Download-Only)
Total Games: About 9759 Games
If you’re looking to purchase a PS3 for the backwards compatibility functions, I recommend the 20GB or 60Gb launch models since they utilize physical PS2 hardware, furthermore, if you have an 80GB launch model and update it, you won’t be able to play PS2 games, as Sony has patched it for the 80Gb launch model. Moreover, the 80GB launch model also utilizes emulation to emulate the PS2 systems, which equates to less playable games on your PS3. If your PS3 console isn’t supported, you could still play some PS2 games, as Sony has been adding “PS2 Classics” to the PSN store, which are playable on all PS3 systems.
Keep in mind that all PS3s can play most PS One games and that alone, allows for an extension to an already huge library. These PS3s that are equipped with backwards compatibility are about double the price of a typical PlayStation 3 when bought used, therefore, I recommend just purchasing a PS2, if you’re looking to play Playstation 2 games.
2. Xbox One – 3076 Games
The Xbox One backwards compatibility supports some Xbox 360 & Original Xbox games, and is relatively limited. It only has support for the 576 games, out of the 2085 games for the Xbox 360, and has 40 games available, out of the 1000 games released for the Original Xbox. Keep in mind that the Xbox One library itself already is a moderately large one, with great exclusives to play to your heart’s content.
|Total Game Count
|Xbox 360 & Xbox One
|Xbox 360 – 576 Games
Original Xbox – 40 Games
Xbox One – 2460 Games
3. Wii U – 2315 Games
All Wii U consoles can play Wii Games by inserting the needed disk. The support is also for Wii accessories, that can be used on the Wii U. For the official guide on how to play Wii games on Wii U, check out the Nintendo Official Guide here. Gamers used to be able to play Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, and many other classic Nintendo console games through the Wii Virtual Console, however, the Wii Virtual Console has unfortunately been shutted down on January 30, 2019. Nevertheless, Wii U users do have a vast library both from the Wii & Wii U to take advantage of.
Unfortunately, only these 3 consoles have backwards compatibility, with the exception of handhelds (which we’ll look into later), and a few other retro consoles that aren’t played today, as verified by this Wikipedia article.
Not many console manufacturers are looking forward to enabling backwards compatibility; even if there were, typically, only a few “selected” games would be enabled to have that function, which isn’t a lot for most consoles, such as the Xbox One. Thankfully, the Playstation 3, and Wii U have decent backwards compatibility for users to utilize; allowing them to only purchase one console.
Handheld With The Most Games
1. Nintendo Switch – 2340 Games
The Nintendo Switch has a total of 2340 games, making it the highest game count when it comes to handhelds. The Nintendo Switch is the perfect mix for both home-usage and portability.
2. Playstation Vita – 1525 Games
Over the years, the Playstation Vita’s game count has reached 1525, the full list can be found here. The Playstation Vita is known for its diversified game library that has games for everyone, from indies to triple-As!
3. Game Boy Advance/Game Boy Advance SP – 1504 Games
The Game Boy Advance games/Game Boy Advance SP currently stands tall at a total of 1504 games. The handheld is perfect for playing retro/classic games on the go. Furthermore, its small-sized form factor, alongside its lightweight design makes it easy to transport and can be easily recharged through batteries, instead of having to charge it.
|Game Boy Advance/Game Boy Advance SP
Handheld With Most Games According To Backwards Compatibility
1. Nintendo DS /Nintendo DS Lite – 3473 Games
The Nintendo DS already has a massive library itself, with 1969 total games. It can also play all 1504 game boy advanced games, which adds up to be a total of 3473 games that are playable on the handheld. This is for the Nintendo DS, and Nintendo DS Lite, as stated in this official Nintendo article, but NOT for the Nintendo DSi. The cartridges for DS games are inserted on top, while the cartridges for the Game Boy Advance games go below.
|Total Game Count
|Game Boy Advance Games
|Game Boy Advance – 1504 Games
Nintendo DS – 1969 Games
Total: 3473 Games
2. Game Boy Advance/Game Boy Advance SP – 3220 Games
Both these systems can play the same games, which are the 1504 Game Boy Advance games, 1056 original Game Boy Games, as well as the 660 Game Boy Color Games, which adds up to a staggering 3220 games, which is an astronomically large library; bigger than the majority of home consoles, and considering that its a portable handheld, it is certainly the best in its field.
|Total Game Count
|Game Boy Advance/Game Boy Advance SP
|Game Boy Advance Games &
Original Game Boy Games &
Game Boy Color Games
|Game Boy Advance – 1504 games
Original Game Boy – 1056 Games
Game Boy Color – 660 Games
Total Games: 3220 Games
3. Nintendo 2DS/3DS – 3303 Games
The Nintendo 2DS is capable of playing the majority of the 1969 Nintendo DS games, and the 1334 3DS Games in 2 dimensions, as well as some of the 364 DSi games & apps that were initially on the DSi Shop, which has since been closed. Currently, only some DSi games & apps can be purchased through the Nintendo eShop. Excluding DSi games, the total tallies up to be 3302 total games that are playable on both the 2DS and 3DS. The 3DS can play the same amount of games; it can play most Nintendo DS games, some DSI games, and all 3DS games in 3 dimensions. Just to make it clear, both the 2DS and 3DS can play 3DS games, just that in a 2DS, you won’t be able to get the 3 dimensions.
|Total Game Count
|Nintendo DS Games &
3DS Games &
Some DSi Games & Apps
|Nintendo DS – 1969 Games
3DS – 1334 Games
DSi Games – 364 (Only A Select Few Is Playable By Purchasing Through The eShop)
Total – 3303 Games (Excluding DSi Games)
Modern Consoles/Handheld With The Most Games
As for some of us that aren’t a fan of the Playstation 2, or the Original Xbox, due to their outdated graphics, and retro look, despite their huge libraries, we’ve got you covered with the full list of the modern consoles, ranked according to their game count!
1. Playstation 4 – 2565 Games
The total game list tallies to be 2565 currently, 229 of which are exclusives. The Playstation 4 is a favorite among gamers, due to its massive library that has games for days, as well as its record-breaking exclusives from God Of War, to Spider-Man on the PS4, the sheer count of premium exclusives on this consoles is something that attracts many consumers, even after years of their releases.
2. Xbox One – 2460 Games
Currently, there are 2459 Xbox One games. Out of those, 98 are exclusives. Some of the more prominent exclusives the Xbox One has to offer are Halo 5, Sea of Thieves, Forza Motorsport 7, and a plethora more for you to check out. The Xbox One is known for its enhanced features for streaming media. The Xbox One even goes as far as allowing users to play DVDs through the console itself, and has just about every popular streaming services out there, such as Netflix, Spotify Music, HBO Now, and many more!
3. Nintendo Switch – 2340 Games
The total game count for the Nintendo Switch comes out to be 2340, the majority of which can be found on other Nintendo consoles. There are exactly 57 Nintendo Switch-Only Games. The Nintendo Switch is both a handheld, as well as a console, allowing its users, to switch through both, using a dock, and its widely-known Joy-Cons. Or if you’re just someone looking for a portable option, you could save yourself about $100, purchasing the Nintendo Switch Lite.
Best Game Console/Handheld To Buy (In terms of highest game count)
Hands down the best console (for the highest game count) to buy would be the PS3, that is, if you manage to get your hands on one that has backwards compatibility, as the total library for that would roughly be about 9759 total games. The PS3 is great for retro games, but still holds up to modern graphics, and in its 9000+ library, there are phenomenal games for just about any category. For retro games on the go, the Game Boy Advance SP would be great due to its extensive, 3000+ games library as well as its backlit screen, vibrant colors, and small form factor.
If you’re in love with modern-day graphics, and look forward to multiplayer games on platforms where the majority of players play on, look no further. As my personal favorite, and as proven by many, the PS4’s library isn’t just great, but it also equips users with a plethora of renowned exclusives: from Spiderman on the PS4, to Days Gone, there’s no doubt that you’ll receive a unique experience. Besides its library, the PS4 also allows users to purchase a PSVR headset separately to further immerse themselves.
The Future Of Mega Game Libraries
Current consoles and handhelds are averaging at about 1500-2000 games, which although is a decline from previous years, it’s great to see manufacturers pushing for quality over quantity. Such as the diversified categories, bigger focus on including both indie games and new triple-A titles, and producing more exclusives.
I deeply hope that this article has made it a tad bit easier to select your console of choice, and I’ll try to update it as much as possible, with accurate numbers, and new consoles that have released.