In 1977, the rise of the Atari 2600 sparked a war that rages on across the United States today. In a single uninterrupted battle for supremacy of the living room, the console wars have given gamers such legendary installments as the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation 2 and such cautionary tales as the Nokia N-Gage and the Ouya.
Today we bring you an in-depth look at the present state of the ongoing campaign. Thanks to a study conducted by Spades Challenge, we now have in-depth internet search data to show which consoles are most popular in the US today, broken down state-by-state. So let's take a look.
The State of Play
Though there are dozens of excellent home video game consoles to consider historically, what we are looking at today are the most prominent parties of the present eighth and ninth console generations.
When it comes to current popularity and player base, it should come as no surprise that we are mainly discussing the latest machines from the three juggernauts who have ruled the home console market for over 20 years: Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
Sony PlayStation 5
The first four PlayStation consoles rank as the 6th, 1st, 8th, and 4th best-selling consoles of all time. The PlayStation 5, though still climbing to the high-water mark of its predecessors in terms of sales, is currently the most dominant console in the US, holding the lead for search popularity in 21 states.
The consistent difficulty of buying a PS5 is a testament to its popularity. Even now, nearly two years after the console's launch, any given PS5 owner is likely to have war stories of the lengths to which they went to acquire theirs.
Microsoft Xbox Series X
Sony's primary rival of the last four console generations, Microsoft, takes a narrow second place in the current quest for console popularity. Its latest console, the Xbox Series X, leads searches in 19 states.
Although Microsoft has long been a dominant presence in PC gaming, its console brand is the youngest of the three currently vying for the market. It first entered the scene with the original Xbox in 2001.
Xbox machines consistently trail their peer consoles in overall sales numbers but not in loyal popularity. To wit, the series has held many consistent fans across the generations. PC gamers also appreciate the synergy between Xbox consoles and Windows gaming, such as compatible peripheral hardware and the Xbox Game Pass.
While Sony and Microsoft compete in an ever-escalating arms race for the best hardware performance, stunning visuals, and exclusive big-ticket franchises, Nintendo carves its path.
For the last four console generations and arguably longer, it has prioritized experimental gameplay interfaces, accessibility to players of all ages and skill levels, and titles featuring its large stable of fan-favorite characters and worlds.
This creative approach to the problem has often paid off for Nintendo in a big way. Half of the top 20 best-selling consoles of all time carry the Nintendo brand. Its latest system is the Nintendo Switch, currently the third-most-popular console in the US, earning #1 in 10 states.
The oldest of the current top-three systems, the Switch has outsold each of its two primary competitors by a rate of more than five to one.
What Is the Most Popular Game Console in Every State?
With our three leading competitors in mind, let's look at which one is the most popular in each US state according to Spades Challenge's data.
- Alabama – PlayStation 5
- Alaska – Xbox Series X
- Arizona – PlayStation 5
- Arkansas – Xbox Series X
- California – PlayStation 5
- Colorado – Nintendo Switch
- Connecticut – PlayStation 5
- Delaware – PlayStation 5
- Florida – PlayStation 5
- Georgia – PlayStation 5
- Hawaii – Nintendo Switch
- Idaho – Xbox Series X
- Illinois – PlayStation 5
- Indiana – Xbox Series X
- Iowa – Xbox Series X
- Kansas – Xbox Series X
- Kentucky – Xbox Series X
- Louisiana – PlayStation 5
- Maine – Nintendo Switch
- Maryland – PlayStation 5
- Massachusetts – PlayStation 5
- Michigan – Nintendo Switch
- Minnesota – Nintendo Switch
- Mississippi – PlayStation 5
- Missouri – Xbox Series X
- Montana – Xbox Series X
- Nebraska – Xbox Series X
- Nevada – PlayStation 5
- New Hampshire – Xbox Series X
- New Jersey – PlayStation 5
- New Mexico – Xbox Series X
- New York – PlayStation 5
- North Carolina – PlayStation 5
- North Dakota – Xbox Series X
- Ohio – Xbox Series X
- Oklahoma – Xbox Series X
- Oregon – Nintendo Switch
- Pennsylvania – PlayStation 5
- Rhode Island – PlayStation 5
- South Carolina – PlayStation 5
- South Dakota – Xbox Series X
- Tennessee – Xbox Series X
- Texas – PlayStation 5
- Utah – Nintendo Switch
- Vermont – Nintendo Switch
- Virginia -PlayStation 5
- Washington – Nintendo Switch
- West Virginia – Xbox Series X
- Wisconsin – Nintendo Switch
- Wyoming – Xbox Series X
The War for the Living Room Continues
As it has been since 2001, the US console market remains highly competitive between the same three prominent players. Gamers today have the luxury of choosing between PlayStation's consistently best-selling machines, Xbox's love of the hardcore gamer, and Nintendo's creative and inclusive approach.
Any state in the US can show you its current leader, but there is none where the fight is over. Each of these three companies continues to innovate and keep showing up. We may yet see an overall winner of the console wars one day, but if the current lay of the land is any indication, that day won't be anytime soon.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.
Sam is the founder of the personal finance and self-improvement blog Smarter and Harder. His mission is to start exciting new conversations that empower people to improve their work, lives, and money, and hopefully have a fantastic time doing it. In all things, he strives to lead with positivity, understanding, and more than a bit of enthusiasm.