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CES: NES Install Base Over 4 Million; $750 Million In Sales In 1987

At this year’s Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show (CES), Nintendo dominated the floor with its gigantic booth. Perhaps its massive presence is relative to its position in the video game and toy industries. That’s because Nintendo’s NES has once again topped the sales charts. 1987 is the best year on record for video games in over four years, and that’s largely due to the Japanese giant. It has single-handedly revitalized the video game market and now looks to reap the rewards.

Not only was the NES and its software the best selling toy of the year by volume, but it also brought in more money than any other toy during the year. This was helped in part by strong software sales of games like The Legend of Zelda (over 1 million sold in just six months) and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!



The entire video game industry brought in $1.1 billion during 1987 and Nintendo accounted for about 70% of that, or roughly about $750 million in sales. Indeed, the NES sold exceptionally well during the holiday gift giving season. From September 1987 through December 1987 Nintendo sold over 2 million consoles, pushing its install base up to 4.1 million systems! That’s a lot of new gaming consoles in homes across the country, which should translate into even bigger software sales this year.

Suffice to say that the naysayers can finally eat crow: video games are back from the dead. Although Nintendo is the market leader, other companies are seeing an influx of sales thanks to the video game boom. Sega has its line of Sega Master System, which is now being distributed by Tonka for better visibility at retailers across the nation. Familiar arcade hits like Out Run and Afterburner promise to excite players on that platform. Then there’s Atari, who is still selling its 2600 after all these years, making up roughly 10% of the sale volume last year. No matter what system you own, it’s great to see video games back again!


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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