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The PlayStation 1 Game That Was The Console's Best Seller

For a period of about six years, from its launch at least until the PlayStation 2 launched, the original PlayStation was the best-selling console ever made. The PS1 revolutionized the industry with its CD-based games and made PlayStation a household name practically overnight. The PlayStation Classic reboot bombed in part thanks to the lack of quality games available, as part of the original console's success was its massive lineup that took full advantage of the then-powerful console's capabilities — all in higher 3D quality than its primary competitor, the Nintendo 64.


Its games are thus some of the highest-selling games of all time, and the PS1's success helped launch franchises that still exist today – even the hidden gems of the PlayStation 1 sold well. However, the question of which PS1 game is the highest-selling of all time can't be answered just by looking at a sales sheet. On paper, "Gran Turismo" is the highest-selling PlayStation 1 game of all time, but its lifetime sales total also includes versions that shipped with special promotional PlayStations. If these numbers are taken out of the equation, depending on how successful the promotional bundle was, "Final Fantasy 7" could theoretically be the highest-selling game instead.

Gran Turismo is the highest-selling PS1 game ever, but...

The very first entry in the "Grand Turismo" franchise came out about 25 years ago in 1997 on the PS1, two years after the console launched. At the time, it was a revolutionary racing game for a lot of reasons, most notably the sheer number of customizations available and for having real-life cars represented in-game accurately — or at least, as accurately as was possible in '97. "Gran Turismo" was insanely popular and reached a lifetime sales total of about 10.8 million, and of course, its popularity spurned one of the most successful racing franchises and even an upcoming PlayStation Studios TV show.


In 1998, a special Christmas promotion included a short demo for the game on select consoles, and these sales are counted in the official sales total for the game as well. In a way, it's much like how "Wii Sports" is, technically, the best-selling game for the Nintendo Wii. However, the full version of "Gran Turismo" had to be purchased separately while "Wii Sports" was included in its entirety with every console. Depending on how much this affected the total sales of "Gran Turismo," the second-place runner-up might take the lead as the best-selling game on the PS1, at least in terms of direct game sales.

...Final Fantasy 7 probably wins if Gran Turismo wasn't paired with PS1 consoles

As arguably the most well-known entry in the whole series, "Final Fantasy 7" is the second best-selling game of all time for the PS1 and sits at about 10 million lifetime sales. It really isn't that far behind "Gran Turismo," especially considering that "Final Fantasy 7" is a more niche JRPG and "Gran Turismo" is a racing sim with much broader appeal. The critical reception to the first of the new trilogy of "Final Fantasy 7" remakes Square Enix is a testament to its long-lasting impact — but staying power doesn't necessarily mean selling power.


There's a lot of murkiness surrounding the exact numbers on PS1 game sales, especially when things like console-bundled promotional copies are factored in. Unfortunately, there isn't much data, let alone reliable data, on how much console-tied sales affected the overall lifetime sales of "Gran Turismo" and it's hard to confirm one way or the other which is truly the best-selling PS1 game ever.

Going by the sales total data that is available, "Gran Turismo" is the best-selling game for the PS1. But the question of how much its console-tied sales affected its totals persists, and the question of whether "Final Fantasy 7" is actually the best-selling PlayStation 1 game or not may never be answered.