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Top 10 Best-Selling Video Game Franchises of All-Time

Top 10 Best-Selling Video Game Franchises of All-Time - Sales

by William D'Angelo , posted on 16 December 2021 / 8,765 Views

When one piece of entertainment becomes a hit it is almost inevitable that a sequel will be released in the subsequent years. Sequels to video games have been around since the early days in the 1970s and some have turned into full-blown franchises with multiple releases over the course of years and even decades.

The best-selling video game franchise of all-time based on available data is the classic puzzle series, Tetris, with 496.4 million units sold during its lifetime. Over 400 million of those units sold are for the paid mobile versions, while the original Game Boy version sold 30.26 million units lifetime.

Top 10 Best-Selling Video Game Franchises of All-Time

Activision's most popular series, Call of Duty, is the second best-selling franchise of all time with 400 million units sold as of April 2021. Each release since 2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has consistently been one of the best-selling games every year.

What might be the most iconic video game franchise of all-time, Nintendo's Super Mario, is the third biggest series of all time with 387.74 million units shipped as of September 30, 2021. The original Super Mario Bros. on the NES is the best-seller with 40.24 million units, followed by New Super Mario Bros. with 30.80 million units, New Super Mario Bros. Wii at 30.32 million units, and Super Mario Odyssey at 21.95 million units.

Another Nintendo franchise, Pokémon, is the fourth best-selling series of all time with 386 million units sold as of November 2021. The original game, Pokémon Red / Green / Blue, has sold 31.38 million units and is the best-seller in the series. This is followed by Pokémon Gold / Silver with 23.10 million units sold and Pokémon Sword / Shield at 22.64 million units.

Top 10 Best-Selling Video Game Franchises of All-Time

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto is the fifth best-selling series with 355 million units as of September 31, 2021. By far the biggest entry in the series is Grand Theft Auto V with 155 million units sold.

Electronic Arts' long running football / soccer series, FIFA, comes in sixth place with 325 million units sold. There have been annual releases for the franchise since 1993.

The best-selling game of all time, Minecraft, also comes in seventh place on this list with 238 million units sold. It has also seen the release of spin-off titles, Minecraft: Story Mode and Minecraft Dungeons.

Tied for eighth place based on available data are The Sims and Lego franchises with 200 million units sold each. Rounding out the top 10 is the long-running popular JRPG series from Square Enix, Final Fantasy, with 164 million units sold.

Top 10 Best-Selling Video Game Franchises of All-Time

Here are the best-selling video game franchises of all-time based on available data:

  1. Tetris - 496.4 million
  2. Call of Duty - 400 million
  3. Super Mario - 387.74 million
  4. Pokémon - 386 million
  5. Grand Theft Auto - 355 million
  6. FIFA - 325 million
  7. Minecraft - 238 million
  8. The Sims - 200 million
  9. Lego - 200 million
  10. Final Fantasy - 164 million

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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57 Comments
TheWalrusCaesar (on 16 December 2021)

Minecraft being here with basically 1 game is insane

  • +5
trunkswd TheWalrusCaesar (on 16 December 2021)

It is the best-selling video game of all time and it keeps on selling a lot every year.

  • +1
TheBalladOfMario trunkswd (on 16 December 2021)

20m average but recently had a spike and gained over 40m in 8 months

  • +3
trunkswd TheBalladOfMario (on 17 December 2021)

The game has seen a jump in popularity on YouTube the last couple of years. Minecraft videos did hit 1 trillion total views on YouTube.

  • +2
TheBalladOfMario trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

ofc

  • +1
Farmageddon trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

1 trillion?

  • 0
trunkswd Farmageddon (on 17 December 2021)

That wasn't a typo. Every Minecraft video on YT has hit a combined 1 trillion views.

  • +2
Farmageddon trunkswd (on 20 December 2021)

I'm still trying to warp my mind around that. I looked it up and it seems like most of that came from the last couple years, too. I wonder how many people make the bulk of that - like, if a big chunk is (very) relatively few people watching a thousand videos or something. It's just crazy considering we have only like a few billion people alive : p

  • 0
Mandalore76 Farmageddon (on 21 December 2021)

I admit that I added to that somewhat in past year (miniscule portion of 1 trillion though!). I watched a bunch of those "Secretly living in someone else's base" and "building a mansion under someone else's base" videos. Made for good pandemic watching.

  • +2
trunkswd Mandalore76 (on 21 December 2021)

I've added a tiny amount as well. 3.26 million views since Oct 9, 2012. Considering the length of time that isn't that many views.

  • +2
Farmageddon trunkswd (on 22 December 2021)

That's about a thousand views a day, isn't it?

  • 0
Kakadu18 trunkswd (on 18 December 2021)

Shouldn't Minecraft Dungeons be added to that number?

  • 0
TheWalrusCaesar Kakadu18 (on 18 December 2021)

its why I said practically but I don't think Dungeons made much of that percentage at all

  • 0
Kakadu18 TheWalrusCaesar (on 18 December 2021)

No, that 238mil is Minecraft alone, it literally dold that much. Dungeons isn't included. But I
guess we only know the player numbers and no concrete sales numbers.

  • +1
2zosteven TheWalrusCaesar (on 16 December 2021)

GTAV next in line after Minecraft per single game?

  • +6
Machina 2zosteven (on 17 December 2021)

Yep. Minecraft, GTA V, and Wii Sports are the top 3.

  • 0
trunkswd Machina (on 17 December 2021)

Even with it being bundled with the Wii, Wii Sports isn't even close to Minecraft and GTAV. Crazy to think how well those 2 games keep on selling.

  • 0
Darwinianevolution trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

Wii Sports is the best selling exclusive of all time. It probably has the best attach rate in all of gaming. It's going to be near impossible to see other titles getting there.

  • +2
SvenTheTurkey trunkswd (on 19 December 2021)

Multiplatform though for Minecraft and GTA as well as spanning multiple generations, so it makes sense.

And I could be wrong about gta5, but they have all been bundled at some point or another. Minecraft on multiple systems.

  • 0
2zosteven trunkswd (on 20 December 2021)

GTAV sold more units than the WII and WIIU consoles combined.

  • +3
aTokenYeti TheWalrusCaesar (on 17 December 2021)

It’s one of those rare games that is completely timeless and is aging like a fine wine. I fully expect it to be at the top of this list one day

  • 0
Doctor_MG (on 16 December 2021)

What about the Wii series? I feel like it's higher than at least final fantasy with just Wii Sports and Wii Fit (including plus). Not to mention Wii Sports resort, Wii Party, Wii Music, etc.

  • +1
trunkswd Doctor_MG (on 17 December 2021)

We have those listed as separate "Series." When you combine Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Wii Party you get 200.63 million. So it would be number 8 on this list if you wanted to combine all the Wii games.

https://www.vgchartz.com/games/games.php?name=wii+&keyword=&console=Series

  • +1
Doctor_MG trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

Ah, okay. So Wii Fit and Wii Sports are split up like Super Mario and Mario Kart are. Gotchya. Well that makes sense.

  • 0
SvenTheTurkey (on 19 December 2021)

Do the Minecraft sales include mobile or not? I tried to figure that out, but couldn't find a clear answer from recent times.

If the 7 dollar version is included, I'm not surprised at all by the sales. If it's only PC and console, that's much more impressive.

Either way, the infiniminer developer is probably awake at night wishing he would have continued development.

  • 0
Salnax (on 19 December 2021)

I'd argue that "Super Mario" is just part of the franchise, and we should thus also include 150 million Mario Kart games, 60 million Mario Party games, and tens of millions of other games with Mario in the title, even if we exclude things like Luigi's Mansion. Especially since over 100 million of the Pokemon sales mentioned above are from spinoffs, including multi-million sellers like the Stadium, Snap, and Mystery Dungeon games.

  • 0
CaptainExplosion (on 17 December 2021)

It's a travesty that the Mario franchise has been outsold by a sandbox crime game with no likable characters, and a generic brown FPS published by a heartless frat house.

  • 0
FarleyMcFirefly CaptainExplosion (on 17 December 2021)

The Super Mario Franchise has been outsold, but the Mario Franchise is still #1

  • +3
aTokenYeti CaptainExplosion (on 17 December 2021)

There is more to GTA than V and I think you are selling the franchise short.

  • -1
CaptainExplosion aTokenYeti (on 18 December 2021)

Nope, I'm sure I've got it right. GTA is nothing but killing cops, running over whores, unlikable characters everywhere, stealing cars, and re-releasing the fifth entry over and over to the point that it fucking chokes us.

  • 0
LivncA_Dis3 (on 17 December 2021)

wow tetris is a beast,
was kinda hoping gran turismo would make the cut haha

  • 0
trunkswd LivncA_Dis3 (on 17 December 2021)

It takes a lot to be in the top 10. Super Mario and Pokemon are the only first-party games. Unless you want to also count Minecraft as well as it is owned by Microsoft. However, it is on pretty much every platform released in the last 10 or so years.

  • 0
JackHandy trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

I don't count Minecraft as first party because it was invented by a small team of indie guys. Microsoft legally owns it, so legally it is first party... but I'll never think of it as anything other than the highest-selling indie game of all time.

  • +2
SuperNintend0rk (on 16 December 2021)

I think it's pretty sad that Call of Duty has surpassed Mario, but at least Tetris still has the top spot lol go Tetris!

  • 0
trunkswd SuperNintend0rk (on 16 December 2021)

At least with Vanguard it appears Call of Duty is starting to drop a bit in popularity. Entirely possible Super Mario will surpass in the future.

  • +2
PAOerfulone trunkswd (on 16 December 2021)

Plus, Call of Duty is the entire franchise. Super Mario is just the mainline platformers. That's not including all the spinoffs, because you can bet your ass Mario Kart is going to drive that number up.
Mario in its entirety is still #1 by a significant margin.

  • +3
trunkswd PAOerfulone (on 16 December 2021)

You are correct. If you included Mario Kart, Mario Party, etc. Mario would be #1 on this list. But we have the different sub-Mario games split up. 2D and 3D platformers together, Mario Kart together, etc.

  • 0
Leynos trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

I think it's over 800 million if we include everything.

  • +1
trunkswd Leynos (on 17 December 2021)

Here are list of different Mario franchises that we have numbers on. That add up to around 700 million. https://www.vgchartz.com/games/games.php?name=mario&keyword=&console=Series

  • +4
Leynos trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

I like the forums here but never trusted this website's data, I was going by Wikipedia and the Mario Wiki.

  • 0
super_etecoon Leynos (on 17 December 2021)

I used to really trust the software data here, but it seems they don't update it much anymore. Until I know otherwise (from staff), I'm in your camp. It's sad to see.

  • +1
TheBalladOfMario trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

and if we counted other sub series like warios and luigi games ect i think it should be around 800m+ i would count those because they are spawned from Mario

  • +1
trunkswd TheBalladOfMario (on 17 December 2021)

Our software numbers are now based on official figures from publishers and developers. We stopped doing software estimates a few years ago.

As for series the team decided to separate the different Mario sub-series into their own category. If people want I can talk with the rest of the team about adding a new Mario (Series) that combines sales from every Mario game.

  • +1
scrapking trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

Thanks for this article, it was an interesting read.

It'd be interesting to do a companion article that re-ranks them based on revenue estimates. That would probably move Call of Duty to the top, and would also likely move GTA up several notches.

But you would have to base it off estimates, as I doubt the publishers would be forthcoming with that info, so maybe you wouldn't want to go there. It'd also be very had to estimate MTX revenue, so maybe it's a bad suggestion on my part. :)

  • 0
SuperNintend0rk trunkswd (on 16 December 2021)

True and Mario has sold the most if you include its spin-off series, or just Mario Kart alone lol

  • +1
victor83fernandes SuperNintend0rk (on 17 December 2021)

Not sad at all, I'm happy there's more gamers these days, means more games will be developed. WE get the choose which ones we buy, so whatever others play shouldn't matter. Mario will top call of duty for me no matter what. Mario 64 and mario odyssey and galaxy are better than all call of dutys in all of existence.

  • 0
trunkswd victor83fernandes (on 17 December 2021)

Mario 64 is still one of my top games of all time. I can still go back, replay it, and enjoy it. The gameplay holds up quite well even if the visuals have aged. Mario Odyssey is one of the key reasons I bought a Switch.

  • +1
victor83fernandes trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

I highly recommend you to get mario 3d stars, galaxy looks way improved, and so does mario sunshine, which is also a fantastic game.

  • +1
trunkswd victor83fernandes (on 17 December 2021)

There wasn't enough changed in the games to make it worth $60 to me. So I skipped it. I was hoping for improved visuals and Galaxy 2.

  • 0
victor83fernandes trunkswd (on 17 December 2021)

Are you kidding. Galaxy alone looks much improved removing all aliasing. Plus it’s 3 games in one.

  • +1
SuperNintend0rk victor83fernandes (on 17 December 2021)

I find it sad that something so generic can outsell something so iconic, but to each their own I guess.

  • +1
KLAMarine SuperNintend0rk (on 17 December 2021)

Tetris rep for next Smash

  • 0
SuperNintend0rk KLAMarine (on 17 December 2021)

Lol that would be amazing! Each attack would transform the Tetris block into a different shape

  • 0
Signalstar (on 16 December 2021)

Lego and Final Fantasy surprise me the most to be honest.

  • 0
trunkswd Signalstar (on 16 December 2021)

Would you think they would be higher or lower? Both of them have a ton of releases.

  • 0
victor83fernandes Signalstar (on 17 December 2021)

It doesn't to me, Final fantasy used to he huge back in my day, in the 90's it was almost all we talked about, it was final fantasy, tomb raider and resident evil. Final fantasy is also big in Japan.
Lego is obvious, that's what parents buy for their kids. Same reason for minecraft, that's all my nephews play all the time, they don't even care about any other game.

  • 0
Kakadu18 Signalstar (on 17 December 2021)

There are endless Lego games. Even if they don't sell a ton each it adds up.

  • +1