Top 10 Best-Selling Video Game Franchises of All-Time - SalesWilliam D'Angelo , posted on 16 December 2021 / 17,709 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.
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.
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.
Here are the best-selling video game franchises of all-time based on available data:
- Tetris - 496.4 million
- Call of Duty - 400 million
- Super Mario - 387.74 million
- Pokémon - 386 million
- Grand Theft Auto - 355 million
- FIFA - 325 million
- Minecraft - 238 million
- The Sims - 200 million
- Lego - 200 million
- 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 email@example.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.
Minecraft being here with basically 1 game is insane
20m average but recently had a spike and gained over 40m in 8 months
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
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.
its why I said practically but I don't think Dungeons made much of that percentage at all
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.
GTAV next in line after Minecraft per single game?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
wow tetris is a beast,
was kinda hoping gran turismo would make the cut haha
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!
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.
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.
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
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. :)
True and Mario has sold the most if you include its spin-off series, or just Mario Kart alone lol
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.
I highly recommend you to get mario 3d stars, galaxy looks way improved, and so does mario sunshine, which is also a fantastic game.
Are you kidding. Galaxy alone looks much improved removing all aliasing. Plus it’s 3 games in one.
I find it sad that something so generic can outsell something so iconic, but to each their own I guess.
Tetris rep for next Smash
Lol that would be amazing! Each attack would transform the Tetris block into a different shape
Lego and Final Fantasy surprise me the most to be honest.
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.
The Super Mario Franchise has been outsold, but the Mario Franchise is still #1
There is more to GTA than V and I think you are selling the franchise short.