Video games have been around for decades. Although not at the same level of gameplay and visuals as they are now, they have already had a rich and diverse history unlike any other branch of the popular entertainment industry. What started as just another hobby has managed to grow into an industry that is not worth more than the movie and the music industries combined.

This statistic alone is enough reason to talk about video games more and to start making them more seriously and respect them as works of art. More time and hard work go into the development of some titles than any other form of media right now. The naysayers who look down on video games are fewer every year.

But which games are responsible for this worldwide domination the most? Are there some that have sold so many copies that they almost singlehandedly caused the entire industry to boom? Well, the answer is of course, yes, but there is no one single game that can be credited.

There are actually quite a few that sold in a staggering amount of copies, enough to change the world of entertainment forever. In the following article, we talk about the best-selling video game franchises of all time. If you want to learn what the most popular games were in the last several decades, look no further than the following list.

1. Honorable Mention: Warcraft – 25 million


The Warcraft series is a peculiar one because the amount of copies does not really reflect the importance nor the critical and financial success of the franchise. The real-time strategy games were already immensely popular in their time. The real-time strategies sold about 10 million copies between them.

The original title, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, sold only about 300,000 copies. However, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness sold 3 million, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos sold 3 million more, and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne sold 3 million too. World of Warcraft, the most successful MMORPG in history, sold 14 million copies during its 17+ years in the industry.

However, in order to keep playing it, the player has to pay a monthly subscription of $15. Since its release, WoW has made more than $9.23 billion, which makes it one of the highest-grossing titles ever alongside Space Invaders, Street Fighter II, and Pac-Man, none of which are in the top ten in terms of copies sold. World of Warcraft is currently in its eight major expansion, Shadowlands, and it is still going strong.

The new 9.2 patch will soon drop bringing along the final raid of the expansion, after which a new expansion will come out raising price and the total gross revenue. If you need some help with progress until then, especially Mythic+ dungeons that are the core of the everyday high-end play, make sure to check out

2. Mario – 772+ million sold


The Mario series of games consists of numerous titles and genres of games. It has appeared in many forms on many platforms, including racing and sports, party collections, puzzles, and even RPGs. Super Mario games sold 390 million, Mario Kart is at 164 million, Mario Party over 61 million, Mario Sports more than 59 million, Mario RPG about 29 million, and the rest of them come down to some 68 million together. Mario games are still being released yearly and its title is probably secured at the very top for the forseeable future.

3. Tetris – 495+ million


The fact that this iconic puzzle video game is on the list should not really surprise anyone. There is hardly a person on earth who has not tried it or at least watched someone else play this game. Numerous variants exist on all sorts of platforms, from computers and consoles to hand-held consoles and smartphones.

The mobile game paid downloads to make up the bulk of the sales with 425 million, while physical sales reached 70 million. There will always be more Tetris games since many publishers and developers now create their own. It will be hard for any other game to come close to it.

4. Pokémon – 406+ million


The phenomenon that is Pokémon will seemingly never end with new games coming out every few years. So far, the classic role-playing formula of catching colorful and wacky monsters and battling with them has had dozens of iterations, the latest being Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

It so much more than the games too since there are also other types of media including cards, anime, manga, toys, books, and feature-length movies. This series has cemented its place in the top 3 thanks to its longevity and quality.

5. Call of Duty (CoD) – 400+ million


CoD is arguably the most successful first-person shooter game in history. It is definitely the most sold franchise, something that not a lot of other FPS games ever came close to. Activision is the publisher behind the lengthy franchise of games, while numerous studios worked as developers.

The sales are even bigger when the mobile spin-off Call of Duty: Mobile is included, it alone being downloaded over 500 million times. CoD games have been falling of in recent years but nobody can write them off completely.

6. Grand Theft Auto (GTA) – 370+ million


Starting in 1997, the game truly took shape when the bird’s-eye view was exchanged for third-person with GTA III. The open-world, action-adventure game by Rockstar always causes hype in the industry, so much so that it is usually the game of the year or at least the title everyone talks about for the next five or so years.

The latest title, GTA V, is the second-best-selling game ever with over 160 million copies. It is actually the highest-grossing example of media ever, beating any other movie, music album, and fellow video game. With the next installment, GTA is probably going to overtake CoD for the number 4 spot on this prestigious list.

The Next Five:

  1. FIFA – 325+ million – most popular and successful sports franchise, released yearly by EA.
  2. Minecraft – 238+ million – sandbox, survival, building simulator and a teal phenomenon of a title.
  3. Wii – 202+ million – series of Wii console simulations by Nintendo.
  4. Lego – 200+ million – games with bricks (especially licensed properties) are as popular as physical toys.
  5. The Sims+ – 200 million – the most popular life simulator franchise for 22+ years.