Top 10 Best-selling Video Games in History

Video games long had the image of being made exclusively for kids or “nerds”. But that is definitely no longer the case. Video game culture has reached the mainstream. In fact, the e-sport industry is growing at an incredible fast pace and has overtaken most “real life” sports in terms of global popularity. It is needless to say that the video games industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry. The market also belongs to the most competitive ones there is. While hundreds of millions of video games are shipped every year, only three video games in history managed to sell more than hundred million copies in total. The following shows which ones and the entire Top 10 best-selling video games ranking.

Note: For obvious reasons free video games, like the popular “Fortnite” for example, are not recognized in this best-selling Top 10 video games ranking.

The Top 10 Video Games in History

top video games in history

1. Minecraft

best selling video game

At a time where most video games strive to provide their players realistic, high-end graphics, Minecraft proved that graphics are not primarily what makes a video game successful. The sandbox survival game uses almost absurdly outdated, simplistic graphics, yet it has sold around 180 million times around the world since its release in 2011. The game was developed by the small Swedish video game company Mojang, which was only founded in 2009 and is now owned by Microsoft. Aside from the “ancient” graphics, another aspect that makes Minecraft so special: It does not have a specific goal. There are no levels to complete or high scores to break. Players simply build their own world while avoiding and/or killing a variety of monsters. The multi-platform game can be played both in single-player as well as multiplayer mode.

2. Tetris

second of the best-selling top 10 video games in history

Tetris is now the second best-selling video game in history, having only recently been surpassed by Minecraft. The game was created in 1984 by Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov. The inventor worked for the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, which still existed then. His original task was to develop a program that would let the Computing Center of the Academy test newly developed hardware. In other words, Tetris was originally meant as a testing software, not a game. But Pajitnov soon realized that his program became quite popular among his colleagues. With the permission of his superiors and the help of his colleagues, the program was then developed into a game and named “Tetris” (a portmanteau of the geographic shape tetromino and the sport of tennis). The game was consequently published worldwide by the state-owned Soviet (and later Russian) company Elektronorgtechnica. The simple, yet highly addictive game has sold around 170 million times ever since. Today, the licenses for the game are handled by the Tetris Company, a Hawaii-based company co-owned by Pajitnov.

3. Grand Theft Auto V

third best-selling video game of all time

Grand Theft Auto V is the third most sold video game of all time. It also joins Minecraft and Tetris in being the only video games to have broken the 100 million mark by selling a total of around 115 million copies worldwide. GTA V is part of the Grand Theft Auto series, which in itself belongs to the most popular and best-selling video game series in history. GTA V was developed by American video game company Rockstar Games in 2013. While Rockstar, which is owned by video game giant Take-Two Interactive, is now also known for other widely popular games, it is still the GTA franchise that stands almost synonymous for the company. GTA V is an open world action-adventure game which lets players play with three different characters, each with unique background stories and attributes.

4. Wii Sports

fourth of the top 10 best-selling video games in the world

In the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese video game giants Nintendo was the nonplus ultra of the video gaming world. But the competition, especially by Sony and Microsoft, was growing at the start of the 21st Century. Nintendo desperately needed a new innovative gaming concept. And as always, the company managed to create just that. In 2006, Nintendo released its new video game console: The Nintendo Wii. The console’s controller includes a sensor which detects three-dimensional movements, making the Wii controllable by the player’s movements. Wii Sports represented the original game for the Wii console and it is therefore not surprising, that the game sold around 83 million copies worldwide. Wii Sports, as well as other games of the Wii console, quickly gained global prominence for being a popular party game for players of all ages. Like all Wii games, the game was and is exclusively playable on a Wii console.

5. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds completes the Top 5 of the Top 10 best-selling video games of all time. Only released in 2017, the game has already sold around 50 million copies all over the globe. The battle royal-styled game was created and developed by South Korean video game studio PUBG which belongs to the likewise South Korean video game corporation Bluehole. The multi-platform game is only playable in multiplayer mode. In a typical battle royale setting players from all over the world are competing against each other in an open world that is getting smaller with time until players have nowhere to hide. The last remaining survivor is declared the winner.

6. Super Mario Bros.

7. Pokemon Red/Blue

8. Wii Fit

9. Mario Kart Wii

10. Wii Sports Resort

The Top 10 Best-Selling Video Games in History (at a glance)

(as of December 2019)

Top 10 Best-Selling Video Games in History:
~ 180 million copies sold
~ 170 million copies sold
~ 115 million copies sold
~ 83 million copies sold
~ 50 million copies sold
~ 49 million copies sold
~ 48 million copies sold
~ 44 million copies sold
~ 37 million copies sold
~ 33 million copies sold

Top 10 Best-Selling Video Games of All Time by worldwide sales

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