Video games come in all shapes and sizes, from triple-AAA blockbuster releases with marketing campaigns that rival those of Hollywood movies, to independent gaming studios putting out titles that cater to specific audiences. The most popular video games sell millions of copies - as of December 2021, the best-selling video game franchise worldwide was Tetris with close to 500 million unit sales. However, when looking at the single most selling game , Nintendo is the clear winner as Wii Sports (2006) for the Wii console sold more than 82 million copies in its lifetime.

Nintendo Switch games are popular beyond release

Through the many generations of Nintendo gaming consoles, Nintendo has published many enduringly popular games. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most popular game for Nintendo Switch of all time , having surpassed 43 million unit sales. Although only released in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is in second place of the best-selling Nintendo Switch games ever, as it was a surprise hit during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and audiences flocked to the cozy island life simulation. The Pokémon series continues to be one of the mainstays of Nintendo gaming, with the original Pokémon Red / Green / Blue releases still being the most popular of them all with over 31 million units sold.

Sony has the golden touch with blockbuster releases

Platform exclusives are very important when it comes to console gaming and Sony is no slouch – some of the all-time best-selling PlayStation 4 games are games that are only available on PlayStation. First-party title Marvel's Spider-Man ranks first as the top PS4 game with over 20 million games sold. The 2018 release of God of War racked up 19.5 million PlayStation 4 sales before getting a PC port in January 2022.

Top-selling gaming genres – sports games and shooters

Beyond individual hit titles, there are two major gaming franchises that always feature in the best-seller lists regardless of platform – FIFA and Call of Duty. Like clockwork, Electronic Arts publishes a FIFA title in early fall, and the titles enter the best-selling rankings until the successor is released. FIFA 2022 was the most downloaded PlayStation 4 game in Europe in 2021, with FIFA 2021 still reaching a respectable 4th place. Other popular sports gaming franchise titles like NBA 2K, MLB, and Madden NFL also populate the best-seller rankings.
The other top-selling genre for gaming consoles is shooter games, with the Call of Duty series published by Activision Blizzard being the most prominent example. Every November, a new Call of Duty title is published, and the series has surpassed 400 million lifetime unit sales in April 2021.
Competitive games are popular with players – battle royale PVP shooter PUBG: Battlegrounds has sold more than 75 million copies for PC and console since release .

RPGs are a popular gaming genre regardless of platform

Role-playing games are another genre full of popular titles with Japanese companies providing some of the most notable content in this segment. Square Enix has published some of the most popular games of all time – the company’s long-running Final Fantasy franchise has sold more than 161 million units and counting, while fellow Japan-based publisher Capcom has several major gaming series with sales surpassing reach double-digit millions . The company reported over 100 titles that have sold more than one million units and the top-selling Capcom gaming title of all time was Monster Hunter World (2018) with over 17.8 million unit sales.
The Witcher series by Polish video game company CD Projekt is another example of the strength of the RPG genre – their 2015 release of the latest game in the series, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt , ranked on countless “Game of the Year” lists and has sold more than 40 million copies to date. The company’s most recent release, the highly anticipated RPG Cyberpunk 2077 sold more than 18 million units despite a tumultuous launch in December 2020.
In contrast, FromSoftware’s Elden Ring release in February 2022 was heralded with a similar level of hype and fanfare – after all, George R.R. Martin contributed some of the world lore – and the game delivered: the dark and notoriously difficult RPG was released to rave reviews and sold more than 12 million units worldwide just two weeks after its release, making it one of the fastest video game releases of all time.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 52 most important statistics relating to "Best-selling video games - top publishers and titles".


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