Video games are a technology-based form of entertainment, with fans eager to advance to the latest, most cutting-edge game. Compared to popular, modern titles such as “Far Cry 5” and “Fortnite,” the plodding simplicity of early games such as Atari’s “Pong” can seem almost naive. These games of the past are no longer flying off the store shelves.
Yet while fans will continue to seek out the newest games, buying them soon upon release, the best-selling games of all time continue to be those that are all-around outstanding. These are the titles that gamers return to despite – in certain cases – outdated aspects such as graphics and gameplay.
To determine the most popular video games of all time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed unit sales data for over 100,000 video games as provided by research firm VGChartz.
Many of the games that have sold the absolute most copies are among the oldest. This is due in part to huge sales upon release as well as the titles’ enduring quality compelling new gamers to continue to purchase copies over time. Notable titles include “Duck Hunt” and “Super Mario Bros.” – both of which were released in 1985 – and “Tetris” and “Super Mario Land” – which were launched in 1989.
The video game medium is, and has always been, built on technology, so a large share of the most popular games were released more recently. Actually, 35 of the 50 most popular games appeared after 2005.
Several franchise games also make up a huge segment of the most popular games. These include four Grand Theft Auto titles, eight Pokémon, and 10 Call of Duty games. When publishers such as Rockstar Games, Nintendo, or Activision, find themselves with a hit game, they are likely to follow it up with another – if not many more – in the series.
To identify the most popular games of all time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the total units sold of over 100,000 video game titles since their respective releases as provided by VGChartz. Sales for titles released across multiple consoles were combined. Data on release dates and publishers also came from VGChartz. Primary console refers to the console for which the most versions of the game in question have been sold.