Video games are a technology-based form of entertainment that have evolved drastically throughout their short history. Compared with popular, modern titles such as “God of War” and “Red Dead Redemption 2,” the plodding simplicity of early games such as Atari’s “Pong” can seem almost comical. With fans eager to advance to the latest, most cutting-edge game, titles of the past are no longer flying off store shelves.
Yet while fans will continue to seek out the newest games, buying them soon after 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 These are the titles that gamers return to despite – in certain cases – outdated aspects such as graphics and gameplay.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 Tempo reviewed unit sales data for over 100,000 video games as provided by research firm VGChartz.
Some video games – such as Nintendo’s “Duck Hunt” and “Super Mario Bros.” – are extremely old relative to the medium, having been first released in the mid-1980s. These games are fan favorites that have spawned merchandise, movies, and even popular snack foods.
However technological advancements have led game designers down many different paths that have been successful with gamers in recent years. More than one-third of the most popular games of all time were released in the past decade, including the crime-action classic “Grand Theft Auto V” and numerous entries to the first-person shooter series Call of Duty. Some of the most popular games of all time are also among the best-selling games of 2018, highlighting the popularity of these recent releases.
To identify the most popular games of all time, 24/7 Tempo 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. In cases where sales data was not available, units shipped was used as a proxy. 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.