Special Report

The 20 Best-Selling Video Games of All Time

Video games were already a favorite technology-based form of entertainment for millions of people before the COVID-19 pandemic. As people were asked to stay at home as much as possible — and many did — the popularity of video games skyrocketed. In the U.S. alone, in the first nine months of 2020, total gaming sales were up by 23% compared to the same period in 2019.

Fans usually seek out the latest editions of a game with updated graphics and introduction of new characters. But some of the best-selling games of all time were first released decades ago.

To determine the most popular video games of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on lifetime video game sales for over 55,000 titles from industry intelligence firm VGChartz.

The majority of the most popular video games were released for a wide range of platforms, including PC and console. The best-selling game on a single platform is “Wii Sports,” with about 83 million copies sold for the Wii console.

Among the 20 best-selling video games on this list, 11 were published by Nintendo. Three of the company’s video games that made the list are from the Super Mario iconic series. Another publisher with multiple entries is Rockstar Games, which has been releasing Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty video games.

A noticeable trend in the video game industry is the release of sequels. Nearly all of the games on this list are franchises that have been around for decades. Remakes and sequels are a very popular trend in the film industry these days as well — these are the best movie sequels you can now stream online.

Click here to see the 20 best selling video games ever released

To determine the most popular video games of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on lifetime video game sales for over 55,000 titles from industry intelligence firm VGChartz. VGChartz collects data on shipments and sales as it is made available by developers and publishers. In our analysis, we treated shipment and sales data interchangeably. VGChartz data mostly consists of physical sales and may not account for digital sales, which have become a much greater share of the video game market in recent years. 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.