The 20 Most Successful Games of All Time

Most Successful Games of All Time: Video games are doing really well right now! A few decades ago, people thought games were just for nerds, but now they’re getting the recognition they deserve. The part of the gaming world that’s online and digital is also growing steadily. You can check out our list of the best games to see which ones have sold the most and what makes them special.

1. Minecraft

  • Initial Release Date: November 18, 2011
  • Developer(s): Mojang Studios
  • Publisher(s): Mojang Studios
  • Sales: 300 Million

In 2009, when the first test version of “Minecraft” appeared online, no one expected it to become as popular as it did. The game, created by one person, Markus “Notch” Persson from Sweden, has now become the most successful game in the history of video games, with over 300 million players across different platforms.

Unlike other games with fancy graphics and complex stories, “Minecraft” stands out for its simple, blocky appearance. The gameplay is straightforward: explore the pixelated world, gather materials, and use them to build structures and objects. The success of “Minecraft” is attributed to its minimalist approach.

The game offers different modes. In creative mode, you can freely build without challenges. However, other modes increase difficulty with various limitations. Whether you enjoy peaceful building or a more challenging experience, “Minecraft” caters to different preferences.

Microsoft acquired the franchise in 2014, and since then, “Minecraft” has become one of the most popular and beloved video games worldwide.

2. Grand Theft Auto V

  • Initial Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Developer(s): Rockstar North
  • Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
  • Sales: 190 Million

The “GTA” series by Rockstar has always been known for its large, open worlds, fast-paced action, and unique characters. People were eagerly waiting for the fifth main installment in 2013, and it didn’t disappoint. The game is set in the fictional state of Los Santos, offering players immense freedom to explore.

In “GTA V,” a significant new feature is the ability to play as three different characters. Besides the main and side missions, players can spend countless hours engaging in various activities like playing tennis, shopping, going to the beach, or even visiting a strip club. True to the series, “GTA V” has a thrilling, action-packed story with plenty of ironic commentary on US society. Despite being seven years old, the game remains popular due to its unique atmosphere, characterized by a great soundtrack, excellent voice acting, and numerous bizarre moments.

The success of “Grand Theft Auto Online,” an online multiplayer mode, has played a crucial role in keeping “GTA V” popular, attracting millions of players even years after its release.

3. Tetris (EA)

  • Initial Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Developer(s): EA Mobile
  • Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
  • Sales: 100 Million

“Tetris” is a clever and straightforward game. You deal with different-shaped blocks falling from the top of the screen, and your goal is to fit them together to complete rows like a puzzle and score points. Accompanied by a distinctive soundtrack, this simple concept turns into an addictive and enjoyable gaming experience.

Since its debut in 1989, the original “Tetris” has sold around 100 million copies. The mobile version, introduced in 2006, has attracted a whopping 100 million players to date. One reason for its popularity is that it provides a fun and exciting way to pass the time during short waits in everyday life.

4. Wii Sports

  • Initial Release Date: November 19, 2006
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 82.9 Million

In 2006, Nintendo took a different approach with its innovative Wii console. Instead of trying to compete on technical specifications with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo aimed to provide a unique gaming experience. The Wii featured a distinctive remote control relying on motion sensors, a departure from traditional controllers.

Priced affordably, the Wii became a popular second console for many gamers. Those who bought the console in 2006 usually got a copy of “Wii Sports” included. This game, featuring various mini-games in sports like tennis, bowling, and boxing, showcased the fun of the Wii’s new motion control system.

With 82.9 million copies sold, “Wii Sports” remains the most commercially successful game exclusive to a single console. Its direct successor, “Wii Sports Resort,” released in 2009, expanded on the existing sports and improved motion controls. The game sold 33.1 million copies, continuing the success of the Wii’s unique gaming experience.

5. PUBG: Battlegrounds

  • Initial Release Date: December 20, 2017
  • Developer(s): PUBG Studios
  • Publisher(s): Krafton
  • Sales: 75 Million

PUBG: Battlegrounds, originally known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG, is a multiplayer shooter created by Bluehole’s PUBG Corporation. The game was first released on March 23, 2017, as an early access title on Steam for Windows. The PC version transitioned from early access to version 1.0 on December 20, 2017.

An initial version for Xbox One, titled Game Preview Edition, was released on December 12, 2017. On March 19, 2018, a mobile version called PUBG Mobile was globally launched for iOS and Android devices. Console ports followed, with the Xbox One version releasing on September 4, 2018, and the PlayStation 4 version on December 7, 2018. Additionally, on April 28, 2020, the game became available for subscribers of the Google Stadia service.

PUBG has achieved significant success, selling over 75 million copies on both PCs and game consoles. It holds the title of the best-selling video game on PC and Xbox One, ranking as the fifth best-selling video game of all time. The game has generated a staggering $13 billion in global revenue, including substantial contributions from its highly successful mobile version. PUBG stands as one of the highest-grossing video games in history.

6. Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe

  • Initial Release Date: May 29, 2014
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EAD / Nintendo EPD (Deluxe)
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 65.5 Million

Since 1992, the “Mario Kart” series has been a favorite among gamers. Nintendo’s iconic racing game stands out from others by focusing not just on driving skill but also on cleverly using items collected during races to secure victory.

“Mario Kart 8” originally released for the Wii U and later on the Nintendo Switch as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” continued the series’ successful formula. These games brought exciting competitions to a new level with detailed visuals and a wealth of details.

The spin-offs of the “Mario Kart” series are known for their entertaining and competitive nature, appealing to both young and old players. Following closely behind the “Mario Kart 8” variants in popularity is “Mario Kart Wii,” released in 2008, which sold nearly as many copies as its direct home console successor.

7. Super Mario Bros

  • Initial Release Date: September 13, 1985
  • Developer(s): Nintendo R&D4
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 58 Million

“Super Mario Bros.” stands out not only as one of the most commercially successful but also as one of the most influential games in the history of video games. The enduring popularity of the mustachioed plumber is evident in the legendary classic “Super Mario Bros.,” which made its debut in Japanese stores on September 13, 1985.

The game’s timeless appeal lies in its well-designed levels, where the objective is to jump over obstacles, collect power-ups, and ultimately rescue Princess Toadstool from the clutches of the villainous King Koopa.

This iconic game has become a milestone in gaming history, appreciated for its intuitive controls, charming visuals, and memorable music. Even after over 30 years, “Super Mario Bros.” continues to inspire gamers with its enduring qualities.

8. Red Dead Redemption

  • Initial Release Date:
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  • Sales: 57 Million

The first installment of “Red Dead Redemption” was a revelation in gaming. Rockstar, the developer, applied its successful open-world formula but transported players not to the modern world but directly into the closing days of the Wild West.

In “Red Dead Redemption 2,” the story predates the events of the first part. Playing as Arthur Morgan, we find ourselves in the midst of the Van der Linde gang’s activities, taking place 12 years before the original game. Our goal is to protect ourselves from law enforcement while navigating through the intricate relationships within the gang.

The game offers a vast, immersive, and detailed open world, one of the best storylines in video game history, a plethora of activities, authentically developed characters, and a stunning soundtrack that captivates fans’ hearts. “Red Dead Redemption 2” is a compelling experience that resonates with players on various levels.

9. The Sims

  • Initial Release Date: October 26, 2018
  • Developer(s): Rockstar Games
  • Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
  • Sales: 45.5 Million

“The Sims” is a series of computer games published by Electronic Arts since 2000. It falls under the category of life simulation games, where players influence the actions and decisions of virtual characters known as Sims. The series has sold over 45 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling computer game series.

Games in “The Sims” series are primarily sandbox games, meaning they lack defined goals, although some later expansion packs and console versions introduced this gameplay style. Players create virtual people, called Sims, place them in houses, and guide their moods and desires.

Players have the option to either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build homes themselves. With each new expansion pack and game in the series, additional features and options are introduced, expanding the capabilities of players to interact with and customize their Sims’ virtual lives.

10. Overwatch

  • Initial Release Date:
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  • Sales: 50 Million

“Overwatch” is a multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment, released in May 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with a Nintendo Switch version available since October 15, 2019. It is set in Blizzard’s fourth fantasy universe, following Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo.

In the game, two teams of six players each compete in various modes, such as capturing a location or escorting a payload. Other modes include deathmatch and elimination. Players choose from 32 predefined heroes across Damage, Tank, and Support categories, with the ability to switch within a category during a round. Experience points are awarded after each round, allowing for external changes to heroes without affecting gameplay.

“Overwatch” quickly became Blizzard’s most popular game, with over 25 million players in 2016 and record sales of $270 million in its first week. Initially receiving cautious reviews during testing, the game earned widespread praise after numerous improvements, achieving an above-average rating of 90 to 95 percent. It received several awards, including “Game of the Year” honors in 2016.

A sequel, “Overwatch 2,” was announced at BlizzCon 2019, featuring both player-versus-player and player-versus-environment elements. It was released on October 4, 2022, as a free-to-play game.

11. Human: Fall Flat

  • Initial Release Date: July 22, 2016
  • Developer(s): No Brakes Games
  • Publisher(s): Curve Digital
  • Sales: 50 Million

“Human: Fall Flat” is a puzzle-platform game created by No Brakes Games and published by Curve Digital. Initially released in July 2016 for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux, it later became available on various platforms, including PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, iOS, and Android.

The game received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the replayability of puzzles and comedic animations. Despite the mixed reviews, it has become a commercial success, selling over 50 million copies as of December 2023, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time. A sequel, “Human: Fall Flat 2,” was announced in June 2023 during Devolver Direct 2023.

12. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • Initial Release Date:
  • Developer(s):
  • Publisher(s):
  • Sales: 50 Million

Many players consider the third installment of “The Witcher” series to be the best action role-playing game ever.

Based on novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which have also inspired a Netflix series, the game captivates players with its dark fantasy atmosphere, a vast open world, and an almost limitless amount of gameplay.

13. Tetris (1989)

  • Initial Release Date: June 14, 1989
  • Developer(s): Nintendo R&D1
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 48 Million

“Tetris,” also known as classic Tetris, is a puzzle video game designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and released in 1989. The game is based on the original Tetris created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1985. This NES version represents the first official console release of Tetris developed and published by Nintendo.

Before the NES version, there was an official Tetris release for the Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan in December 1988. Additionally, an unofficial version of Tetris was released by Tengen in North America in May 1989, preceding the official Nintendo release.

14. Pokémon Red / Green / Blue / Yellow

  • Initial Release Date: February 27, 1996
  • Developer(s): Game Freak
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 47.5 Million

The first generation of the “Pokémon” series, introduced in 1996, laid the groundwork for the incredible success of the iconic pocket monsters. The game’s principle revolves around our strong passion for collecting Pokémon and engaging in exciting battles against other trainers with the creatures we capture.

As players, we begin our journey as a young adventurer in the expansive world of pocket monsters, fueled by the desire to eventually become the Pokémon League champion. Throughout the Kanto region, we partake in arena battles in various cities, earning the necessary medals for our quest.

A central aspect of the game involves an ongoing rivalry with our persistent opponent, who continually crosses our path and challenges us throughout our adventure. The combination of collecting, battling, and overcoming rivals contributes to the enduring appeal of the Pokémon series.

15. Terraria

  • Initial Release Date: May 16, 2011
  • Developer(s): Re-Logic
  • Publisher(s): Re-Logic / 505 Games
  • Sales: 44.5 Million

“Terraria” demonstrates the effective combination of a 2D appearance with three-dimensional impacts. Released on Steam in 2011, the game prioritizes freedom of play. Set in a randomly generated open world, players have the flexibility to choose their virtual tasks.

In “Terraria,” you can explore the open game world freely, mine metal ores, and utilize the obtained raw materials to upgrade your equipment. The game features a dynamic day-night cycle, presenting relatively harmless opponents during the day and more challenging enemies at night, putting your gaming skills to the test.

Despite its simple design, “Terraria” offers entertaining enjoyment. The minimalist look helps focus attention on the game’s successful core mechanics, ensuring a satisfying gaming experience.

16. Wii Fit / Plus

  • Initial Release Date: December 1, 2007
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 43.8 Million

“Wii Fit” and its follow-up, “Wii Fit Plus,” represent the natural progressions from “Wii Sports.” However, in these titles released in 2007 and 2009, the player no longer utilizes the conventional movement control of the Wii controller; instead, they complete exercises with the special Wii Balance Board included with “Wii Fit.”

These games center around 48 challenges in “Wii Fit” and 63 challenges in “Wii Fit Plus,” all designed to promote the player’s physical fitness in an enjoyable manner. The challenges include various muscle-building exercises, balance games, aerobic units, and yoga sequences. The player’s performance on the balance board determines their points.

This successful combination of physical exercise and virtual entertainment has sold an incredible 43.8 million copies, showcasing the popularity of incorporating fitness elements into video gaming.

17. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  • Initial Release Date: March 20, 2020
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EPD
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 43.40 Million

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a social simulation game developed and published by Nintendo in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch, marking the fifth main entry in the Animal Crossing series. In this installment, players control a character who relocates to a deserted island after purchasing a getaway package from Tom Nook. The game involves completing tasks, crafting items, customizing the island, and fostering a community of anthropomorphic animals.

Development for “New Horizons” began in 2012, with the director, Aya Kyogoku, incorporating elements from previous games to maintain fan satisfaction. The team aimed to create a game that appealed to both existing fans and newcomers by keeping gameplay simple and using the concepts of “trigger of play” and the “imagination gap” in its art and graphics.

The game was announced at E3 2019 and released worldwide on March 20, 2020. It received widespread acclaim for its gameplay and customization options, with many considering it the best in the Animal Crossing series. The game’s success was also boosted by its release during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a substitute for social interactions and inspiring various fan creations.

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” achieved immense commercial success, selling over 43 million copies worldwide. It broke records for the most digital units sold in a single month and holds the title of the best-selling game in the Animal Crossing series, the second best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch, the best-selling game of all time in Japan, and ranks as the 17th best-selling video game in history.

18. Pac-Man

  • Initial Release Date: May 22, 1980
  • Developer(s): Namco
  • Publisher(s): Namco
  • Sales: 42 Million

During the early days when video games were gaining popularity on an international scale, a ravenous yellow blob played a pivotal role in transforming the industry. The arcade game “Pac-Man” became a phenomenon, drawing crowds to local arcades in pursuit of new high scores.

In this game set in labyrinth-like levels, players skillfully guide the titular character through limited paths to consume all the points on the screen. However, there are persistent ghosts in pursuit that must be avoided. When a power pill is collected, the tables turn, allowing players to temporarily destroy the pesky ghosts.

The straightforward yet challenging gameplay of “Pac-Man” played a significant role in the successful evolution of the video game industry. To this day, it is considered an absolute classic that should not be overlooked.

19. Mario Kart Wii

  • Initial Release Date: April 10, 2008
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 37.4 Million

Since 1992, the “Mario Kart” series has been a source of joy for gamers. Nintendo’s iconic racing game sets itself apart from others by placing less emphasis on the player’s driving skill and more on the clever use of items collected during races.

“Mario Kart 8” for the Wii U, and its later Switch port “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” continued the series’ successful formula. These games not only maintained the timeless appeal but also elevated the exciting competitions with detailed visuals and an abundance of detail.

The spin-offs of the “Mario Kart” series are known for their entertaining and competitive nature, captivating players of all ages. “Mario Kart Wii,” released in 2008, comes right after the “Mario Kart 8” variants in popularity, almost matching the sales of its direct home console successor.

20. Wii Sports Resort

  • Initial Release Date: June 25, 2009
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
  • Publisher(s): Nintendo
  • Sales: 33 Million

“Wii Sports Resort” is a sports simulation video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii console in 2009. Serving as the sequel to Wii Sports, it is notable for being one of the first Wii games requiring the Wii MotionPlus accessory, which was bundled with the game.

The title was announced at E3 2008 and saw its initial release in Japan on June 25, 2009, followed by other regions the following month. Although it was initially released as a stand-alone title, it was later bundled with newer Wii consoles alongside Wii Sports.

Critics praised “Wii Sports Resort” for its improved controls, gameplay, and graphics. As of March 31, 2021, the game stands as the third best-selling game on the Wii, surpassed only by its predecessor, Wii Sports, and Mario Kart Wii, with 33.14 million copies sold worldwide. This places it as the 20th best-selling video game of all time. A sequel titled “Nintendo Switch Sports” was released on April 29, 2022.

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