From Minecraft to Mario: The most popular video game franchises of all time
The gaming industry has come a long way since you'd go down to the arcade with your friends to play Donkey Kong. These days, games can have tens of millions of players.
Here's a look at the best selling games franchises by sales of all time.
10. Need for Speed
Copies sold: 150 million sales (approx.)
The most successful racing franchise of all time (yes, it even beats out Mario Kart by a few million), Need for Speed is EA's answer to high octane action from the comfort of your living room. Need for Speed is comprised of 23 games and allows players to experience what it is like to take part in illegal street racing.
It's a franchise that has been around since 1994 and it's stuck to its formula through the years. Give players access to their dream cars, let them add nitro boosters to it, let them smash those cars into cops. The franchise is known for a wide range of things, including its diverse range of cars, impressively realistic graphics, and amazing soundtracks in all the games.
Copies sold: 170 million (approx.)
Proof that the most popular game franchises don't need flashy graphics or crazy physics! Tetris began in 1984 hailing from Russia, with its Gameboy version selling over 35 million copies. Fast forward to now and the franchise has sold more than 170 million copies.
There's not too much to explain about Tetris, there's no plot, no gimmicks, no flashy graphics really. It's a falling-blocks puzzle game, last as long as you can matching up falling blocks by colour. Despite its seemingly simple premise, Tetris has an immense presence in the world of competitive gaming, holding World Championships every year with thousands of dollars up for grabs.
Copies sold: 176 million (approx.)
Like how Tetris is Russia's best selling gaming franchise, Minecraft is Sweden's. Created by Swedish Markus 'Notch' Persson (now a billionaire), Minecraft is an openworld sandbox-building game that took the world by storm. If the 176 million figure is accurate, it would be the greatest selling single video game of all time.
Again this game has a very simple premise: Break down trees with your bare hands and build whatever you want in a blocky format. There's no set out goal to achieve in Minecraft (though there are some achievements), it's as simple as you being placed into a unique world. With a little Googling though, you'll discover that if you want to be taken seriously in the game, you need to find some diamonds.
07. The Sims
Copies sold: 200 million (approx.)
Where Minecraft allows you to be a benevolent overlord to your legions of caves and wooden huts, The Sims does so with legions of Sims. Described as a "strategic life simulation", The Sims has players control and maintain the lives of their little humans in SimCity.
From family-making to home-building, to spaceship flying, The Sims is an expansive game. These days, the "life simulation" aspect is used loosely across the four games and numerous spin-offs. Players now can have their Sims be vampires, aliens, animals, casino owners, as well as countless other crazy things.
06. Wii series
Copies sold: 202.57 million (approx.)
The Wii series just might have snuck under your radar when you were pre-emptively conceptualising this list in your head. Comprised of seven games, one of which is Wii Sports, one of the greatest selling games of all time, the Wii series was a driving force to the Nintendo Wii's success.
With Wii Sports selling more than 80 million copies, more than 80% of all Wii owners had this game on their self. The series was a collection of family-focused party games, often operating as a sports game. Wii Sports and Wii Fit in particular showed the world that gaming could introduce some element of activity and fitness into their life, even if it meant waving a plastic rod at your TV.
Copies sold: 260 million (approx.)
FIFA is a series of football simulation games coming out every year since late 1993/early 1994. The games allow players to control real-life football players and teams and take part in competitions and championships. The series, created by E.A. is often hailed as having the most slick and realistic physics of any football simulation game.
The FIFA series shines as it is actually partnered with FIFA. With each new game comes new players and teams, faithfully sticking to the real-life football landscape of that year. In recent games, the ability to play in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup were added.
04. Grand Theft Auto
Copies sold: 280 million (approx.)
Comprised of more than 10 games and five major titles, Grand Theft Auto stands as the most popular open world action-adventure franchise in the world. The franchise started out in 1997 as little more than a game where you steal and drive around cars. Fast forward to present day and the modern games allow you to carry out a wide variety of illegal activities.
Grand Theft Auto V, the most recent title, is one of the best selling games of all time, having sold more than 110 million copies and generating profit figures of around U.S. $6 billion. The game took the series in a new direction, giving players three different characters to use in an interconnected storyline. The game has stayed relevant in part to the continuous updates given to Grand Theft Auto Online.
03. Call of Duty
Copies sold: 288 million (approx.)
To the dismay of mums everywhere, Grand Theft Auto isn't the only highly popular game focused around shooting and violence. Call of Duty began in 2003 and is now the largest first-person shooter franchise in the world. There are more than 16 games in the main series, starting out as a WW2 shooting game, its now had games set in modern day and even outer space.
The franchise has numerous story arcs, from the Black Ops set of games, to Modern Warfare, to WW2. The games allow players to act as soldiers, using high-tech weapons and strategy to take down everyone from the bad guys, to other online players, to zombies. The games constantly introduce new mechanics and tools for players to get excited about, more recently the franchise has introduced the immensely popular battle royale format into its games.
Copies sold: 340 million (approx.)
Though Pokémon does a load of different things, from playing cards, to films and TV, to merchandise, it has always had a major footing in gaming also. Starting in 1996 with Red and Blue for the Game Boy, the Pokémon gaming series is a collection of Pokémon-themed RPGs that allows players to catch and train numerous Pokémon in the goal of becoming a master trainer.
With each new Pokémon video game era comes a new generation of Pokémon introduced and more evolutions to chase after. The Pokémon series has always managed to stay fresh with the new characters it creates, as well as evolutions and major improvements to graphics and mechanics over the years. The games digitalise the mechanics of the popular trading card game.
Copies sold: 601.17 million (approx.)
It shouldn't come as any surprise that our favourite princess-chasing plumber tops this list. The Mario franchise began all the way back in 1981 as an arcade game called Donkey Kong. It wasn't till 1983 that Mario got his name and his own game, Mario Bros.
Mario is a franchise made up of a lot of different gaming styles. You've got Super Mario which is your familiar platforming style games, Mario Kart which is racing, Mario Party which tears families apart, Mario Sports and even Mario RPGs. Mario has been seen in both 2D and 3D games over the years and has always introduced new mechanics into its games while still being unmistakably Mario.