The video game industry revenue is at an all-time high, particularly with Americans staying in doors in record numbers and seeking entertainment inside the home. Consumers are spending more in game purchases and features within those games more than ever before.
While some top sellers are obvious due to popularity, no one genre encompasses the top ten in video game franchises and competition to be your favorite game produce fierce marketing and creativity to say the least.
Of course, there are always new games hitting the market, but the real money lies with those that have stood the test of time; generations of video game enthusiasts know the characters, keep up with new additions and upgrades and expect the quality they’ve seen for decades.
LEGO: $100 Million
LEGO marketers sealed a genius deal when they began creating LEGO licensed characters. In 1995, the company launched with Lego Fun to Build and over the years, have added the likes of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Disney and other popular brands. According to Goliath, LEGO has released a whopping 67 games since their first release. What may seem like a “kids game” from the get-go will surprise those that try it out due to the complexity and wide range of challenging sequences and game play.
FIFA: $100 Million
A part of the EA franchise, FIFA, the virtual soccer game has risen to the top of the sports video game industry with yearly installments and provides opportunities for fans to get on the soccer field with their favorite teams. As one of the most popular sports world-wide, it’s not surprising the game’s popularity would follow suit. FIFA 20 released in fall of 2020, selling millions of units in the first week.
Tetris: $140 Million
Hard to believe Tetris would make the list, but the simple game of connecting geometrical shapes is addictive. Fans go back and forth, playing the game for hours on end to taking a break for weeks or months, just to find themselves back at it again. One of the first games ever to hit the market in 1984, according to The Gamer, the need to align falling puzzle pieces in the fastest way possible, still grips player into an obsessive loop. Their bestselling feature – players can use almost any system to get their favorite game on their personal console and is the highest selling digital download game of all time.
Need For Speed: $150 Million
Racing games have long-since been on the popular video games list, but EA’s version is the highest grossing racing franchise game of all time. There are more than 25 games in the series, but 2012’s version is most popular. You know the drill; get behind the wheel and race others for title of fastest across the finish line. Gamers can choose to race on the street or on the track with a variety of scenery. Choose the vehicle you plan to drive and have fun with friends, placing in race after race throughout the series.
Wii Series: $203 Million
The Wii is a gaming console, but a series of games as well. As Nintendo’s highest selling game of all time, 2006 brought families together as they danced, bowled and enjoyed friendly competition on the tennis court. Not only does the unique gaming system get participants on their feet and exercising, but the motion sensors in the hand-held control also creates a real-life experience from the comfort of your living room.
Grand Theft Auto: $220 Million
The action-packed game developed by Rockstar North has established its popularity, officially launching in 1997. Set in a fictional city, based on familiar sites in the U.S. and following a storyline, players can complete missions, participate in driving, shooting, and other activities. The eagerly awaited Grand Theft Auto 6 has allowed rumors to fly in anticipation of a release date. Though it appears COVID-19 has slowed the process, Rockstar has confirmed the newest installment is under development and won’t disappoint.
Call Of Duty: $250 Million
In 2003, the first-person shooter franchise took over the market and caused an uproar from those concerned with gaming industry realism and influence. However, the numbers speak for themselves, as Call of Duty has risen to fourth highest grossing series of all time. Developer, Activision has placed the game setting in World War II, the Cold War, outer space and futuristic worlds. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released over the holiday season in 2020, with another installment on the horizon for late 2021.
Pokémon: $295 Million
Even if you’re not a video game fan, chances are, you’ve seen the Pokémon mascot, Pikachu. The little yellow creature featured in the 1996 Pokémon Red & Blue soared to the top of the popularity chart with video games, but in recent years, merchandise has brought in a substantial revenue for the Japanese developer, Game Freak Co. Today, movies, retail, television and more have added to the gaming industry in a new way. According to TitleMax, Pokémon is not only a huge video game franchise, but the highest grossing media franchise in general.
Sonic The Hedgehog: $350 Million
Sega’s competitor to Nintendo’s Mario, released in 1991 follows a blue blur through worlds plagued with the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. Though video game popularity may have waned, new popularity grew as Sonic was featured in a 2020 film with the same name.
Mario: $577 Million
No surprise here – the mega sales produced by a franchise of an Italian plumber and his brother Luigi can’t be matched. We first see Shigeru Miyamoto’s Mario in 1981 with Donkey Kong and the flagship character for Nintendo not only created an icon for the company, but the gaming industry as a whole.
Mario shows up in a variety of games, including Mario Kart, Mario & Luigi, Paper Mario and more. While those of us from the 80’s might prefer Super Mario Bros.; saving Princess Peach in the castle, younger generations have followed the popular character through racetracks, tennis courts and many other situations.