What are the all-time best-selling video game franchises? We’re living in a golden age of video games, with established franchises with decades of history and more options than ever for diving into big, multi-game classics. After all, this is why we love old-school video games. I’m not going to waste time beating around the bush. I’m going to get straight into the thick of things, so here goes!
- Pokemon – Pokémon is the most successful video game franchise, with approximately $90 billion in revenue. It is not only the most successful video game franchise but also the most successful media franchise in general. It should be noted, however, that video games only account for a minor fraction of their earnings; the series earns significantly more through merchandising. Mobile game sales brought in $3.36 billion, while console and handheld game sales brought in $13.78 billion.
- The Legend of Zelda – This fantasy action-adventure series was conceived by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. However, the games have been produced by various companies since 2015, including Capcom, Grezzo, and Nintendo EPD. Set in the fictitious Kingdom of Hyrule, players take control of a Hylian named Link and must locate all of the Triforce parts to defeat the evil Ganon and save Princess Zelda. Perhaps no other video game franchise is as beloved by fans and critics as The Legend of Zelda. The fifth game in the series, The Ocarina of Time, has the highest Metacritic rating of any video game, with a score of 99, which borders on extravagant.
- Star Wars – With this franchise, the force is really strong. Star Wars is best known as a series of space-themed adventure films that debuted in the late 1970s. On the other hand, this sci-fi classic comes with various video game material. Beginning with arcade cabinets, Star Wars games have developed across multiple consoles, platforms, and systems, spanning a broad spectrum of genres over the years. Star Wars RPGs, MMOs, racing games, and other games are available. The Star Wars franchise has made approximately $70 billion in sales, with games accounting for $6 billion.
- Super Mario Bros. – The Super Mario franchise has been active for 35 years and is the critical series of the enormous Mario franchise. With an average critic score of 88.2 percent, it’s no wonder that this popular platforming game franchise ranks on our list. In addition, every major Nintendo video game console has received at least one Super Mario game over the years. Players have thus always been able to follow Mario’s exploits as he seeks to save Princess Peach from Bowser in the Mushroom Kingdom, regardless of the console generation.
- Mortal Combat – Mortal Kombat pioneered split-screen gameplay. This game, which is simply one-on-one fighting, has become one of the most well-known video game series. This game’s appeal stems from a simple combination of unforgettable characters, unique moves, and breathtaking scenery. Mortal Kombat began as an arcade game 23 years ago and has since expanded into several video games, series, and even a recent but underwhelming film. However, its finishing maneuvers and the iconic line “finish him” are easily recognized by non-gamers, and it deserves to be on our list.
- Final Fantasy – While very few Final Fantasy games use the same characters or take place in the same environment, this does not diminish the franchise. Instead, what unites all of these games is their systematic philosophical approach both inside and outside of the game: grandiose narrative themes of power, corruption, injustice, and the impact of technology on the natural world, as well as an always-innovative approach to party-based battle systems that set the standard for all JRPGs that followed and helped Final Fantasy become one of the best video game franchises.