18 Best-Selling Video Games of All Time

As both an avid gamer and gaming journalist, I’ve had the pleasure of playing through many of the top-selling video game titles over the years. From old-school arcade games that swallowed my hard-earned quarters to modern triple-A masterpieces that provide hundreds of hours of entertainment. Video games have come a long way since the early days. 

In this post, I’ll be counting down the 18 Best-selling Video Games ever based on certified units sold. For franchises with multiple Entries, I’ve chosen the highest-selling individual title. These are the games that defined genres, influenced generations of gamers, and set new bars for interactive entertainment. 
Don’t stare at me that way. I know what I know and don’t want to let it go unused. Take a share of that knowledge and experience so that nothing goes to waste.

#1. Tetris

What started as little more than a college project in Soviet Russia grew into the world’s most popular video game by a landslide margin.

You already know how Tetris works: geometric shapes called Tetriminos drop from the top of the screen which you must strategically rotate and move side-to-side, bottom-to-top to form complete rows that disappear. It’s puzzle perfection, easy to pick up and infinitely deep to master. Approachable complexity at its finest.  

Available on every device with a screen for over 30 years and counting, Tetris appeals to all ages with a timeless design that never gets old. With an undisputed 500 million+ lifetime sales and counting, Tetris remains the quintessential video game that everyone and their grandmother has played at some point. Simply put, nothing stacks up to Tetris as the Number 1 Game.

  • Release Year: 1984
  • Playable On: Available on more than 65 platforms
  • Best Platform: The Game Boy version
  • Sales Record: Over 520 million copies sold as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Simplicity and depth, global appeal and puzzle perfection
  • Why It’s Special: It was super easy and quick for me to pick up
  • Must-Try Feature: Hold Queue
  • IGN Score: 9

#2. Minecraft

If only we all mined diamonds and built empires as easily in real life as the globe’s children do in Mojang’s masterful open-world crafting game Minecraft. Envision your dream structure or world, gather cubes of every material needed, and watch your imagination become reality one block at a time.

Then do it all again tomorrow. And the next day. That beauty powered Minecraft to become one of the best-selling video games ever at 200 million copies sold as of 2020.  

The game’s simplicity empowers freedom. Creative types architect fortresses reaching sky high or even functioning computers inside Minecraft. Survival players constantly unearth new dangers that make every play session unpredictable. With support spanning phones to consoles to PCs allowing crossplay, Minecraft encourages community, creativity, and collaboration better than any platform before it. 

  • Release Year: 2009
  • Playable On: Available on numerous platforms comprising mobile devices, PCs, and consoles
  • Best Platform: The PC version
  • Sales Record: Over 300 million copies sold as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Creativity and adventure freedom
  • Why It’s Special: It allows me to showcase my inventiveness in a one-of-a-kind way a few or no other games do
  • Must-Try Feature: The “Survival Mode”
  • IGN Score: 9.1

#3. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar’s open-world crime epic remains the highest-grossing media title ever created eight years from launch — and for good reason.

GTA V raised the sandbox genre bar to astronomical levels with its sprawling, hyper-detailed Los Santos City, 3 colourful protagonists conveying a layered portrayal of the criminal lifestyle, and revolutionary gameplay diversity from heists to yoga sessions alongside Hollywood-quality writing and acting.  

The sheer amount of activities packed into Los Santos feels borderline overwhelming (in the best way). GTA Online then doubled down on insane content updates over nearly a decade, corralling millions of eager fans. At this point, GTA V feels more as though it’s become a living, evolving phenomenon than just a single video game release.

The first time I came across the game was around when it was newly released. My first memory of the game was shortly after its release. While visiting friends, I noticed them playing, and I was curious about the hype until I decided to give it a try myself.

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Playable On: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows, and PlayStation 5
  • Best Platform: The PC version
  • Sales Record: Over 190 million copies sold as of November 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Open-world gameplay
  • Why It’s Special: I love the immersive storyline and the freedom to engage in various activities. What tops my list is the vast world; I find myself constantly checking the map to avoid getting lost!
  • Must-Try Feature: The “Heists” missions
  • IGN Score: 10

#4. Wii Sports

Packaged with the Nintendo Wii console, Wii Sports made motion controls a sensation through its collection of motion-controlled sports games anyone could instantly pick up and play.

With super simple gameplay and intuitive motion capturing of player movements as swing, throws, and more, Wii Sports bowling, tennis, golf, and baseball brought gamers of all ages off the couch and onto their feet swinging Wii remotes right in their living room.

It kick-started a fitness video game change while also demonstrating the Wii’s game-changing motion functionality. Well, over 80 million gamers got a copy of the game, flicking virtual wrists and swinging virtual bats after firing up their Wiis for the first time. The legacy of Wii Sports is long-lasting. It is still a party and family favorite.

  • Release Year: 2006
  • Playable On: Nintendo Wii
  • Best Platform: 😏, you already know
  • Sales Record: Over 82.9 million copies sold globally as of September 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): The game’s collection of five sports simulations and the accessibility
  • Why It’s Special: The remarkable motion-sensing capabilities, intuitive controls and engaging gameplay drive me crazy
  • Must-Try Feature: The boxing game
  • IGN Score: 8.4

#5. PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds)  

Make no mistake: PUBG spearheaded the Battle Royale revolution that bled into every major shooter franchise thereafter. The concept and design was by Brendan Greene, aka PlayerUnknown. PUBG’s formula involved 100 players skydiving onto an island, scavenging for weapons in abandoned buildings, and fighting to the last man standing. It was a fresh, competitive multiplayer concept that took the world by storm in 2017. 

Within 8 months of launch, PUBG hosted 3 million concurrent players on Steam and boasts more than 80 million total sales today. Practically overnight. While casualties of the Battle Royale craze arrived as fast as they went (*cough* Blackout), PUBG remains the gritty, realistic BR trendsetter.  

  • Release Year: 2017
  • Playable On: Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5.
  • Best Platform: The PC version
  • Sales Record: Over 80 million copies sold as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): The intense survival setting of the game
  • Why It’s Special: PUBG stands out as one of the pioneers in the battle royale genre. What I find most appealing is its distinct emphasis on expansive zones and a realistic simulation
  • Must-Try Feature: The “Camp Jackal”
  • IGN Score: 9.5

#6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Arcade kart racing reached mass market dominance with Mario Kart, which blasted onto home consoles in iconic fashion back on the SNES. Since then, Mario Kart has thrived as a party racing perfection that anyone from novice gamers to advanced drivers can enjoy.

Mario Kart 8 stands as the current pinnacle, bursting at the seams with creative tracks, thrill-a-minute gravity-defying sections, and what might be Nintendo’s most polished gameplay to date.

Toss in a gravity-flipping anti-gravity mechanic that reinvents track layout experimentation, and Mario Kart 8 gives a dynamic adrenaline rush built for repeat plays years after release. The nearly 60 million racers that got a copy of the game to this day clearly agree that MK8 remains unmatched kart racing bliss. Long live the king!

  • Release Year: 2017
  • Playable On: Nintendo Switch
  • Best Platform: Do share your wisdom — where else should it aim to be the very best?
  • Sales Record: Over 57.1 million copies sold worldwide as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Lots of characters and vehicles and the freedom to race and battle in a multitude of ways
  • Why It’s Special: I find Mario Kart 8 Deluxe particularly special because it incorporates every single best feature from the original Mario Kart games
  • Must-Try Feature: The improved “Battle Mode”
  • IGN Score: 9.3

#7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

RPG fans adore getting lost in fantastical worlds, so what better game to suck one’s life away in than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Set in Tamriel’s snow-capped Skyrim province, Elder Scrolls dropped players into a medieval world packed with lore to uncover, guilds to join, monsters that can shout language-bending shouts...and yes, plenty of cheese wheels and sweet rolls to loot.

Skyrim struck a chord in 2011 that still resonates today as gamers continue adventuring through the Northern wilds a decade later, with more than 50 million copies sold. Placing Skyrim everywhere from phones to Amazon Alexas, and it’s safe to call Elder Scrolls the RPG that even non-RPG fans adore.

  • Release Year: 2011
  • Playable On: Windows, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, macOS
  • Best Platform: The PC version for the modding community and additional features
  • Sales Record: Over 60 million copies sold around the world as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Freedom to create personal adventures
  • Why It’s Special: Its captivating world, along with its significant impact on the RPG genre, makes it a truly exceptional title in my gaming experience
  • Must-Try Feature: Melee combat
  • IGN Score: 9.5

#8. Super Mario Bros

This list simply wouldn’t feel complete without the side-scrolling platformer that launched Mario into gaming royalty. After starring in Donkey Kong, the titular plumber got his own franchise which started with the arcade classic Super Mario Bros. It essentially challenged players to sprint through obstacles-filled levels and stomp goombas along the way to rescue Princess Peach.

Despite primitive NES-era graphics, Super Mario Bros’s legendary status cannot be understated as the title that kickstarted Nintendo’s mascot into pop culture stardom over 30 years ago. With over 40 million sales and counting when factoring in bundled re-releases, Mario’s first solo adventure remains one of the best-selling games ever. Talk about leaving your mark.

  • Release Year: 1985
  • Playable On: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console (Nintendo Wii, Wii U, 3DS)
  • Sales Record: Over 40.24 million units sold as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): It establishes the benchmark for the platform game genre. The joyous gameplay and the clever design, especially the first level (World 1-1), act as a tutorial for anyone going into platform gaming
  • Why It’s Special: It’s its innovative gameplay and memorable music for me
  • Must-Try Feature: The Super Mushroom Power-Up
  • IGN Score: 9

#9. Red Dead Redemption 2

It seemed impossible to follow up on Red Dead Redemption. Then Rockstar Games stepped up to the plate and spent 8 years polishing Red Dead Redemption 2 until it shone brighter than the midday sun in Armadillo. And with about 60 million total franchise sales to show for it, Red Dead Redemption went from a cult classic to an absolute monster multimedia juggernaut.

RDR2 elevated the open-world genre to new heights as a cowboy simulator with insane attention to detail paired with Rockstar’s trademark sandbox gameplay and epic storytelling. Unsurprisingly, the end result was a critical/commercial smash hit that stands tall as one of gaming’s most richly crafted worlds. Saddle up, you — Red Dead Redemption is here to stay as a modern icon.

  • Release Year: 2018
  • Playable On: PlayStation, Xbox One, Windows, Stadia
  • Best Platform: The Windows PC version
  • Sales Record: More than 57 million copies sold globally as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Red Dead Redemption 2 takes you on an action-packed adventure in a vast open world
  • Why It’s Special: I’m consistently drawn in by its fantastic story and the significant mark it’s left on the RPG genre
  • Must-Try Feature: Use magic
  • IGN Score: 10

#10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

There were already two stellar Witcher games before it, but CD Projekt Red’s open-world fantasy epic The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt marked the series’ ascent to steep AAA respect. A rich story faithful to Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, unforgettable quests with gut-wrenching decisions, genuinely scary mythical beasts to slay, and some of gaming’s most gorgeous vistas all set The Witcher 3 leagues beyond typical open world fare.  

Paired with 2 meaty story expansions that could double as standalone games themselves, The Witcher 3 is a modern RPG done right that continues to be held up as an open-world masterclass. Millions of sales later, we’re chomping at the bit to return to the dark fantasy space through the recently announced next-gen upgrade. 

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Playable On: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.
  • Best Platform: The PC edition, especially when it comes to supporting ray-tracing at 60 FPS, stands out
  • Sales Record: The game has sold over 50 million copies worldwide as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Side quests, main quests, alchemy, Gwent, and various other features
  • Why It’s Special: Interesting characters and an original-feeling open world
  • Must-Try Feature: The “In the Eternal Fire’s Shadow” side quest
  • IGN Score: -

#11. Overwatch

Proving that new IPs can still make a splash in today’s period of sequels and remakes, Overwatch stormed onto the scene in 2016 as the fastest-growing game ever at the time. Blizzard’s genius was taking the hero shooter, a genre historically confined to the PC space, and making it accessible to any gamer on any platform.  

Each hero played vastly differently with their own skills and abilities to suit individual playstyles. Combined with colorful visuals, charm oozing from every corner, and a friendly community built around inclusion, Overwatch built a wholesome fanbase that still logs countless hours year after year, with more than 20 million copies sold and counting.

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Playable On: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (in 2019)
  • Best Platform: PS4
  • Sales Record: 50 million copies sold as of 2022. Over 24 million active players as of January 2024
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Unique characters and neverending eSports support
  • Why It’s Special: Thoughtfully designed characters and an extensive backstory
  • Must-Try Feature: Hero Mastery courses
  • IGN Score: 8

#12. Pac-Man

When imagining gaming in the 80s, Pac-Man emerges as THE image representing the early arcade days. From its distinctive waka-waka sound effect to the iconic ghost enemies, Pac-Man was a trailblazing game in terms of popularity upon release. It was the first title based around eating — having Pac-Man navigate mazes gobbling up pellets while avoiding colorful ghosts. 

The simplistic concept resonated with millions of gamers during Pac-Man’s heyday who happily funneled quarters into arcade machines. It became a worldwide phenomenon that inspired sequels, merchandise, pop songs, and even a TV series. Pac-Man will forever remain a symbol of gaming’s earliest days. Waka waka indeed.

  • Release Year: 1980
  • Playable On: Available on more than 20 platforms including Arcade, Atari 2600, NES, Xbox 360, PS4, Android and iOS
  • Best Platform: Arcade
  • Sales Record: Nearly 48 million have been sold across all platforms. In 1990, sales hit US$3.5 billion!
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): One of the pioneers of non-violent arcade gameplay.
  • Why It’s Special: It achieved broad acclaim both critically and commercially. The success even spawned numerous sequels, merchandise, and two television series
  • Must-Try Feature: Consume sizable, glowing dots known as “Power Pellets”
  • IGN Score: 7.6 (Original Pac-Man)

#13. Terraria

Usually, when a game is branded the 2D version of Minecraft, it’s seen as an insult. Yet Terraria managed to flip that notion on its head by offering an immensely deep, RPG-inspired sandbox in its own universe. It may use retro pixel art instead of blocks, but with lavish fantasy biomes to explore, hundreds of weapons and magic spells to master, as well as thousands of craftable accessories for your avatar, Terraria firmly stands on its own two feet.

Constant free updates over a decade with lots of dev communication helped earn this diamond in the rough, over 10 million devoted fans. If you wrote Terraria off as just a 2D Minecraft clone, do yourself a favor and give this bonafide classic a go. 

  • Release Year: 2011
  • Playable On: Can be played on more than 15 platforms, including Windows, Nintendo Switch and Android
  • Best Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Sales Record: Sales of more than 44.5 million copies have been made as of 2022
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Gives the opportunity to build on a gradually generated 2D world
  • Why It’s Special: In-dept progression system and many gameplay elements
  • Must-Try Feature: Dig to unearth the underground layers
  • IGN Score: 8.6

#14. Pokémon

No video game list would be complete without Pokémon. Beginning on the Game Boy with Pokémon Red/Blue, the monster-catching RPG sparked a worldwide craze that endured over 25 years later. Its simple rock/paper/scissors battle system, cute creature designs, and compelling loop of collecting, training, and battling Pokémon ingrained the series into pop culture forever. 

With hardly any signs of slowing down courtesy of 13 mainline entries, countless spinoffs, mountains of merch, and new fans born every year, Pokémon sits comfortably as one of the highest-selling franchises ever at over 10 million lifetime games sold. Not even Ash Ketchum has caught them all yet. Gotta buy 'em all!

  • Release Year: 1996
  • Playable On: Game Boy, Nintendo Switch
  • Best Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Sales Record: A massively popular video game globally, having sold 31.38 million units as of 2022.
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): The concept of “catching” and training several creatures
  • Why It’s Special: The unique concept, the ability to build my own team, and the strategic elements in battles
  • IGN Score: 7.6 (Pokémon Scarlet and Violet)

#15. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

For a series as revered as The Legend of Zelda, it’s remarkable that it took over 30 years for an open-world entry. Yet Breath of the Wild made the wait worthwhile by completely revamping the Zelda formula to overwhelming critical and commercial success.

Nintendo knocked it out of the park, with Breath of the Wild garnering acclaim as one of the greatest and most ambitious open-world games ever made. Offering unparalleled freedom, a sprawling Hyrule to explore, and that signature Nintendo charm made BotW an instant classic with nearly 32 million copies sold.

  • Release Year: 2017
  • Playable On: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
  • Best Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Sales Record: As of 2023, the game had been purchased by over 31.15 million players globally
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): A vast open-world design that lets players freely explore the expansive landscape of Hyrule in whatever way they prefer
  • Why It’s Special: The great sense of adventure and mystery
  • Must-Try Feature: The Old Man’s paraglider
  • IGN Score: 10

#16. League of Legends

For better or worse, League of Legends (LoL) has dominated the MOBA genre since blowing up in the early 2010s. While DotA fans may disagree, LoL improved the DotA formula by making the gameplay more accessible to casual fans. 

With an ever-growing roster of unique champions, seasonal updates that keep each year feeling fresh, and the eSports scene that sees world-class players battle it out in a virtual field, it’s no wonder LoL has amassed more than 100 million dedicated players. Developer Riot Games struck gold here and continues to reap the rewards over a decade later.

  • Release Year: 2009
  • Playable On: Windows, macOS
  • Best Platform: Windows PC
  • Sales Record: The game boasted of 180 million monthly active users as of 2023
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Introduced a free-to-play model using in-game cosmetics (skins)
  • Why It’s Special: Remarkable complexity, quick progress and epic-looking skins.
  • Must-Try Feature: ARAM 5v5 Howling Abyss
  • IGN Score: 9.2

#17. Inside

From indie developer PlayDead, Inside is a masterclass in minimalist yet impactful storytelling. It took inspiration from games such as Limbo and filmmakers such as Hitchcock. Inside managed to spawn meme after meme thanks to its shocking, bizarre moments.

At just 3–4 hours long, Inside makes the most of its runtime by constantly throwing new scenarios and challenges your way. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, well...let’s just say the ending left jaws on the floor. This critical darling managed to move an impressive 1 million units, going to show that polish and originality count.

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Playable On: Xbox One, Windows, PlayStation 4, iOS, Nintendo Switch, and macOS3
  • Best Platform: Xbox One
  • Sales Record: The game has surpassed 1 million units in sales and has generated approximately US$4.5 million since its launch
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): Moody style of art and ambient music
  • Why It’s Special: A breathtaking visual experience, combining puzzle-platforming mechanics with immersive storytelling in a way I’ve never seen before
  • Must-Try Feature: Water sections
  • IGN Score: 8.5

#18. The Sims 3

Look, I’ll just come right out and say it: I have lost entire months of my life to The Sims. More specifically, The Sims 3. The franchise has sucked away countless hours since the first game launched back in 2000, but the third entry catapulted the series to obsession-worthy status.

What made The Sims 3 so dangerously addicting? For starters, the open neighborhood design meant no more lifeless load screens interrupting my virtual life between locations. I could walk my Sim down the street to visit friends or hit up shops without disruption.

Combine seamless navigation with more customization tools than ever to craft my ideal homestead, along with expansion packs that let me achieve everything from building legendary mansions to dabbling as a supernatural creature or rising celeb, and The Sims 3 literally let me live out ANY fanciful alternate life imaginable!

So, while my actual life collected dust, I binged on Sims 3 content as if it was Netflix to control virtual people, drama, and all. Before I knew it, days...weeks flew by, building mansions, brewing elixirs, or slaying zombies. Oops? I blame the ridiculously addictive formula that helped The Sims 3 sell an eye-popping 10 million copies, and obviously, I wasn’t alone in getting hooked on unparalleled escapism in SimCity.

  • Release Year: 2009 (The Sims 3)
  • Playable On: Windows, Mac OS X, Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, N-Gage 2.0, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS2
  • Best Platform: The Steam version
  • Sales Record: An incredible 1.4 million copies were sold in its initial week, and it has gone on to surpass the ten million mark in global sales since its release in 2009. It’s truly exceptional
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): A cool open-world concept and the Create-a-Style tool
  • Why It’s Special: I can move around the neighborhood with interruptions. It feels so natural
  • Must-Try Feature: The Ultimate Careers mod
  • IGN Score: 8.1


And those are the 18 best-selling video games EVER.

Now, will this list remain frozen in time forever? Of course not! Game sales fluctuate all the time as new smash hits get gobbled up by millions annually. But every single entry above left an undeniable footprint on the gaming landscape.

Whether pioneering new genres through revolutionary mechanics, capitalizing on the latest hot trends, or winning hearts via good old-fashioned mass appeal fun, these 18 masterpieces earned their spots. But only time will tell how long these specific games remain top dogs as the battle continues. Will we see an odd indie game sneak in soon? What if VR breakthroughs spawn a new phenomenon? One thing’s certain: records are made to be broken.

James Simons

Written by James Simons

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