There are video games, and then there are video game franchises. In an industry as tumultuous as gaming, it takes a special breed of game to experience such a degree of success. Plenty of games get sequels but far fewer go on to become successful franchises.
These 10 are the cream of the crop. The best of the best. In fact, every entry on this list has sold over 100 million copies. So, what’s 100 million times the average cost of a game? (Let’s just say it’s 50 dollars). For those who aren’t good at fuzzy math, that’s about five trillion dollars, or $5,000,000,000.
So, if you’re a game developer and you want to get your game franchise onto a list like this in the future, all you have to do is sell five trillion dollars worth of your game (or roughly 100 million copies) and you’re in! With that said, let’s take a look at the 10 game franchises that have made enough money for Scrooge McDuck to swim in.
10. Final Fantasy
Just for perspective’s sake, think about how popular and long-running the Final Fantasy franchise is and then realize that it’s at the bottom of this list.
The legendary fantasy-RPG series has undergone numerous facelifts and experiments in years past and, like any franchise, not all of these experiments bore fruit. Still, Final Fantasy‘s legacy is revered and the series as a whole has managed to thrive for decades with 14 games in the main series and numerous spin-offs, selling a grand total of 110 million copies.
Best selling game: Final Fantasy VII, 10 million copies sold
Tetris will always be the ultimate family game. By “family game”, I don’t just mean a game you can enjoy with your family, but a game that anyone in your family can pick up and play immediately.
Tetris was far more than just a way to distract children into silence. Going over to your buddy’s house on a Saturday, you could easily see his mom sitting in her recliner playing the game or your uncle playing a few rounds while smoking a stogie.
It was the perfect game to show your parents when trying to convince them that buying you an NES wasn’t going to rot your brain and turn you into a sociopathic menace to society. That’s backed up by the fact that the Tetris franchise has sold 140 million total copies in its lifetime.
Best selling game: Tetris on the original Gameboy, 34 million copies sold
8. Sonic the Hedgehog
Okay, so Sonic the Hedgehog hasn’t exactly been the most consistent franchise in gaming history. In fact, the Blue Blur has probably had as many bombs as he has had hits. Still, that doesn’t take away from the Sonic franchise’s overall success.
In addition to the critically acclaimed Sega games, Sonic the Hedgehog quickly branched out into cartoons, movies, manga and comic books and in the console wars of the 90’s, there was no better representative for what Sega brought to the table than Sonic.
While it may not ease the sting of Sonic Free Riders, the franchise on the whole has to be considered a success, especially after considering the fact that it has sold more total copies than both the Final Fantasy and Tetris franchises with 150 million.
Best selling game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 6 million copies sold
7. Need for Speed
What’s the first name that comes to mind when you think of racing games? Well, there’s a good chance it’s Mario Kart but more on that later.
When it comes to straight-up Fast and Furious style racing action, you immediately think of Need for Speed. The franchise has been around the block (figuratively and literally) quite a few times and even had its own movie last year. While the Need for Speed movie received extremely mixed reviews, all of that is just icing on the cake for the franchise, which is currently considered the most successful racing game franchise of all time with 150 million total copies sold.
Best selling game: Need for Speed: Most Wanted, 16 million copies sold
6. The Sims
Proving that playing at real life can be just as fun, if not more fun, than actually living real life, The Sims franchise comes in at No. 6 with 175 million total copies sold in its lifetime.
There’s something uniquely fascinating about creating a world entirely your own, building a house from the ground up, taking on the role of your Sim and his/her family and just living vicariously through them.
It’s an addictive series and that sentiment is shared by the millions of plumbobs lighting up worldwide whenever news of a new The Sims 4 expansion is announced.
Best selling game: The Sims 3, 10 million copies sold