Although sales aren’t the only metric relevant to how good a game is, it’s a decent measurement of how influential certain titles have been over time. In this guide, we’re taking a look at the cream of the crop, listing the top 15 bestselling video games of all time.
Some interesting notes before diving in: Each of the titles below were included as part of a console bundle at some point. The closest game not included with a console is Wii Play, which was bundled with a Wii controller. Additionally, only six of the games below are exclusive to one console, five on Wii and one on Nintendo DS. All other games are available on multiple platforms.
15. Diablo III and Reaper of Souls ~ 30 million
Diablo III and its Reaper of Souls expansion topped 30 million sales in August 2015, setting sales records after only three years. Since then, Blizzard has ported the game to Nintendo Switch, though there aren’t any reported figures for sales on that platform. Given the velocity of sales from 2012 to 2015, it’s likely that Diablo III has sold many more copies.
That said, the latest report is that the game has sold more than 30 million copies, though it’s hard to say for sure where it stands now.
Read our full Diablo III review
14. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ~ 30 million
Like Diablo III, it’s tough to say how many copies Skyrim has sold, especially with its countless re-releases and remasters. Todd Howard, director of Bethesda Game Studios, reported the game sold more than 30 million copies in a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone. In the same interview, Howard said the average player spends more than 150 hours in the game.
Unfortunately, the report came out before the VR releases of Skyrim and the Nintendo Switch port (read our best Vive games guide for more on the latter). That’s not to mention the Skyrim Alexa skill.
Read our full Skyrim review
13. New Super Mario Bros. Wii ~ 30.28 million
Beating out Skyrim and Diablo III by a few hundred thousand units, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the first single-platform title on our list. It has sold 30.28 million copies from November 11, 2009, to September 30, 2019, according to Nintendo. Out of the Wii’s lineup, it’s the highest-selling stand-alone game, followed by Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii outsold those other titles because it was bundled with a limited-edition red Wii console, celebrating Nintendo’s 25th anniversary.
12. New Super Mario Bros. ~ 30.8 million
2006’s New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS is the bestselling DS game of all time, clocking in with nearly 31 million sales. It’s the bestselling by a long shot, too, beating out all three Nintendogs titles and Mario Kart DS, each of which sold around 24 million copies.
The first in a series of games that continues to this day, New Super Mario Bros. returned to the side-scrolling 2D platforming of the original titles. Like the other entries on this list, it was bundled with a Nintendo DS, accounting for a decent portion of the sales.
11. Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ~ 31.4 million
By the standards of the bestselling games of all time, Mario Kart 8 didn’t perform well, moving just over 8 million units. Unfortunately, the lack of Wii U sales likely caused the lower than average figures, as the Nintendo Switch port, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, is the bestselling Switch game so far at 22.96 million units.
This is a trend seen with other first-party titles on the Wii U and Switch. For example, New Super Mario Bros. U, originally released on the Wii U, moved 5.79 million sales. The Switch port, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, has already outsold the Wii U version at 5.85 million units, despite releasing nine years later.
Read our full Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review
10. Wii Sports Resort ~ 33.11 million
Wii Sports Resort expanded the popular Wii Sports demo disc included with every Wii console. Nintendo updated the Wii controller in 2009, following tracking issues with the original design. The update came in the form of the Wii MotionPlus accessory, which plugs into the Nunchuck port on the Wii controller.
The high sales volume is a result of Nintendo’s clever bundling of games and accessories, which is something we’ll see with other entries moving forward. Players who wanted the Wii MotionPlus could buy it bundled with Wii Sports Resort at no extra charge, resulting in very high sales.
9. Mario Kart Wii ~ 37.24 million
Another case of a console-bundled, accessory-bundled game, Mario Kart Wii has reached nearly 40 million sales as of September 2019. The base game came with a specially designed wheel that that Wii controller could fit inside. Likewise, Nintendo sold a black Wii bundle, which included the game, a built-in Wii MotionPlus controller, and a special black wheel.
It’s tough to say how many copies of Mario Kart Wii were sold on its own. In addition to a normal Wii bundle and the black Wii bundle, Nintendo also bundled the game with an exclusive red Wii mini. This version, however, didn’t include the wheel seen with the base game.
8. Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus ~ 43.8 million
A stroll down the electronics aisle of any thrift store will show just how popular Wii Fit was. Bundled with the Balance Board accessory, Wii Fit incorporated exercise into a video game, with a variety of yoga positions and strength training exercises. As a family-centered console, Wii Fit was a perfect addition to the family, pushing everyone to get off the couch and exercise.
Wii Fit on its own was no slouch in terms of sales, topping 22 million shipped units. Wii Fit Plus, an enhanced version of the game with additional exercises, followed closely behind at over 21 million sales. Combined together, Wii Fit is the second bestselling game on Wii, beaten only by Wii Sports.
7. Pokemon Gen. 1 ~ 47.52 million
The first-generation Pokémon games — those being Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green — account for more nearly 20% of Pokémon’s 275 million or so sales. Counting the original Japanese releases in the form of Red and Green, as well as the American releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow, the first generation of Pokémon reached nearly 50 million players.
The majority of those sales came from the Game Boy cartridge release (around 46 million). The remaining 1.5 million were sold through the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, with around half the sales coming from American customers.
6. Super Mario Bros. ~ 48.24 million
Super Mario Bros. was released in the early days of home gaming on the NES, and has since been ported to countless other systems. Despite the much smaller market compared to now, the game endured, selling over 40 million copies on the NES. The remaining 8 million sales came from releases on the Wii Virtual Console, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance.
The 48 million only factors in physical and digital sales of the game. As for how many people have played Super Mario Bros., the number is probably far higher. The game launched alongside multiple other NES titles for Nintendo Switch Online in 2018, allowing players on Nintendo’s latest console to go on a nostalgia trip.
5. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ~ 50 million
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the game that popularized the battle royale genre, has amassed over 50 million sales as of 2018. The figure only accounts for PC and Xbox One sales, the latter of which had a console bundle. Since the sales announcement, the game has been released on PS4, so the number is likely higher.
As for the number of players, PUBG’s figures are much higher than 50 million. In the same sales announcement, PUBG Corp. said that the game has a player base of over 400 million. Around 350 million of those players are on mobile devices, where PUBG is available as a free download.
4. Wii Sports ~ 82.88 million
Wii Sports is a bit of a cheat entry. Bundled with every Wii console, the game “sold” as many units as the Wii, even if the players didn’t want a copy. Again continuing Nintendo’s tradition of piggybacking one product’s sales on the back of another, Wii Sports sold more than 80 million units.
Although the Wii itself topped 100 million sales, the last 20 million or so are likely credited to the Wii Mini. When it launched, the Wii Mini didn’t include a pack-in game, though it was later released with a copy of Mario Kart Wii.
3. Grand Theft Auto V ~ 120 million
According to Take-Two’s earnings report in the fourth quarter of 2019, Grand Theft Auto V has sold over 120 million copies worldwide, 20 million of which were sold in 2019. The figure takes into account all sales of the game across console generations.
Surprisingly, Rockstar’s latest Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t far behind. Although sitting at under 30 million in sales, RDR2 just missed an entry on this list, outsold by the second generation Pokémon games by around 500,000.
Read our full Grand Theft Auto V review
2. Minecraft ~ 180 million
Like Tetris, which we’ll get to next, Minecraft sales aren’t clear. The only thing for sure is that the number is high. Between console, mobile, and PC sales, the game has reached nearly 200 million people. Factoring in the free-to-play mobile title, Minecraft has a player base of nearly 500 million.
It gets messy considering the early version of Minecraft, as the game was available to download for free in May 2009 before being slotted to a paid pre-order a few months later. Likewise, Minecraft is one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass, so anyone with a subscription can download and play it for free.
1. Tetris ~ 495 million+
Tracking the sales of Tetris is a bit sticky. The physical game has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 million copies, 35 million of which came from the Game Boy release. Although impressive, that figure isn’t worthy of the first spot on this list. The majority of Tetris’ sales come from the mobile app.
Tetris has over 400 million paid mobile sales, according to a 2014 interview conducted by VentureBeat. We haven’t included free-to-play games in our figures. If we were, games like Fortnite and PUBG would top the list. Although Tetris is available as a free-to-play mobile game, the 425 million sales come from paid downloads.
That was six years ago, too. By every metric imaginable, Tetris is the bestselling game of all time by a long shot.
- The 15 best Nintendo DS games of all time
- Best Nintendo Switch games (April 2020)
- The best multiplayer games on Nintendo Switch (April 2020)
- The best Wii U games of all time
- The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for April 2020