Game Reviews

Best Video Game Franchises: Our Top 10 Best Selling Game Franchises

Photograph of the blog post author, Sam Jones

Sam Jones

24.6.2021

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Some spanning over a decade, video game franchises have become cherished storylines within the gaming community. From Pac-Man to Halo, there is no shortage of long-running fan favorites that have enticed countless fans. Deciding on the best video game franchise is challenging with so many distinctive competitors, but we had a go at it anyway! 

best video game franchises

In this article, we will discuss some of the best-selling video game franchises and the impacts they have had on the gaming community. We will look at everything from family-friendly games to terrifying horrors.

With the past two decades producing popular game franchises non stop we could discuss them all equally.

To narrow them down, we have looked more closely at best selling games that simultaneously have huge fan bases. This is to help us decide on our top 10 best selling video game franchises. 

The Best Video Game Franchises Of All Time

Now it’s time to get into it! Here is our top 10 video game franchises of all time.

Be sure to stay until the very end to see our top pick!

10. Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros

To start our list of best selling video games franchises we bring the legendary Super Smash Bros. Now, this really is a fan favourite with dedicated players worldwide.

Even the non-gaming community loves Super Smash Bros. This is thanks to its loveable characters and broad storyline. 

Masahiro Sakuri created a simple, but effective masterpiece. Characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, and Kirby made the game memorable, setting the franchise up for what it has become today.

Consisting of simple move combos and split-screen gameplay, smash bros is relatively simple and don’t require experienced gaming skills. Most people play this game as a multiplayer; it is less of a stay up alone to the early hours of the morning type of game. 

9. The Sims 

The Sims best game franchises

The Sims is undoubtedly a highly regarded game for millions of people. Despite being most popular among less conventional gamers, The Sims has become one of the best selling video game franchises since its first release in 2000. 

A life simulation itself, Sims allows you to create a whole life-like world of your own. Whether you’re opening a nightclub or starting a family, you can just about do it all in Sims. Additionally, the ability to create your desired world has attracted many Sims fans.

Selling 175 million units of the game firmly plants The Sims on this list. 

8. Resident Evil

Resident Evil game franchises

A very different game from those we have previously discussed that has inspired the iconic horror film franchise Resident Evil. Resident Evil is already a much-loved story of many with a rather unusual take on horror and apocalyptic worlds. 

From terrifying mutants to the umbrella corp, the Resident Evil game franchise has developed into an extensive and deep story. 

First developed in 1996, the first release is credited for defining the survival horror genre and returning zombies to popular culture! That’s already enough to make it one of the best video game franchises of all time.

Combined with the films, resident evil is the highest-grossing horror and zombie genre in history. 

7. Legend Of Zelda 

Legend Of Zelda best game franchises

Created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, the Legend of Zelda is a high fantasy game series. It has produced 19 main story games, 9 remakes, and 17 spin-offs. Following the adventures of Link, an elf-like character as he attempts to save the magical land of Hyrule from the demon king Ganon. 

Shigeru Miyamoto’s childhood memories of living in secluded Sonobe, Japan, inspired the game and its scenery. He wanted to create a ‘miniature garden’ for all to play in throughout every release. 

Additionally, despite slight variations in different additions, the Zelda franchise maintains the same feel and experience no matter what game you play. This is hard to find in other franchises. 

6.Call Of Duty

Call of Duty

Call of Duty has become a prominent game within modern culture. Now more appealing to the online gaming community, many hours have been spent playing this live-action shooter.

From its original 2003 Call of Duty to last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. 17 main games have been released in its 18-year reign. 

The franchise has racked up an estimated net worth of $9.7 billion. There is no doubt of Call of Duty’s claim on game supremacy. Being the most popular, Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 30.99 million units. This makes it one of the most successful game titles in history! 

5. Warcraft 

Warcraft gameplay best game franchises

Warcraft is aimed more at a specific fantasy-loving audience. With seemingly endless storylines, Warcraft has gained some of the strongest and most loyal gamers out of any game ever released. Specifically talking about the World of Warcraft editions of the franchise, Warcraft wrote the book on RPG games. 

With the ability in the main games to create your own character as you desire and develop them in the Warcraft world how you see fit, this role play game has inspired the game world and will do so for years to come. 

Singularly, World of Warcraft has generated a revenue of $9.23 billion excluding any other games from the franchise. Some players dedicate nearly their whole lives to the World of Warcraft games with the chance of becoming a legendary player.

Within or outside of the gaming world, little stories have gained a dedicated fan base as this has. 

4. Pokémon

Pokémon game franchise cards

You will struggle to find more of a recognisable character than pika-chu. This iconic card game, video game, TV, and film franchise is known by most people. Even if you’ve never played a game, seen a film, or watched a series, you’re more likely than not to know what pokémon is.

From its original game release in 1996 for Pocket Monsters: Red and Blue, Pokémon has developed into a long list of video games and of course, the infamous card game. 

Many of us have fulfilled our fantasy of becoming Pokémon trainers, catching exotic Pokémon in pokéballs throughout the extensive franchise. 122 separate games to be more precise! With no shortage of gameplay, Pokémon is still extremely popular today. 

I’m sure you remember people strolling into busy roads and out-of-bounds areas upon the release of Pokémon Go whilst trying to catch ‘em all! With 1.1 billion downloads to date, yes that’s a billion, Pokémon Go is just a small success story within the whole franchise. 

Collectively, it’s worth an estimated $100 billion when including all products even not game-related. Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time!

3. Grand Theft Auto 

Grand Theft Auto vinewood sign

When talking about GTA it’s hard to not be overly drawn to the most recognisable of the series, Grand Theft Auto 5. Being the fastest-selling game in history GTA 5 generated $800 million on the first day of release, $1 billion in the first three! Now even that makes Pokémon look a little weak! 

The open gameplay world of GTA has become familiar to many gamers living their criminal fantasy. Often referred to by gamers and non-gamers alike, GTA 5 has become known as the game that never stops giving.

Even 8 years after its release, it is still a heavily played game today. It is thought of as equally as it did during its initial release. 

2. Mortal Kombat

 Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat defined modern split-screen gameplay. Simply one-on-one fighting, this game has become one of the most well-known video game franchises.

A simple combination of awesome characters, interesting moves, and stunning backgrounds has made this game into the popularity it is today. 

First developed 23 years ago, Mortal Kombat has evolved from an arcade game into numerous video games, series, and even a recent but not-so-successful film.

Its finishing moves and the iconic line “finish him” are recognisable by even non-gamers and deservingly gains a spot on this list.

1. Mario

Mario 8 bit

Our top spot really couldn’t be taken by any other than Mario. I’m sure any similar article would agree with Mario being the most prominent video game franchise to ever exist.

This little Italian plumber has become one of the most recognisable fictional characters within culture and known by nearly every person on this planet. 

Mario’s life started 40 years ago with an appearance in Donkey Kong. Since his first feature game in 1985 for Super Smash Bros, many have joined Mario in his adventures through the Mushroom Kingdom. Sparking the release of over 200 games, Mario has been the inspiration of many modern game producers and creators. 

Selling 370 million units of Super Mario and 154.26 million units of Mario Kart alone makes Mario one of the best ever selling game franchises. 

Being the most recognisable video game character in history, even beating Pac-Man, Mario has gained an estimated worth of $30.25 billion. That’s right, Mario is worth more than Kylie Jenner!

The largely adored character of Mario and the undeniable success of the game franchises makes Mario the best video game franchises of all time. 

That Was Our List Of The Best Video Game Franchises 

arcade machines

Video game franchises have been the source of joy and wonder that many of us crave. They allow us to live a fantasy in the way we want and let us make the impossible possible.

The impacts some of these games have had are incomprehensible with the likes of Mario and Pokémon continuously ranking as the best game franchises. 

Sometimes even 30 years after the initial release of a game its fan base is still hugely dedicated to the storylines and always wanting new playable content. 

Film and TV franchises seem to more than often be destined for failure. The attempt to develop a story past its initial end makes for messy and unnecessary content. Video game franchises are quite the opposite.

Our desire to delve deeper into these stories as graphics and gameplay continuously improve makes for fresh and engaging content with each release. With a strong fan base, gamers will play new editions decades after they first started playing. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and are off to play one of your favorite video game franchises. Leaving out classics like Final Fantasy and Fallout has played on my conscience but this wasn’t an article covering every loved video game franchise to date.

These top 10 have huge audiences, grossed massively, and become centres for modern-day culture. 

Did we miss any franchises? Let us know in the comment section below. Be sure to share this article on social media and tag us @musicgateway!

If you enjoyed this article why not check out another on our blog? Here are articles on How To Make Music For Video Games, Best 2 Player Xbox Games and Best 2 Player PS4 Games to get you started.

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