Game developers and publishers like to talk numbers, but when it comes to sales, some games stand head and shoulders above the rest. What are the best-selling video games of all time? Follow along as we check out the top ten.
10. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Sold: 29.32 million units
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, not to be confused with New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS, squeezes its way in at #10 while just barely missing #9. Released in 2009, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the first title in the central Mario Bros. franchise to include simultaneous multiplayer since Mario Bros. in the arcade back in 1983. This title won't be the only appearance of the Nintendo Wii on this list, either. The Wii's unrivaled popularity boosted many of its titles to best-seller status.
9. Diablo III
Sold: 30 million units
Diablo III is evidence of the lasting impact Blizzard Entertainment's games have on their fanbase. The game launched for Mac and Windows in 2012, a full 12 years after the release of Diablo II. Diablo III's total sales of 30 million units was certainly assisted by its release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013 — and its later release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2015. Despite being one of the best-selling games of all time, its reception among diehard players was milquetoast at best, though the Reaper of Souls expansion is generally regarded as having vastly improved the game's fundamentals. Diablo III's controversial real money auction house was also removed after launch.
8. New Super Mario Bros.
Sold: 30.79 million units
Though the Nintendo DS's New Super Mario Bros. carries a similar name to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, they are, in fact, different games. Though critics note its overly simplistic gameplay, they left generally favorable reviews for the title which went on to be the Nintendo DS's best-selling game. Released over 20 years after the original Super Mario Bros., those who believe the Mario formula has worn thin need only to look at New Super Mario Bros. (and New Super Mario Bros. Wii) for evidence to the contrary. Mario, it seems, is timeless.
7. Wii Sports Resort
Sold: 32.8 million units
Nintendo attempted to follow up smash hit Wii Sports with Wii Sports Resort, maintaining the game's easily-understood gameplay, but integrating new activities in a new locale. Wii Sports Resort couldn't match the original title's popularity but still lands among the top ten best-selling games of all time. Its meager 32.8 million units sold still puts it well ahead of, for example, Skyrim's 20 million.
6. Mario Kart Wii
Sold: 36.38 million units
Another beneficiary of (and contributor to) the Nintendo Wii's wild success is Mario Kart Wii with over 36 million units sold. This kart racing game is the sixth installment of the Mario Kart franchise. Mario Kart Wii took full advantage of the Wii's motion controls, bundling the game with the Wii Wheel accessory. Like many titles on the Wii, this accessory made the game intuitive even to non-gamers — even players who are unfamiliar with using a controller would be familiar with using steering wheels.
5. Super Mario Bros.
Sold: 40.24 million units
Nintendo's consoles rise and fall based on their launch titles. Super Mario Bros. was a launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Though this wasn't Mario's first video game appearance, the popularity of Super Mario Bros. — over 40 million units sold — launched Mario into full-blown mascot status. He has been an ever-present member of Nintendo's offerings since Super Mario Bros.' initial release in 1985.
4. Grand Theft Auto V
Sold: 70 million units
The latest installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise sold 70 million units. Compared to other best-selling titles, Grand Theft Auto V stands out as one of the only titles on the list to be decidedly family un-friendly with its crude storytelling and visuals. (Granted, Diablo III isn't for the faint of heart with its grotesque demons and sprays of gore, either.) GTAV's crass, politically incorrect content is precisely what made this franchise a household name, however. Its sales numbers have also been propped up by delayed multi-platform releases: Grand Theft Auto V released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 September 2013, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One November 2014, and finally on PC April 2015.
Players who simply couldn't wait to play the game picked it up in its initial release in 2013. Those who enjoyed it most bought it a second time during its next-gen release in 2014. Players who preferred playing on a PC but bought its initial console offerings bought it yet again for its PC release in 2015. This means there are players who bought the same game two or maybe even three times. That doesn't make Grand Theft Auto V's sales numbers any less impressive; creating a game players would be willing to purchase multiple times in such a small time frame is perhaps even more impressive.
3. Wii Sports
Sold: 82.78 million units
Wii Sports was a launch title for the Nintendo Wii, part of a console craze unlike any seen before it — or since. With its motion controls, Wii Sports was a game easily understood not only by gamers, but by those who have never touched a video game before. Grandmothers, fathers, daughters, and grandchildren could all play this game side-by-side.
Wii Sports sold nearly 83 million units. As a comparison, the Nintendo Wii sold 101 million units. As a launch title for the Wii, Wii Sports entered nearly as many households as its mothership console. Wii Sports was not only a widely enjoyed game, but it was no doubt the title which familiarized players with the Wii's motion controls, directly contributing to the console's widespread success.
Sold: 107.86 million units
Minecraft, first released on Windows in 2009, is the second best-selling game of all time with nearly 108 million units sold. The family-friendly sandbox game has attracted players of all ages; grown adults and children alike enjoy exercising their creativity with the simplistic building blocks of Minecraft. This phenomenon should come as no surprise, however, given the lasting success of LEGO, which have been in production since 1949.
Originally developed by Markus "Notch" Persson, the game has since been purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion.
Sold: 495 million units
Across all platforms, Tetris has sold a staggering 495 million units. Tetris has been sold on numerous platforms ranging from the Nintendo Entertainment System to BlackBerry to PlayStation 3. As far as video games go, Tetris has an unusual origin: The game was created by Alexey Patjinov, an artificial intelligence researcher in Moscow, all the way back in 1984. Tetris was never intended (or expected) to take off as it did. Patjinov developed games as a hobby to test computer hardware. In the case of Tetris, Patjinov's colleagues enjoyed the game so much, they decided to port the title to the IBM PC. From there, the game spread throughout Moscow, eventually making its way to Budapest and eventually discovered by a British software house.
After over 30 years of licensing, Tetris now reigns as the best-selling game of all time — selling nearly 400 million units more than its closest competitor. To this day, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who has never played Tetris before, or at least hadn't heard of it. There has even been a syndrome named for it: The Tetris Effect.
To truly put the popularity of Tetris into perspective, if you isolated the sales numbers of the Game Boy version of Tetris, the game would still make the top ten list. Eliminating all other releases of the title, Tetris on Game Boy sold 35 million copies, which would place it just below Mario Kart Wii and above Wii Sports Resort.