Video games have been around for decades, and studios release bigger and better titles with every new console.
This blog post explores the top grossing video games of all time as of March 2023.
Whether you’re a game developer, designer, indie game publisher, or just a passionate gamer – we’ve got everything you need to know about these highest grossing video games featured in our countdown – from old favorites to cutting-edge releases.
Let’s dive into it and see what made these popular video game franchises such big successes in gaming culture!
Difference Between Top Selling & Top Grossing Video Games
Have you ever wondered what sets top grossing and top selling games apart?
Top grossing games are the ones that generate the highest revenue. On the other hand, top selling games refer to the ones with the most number of units sold.
It’s easy to assume that a high revenue must mean high sales too, but that’s not always the case.
Factors like premium pricing, in-game purchases, and subscription models can contribute to a game becoming top grossing without being the top selling one.
Conversely, a top selling game may not be the highest earner if its revenue generating mechanisms, like price or in-game economy, are not effective.
The Top Grossing Video Games of All Time (2023 Updated)
What are some top grossing video games, you may ask?
Our 2023 updated list of highest grossing video games of all time will take you on a nostalgia trip while providing you with jaw-dropping insights about the gaming industry.
1. Dungeon Fighter Online ($20 Billion)
Dungeon Fighter Online is a fascinating multiplayer online video game that has taken the world by storm and proudly wears the crown as one of the best selling PC games of all time. It has an astonishing 20 billion USD in revenue.
Over the years, this best selling fighting game has combined classic 2D action with role-playing elements, attracting millions of players globally.
Despite facing challenges such as temporary closures in North America and Europe, Dungeon Fighter Online has shown remarkable resilience. It bounced back and even achieved the coveted title of the highest grossing video game of all time in 2023.
2. Pac-Man ($19.2 Billion)
Did you know that Pac-Man, one of the most iconic games in history, started as a simple coin-operated arcade game back in 1980?
With gamers around the world feverishly feeding quarters into the machines, Pac-Man became a top money-maker in the gaming industry. In fact, it eventually pulled in billions of dollars in revenue.
We’ve seen Pac-Man on television, in movies, on countless merchandise, and even turned into a Google Doodle. Pac-Man has proved that sometimes the simplest ideas make for the most remarkable success stories.
3. Space Invaders ($19 Billion)
Space Invaders, an arcade game that has grown to become iconic, is a testament to the power of innovative design, nostalgic charm, and timeless fun. The soaring popularity of the game led to massive sales and its journey into the gaming hall of fame.
What’s truly remarkable is the continuous growth and adaptation of Space Invaders, evolving through different gaming platforms and introducing various spin-offs.
The game has managed to enrapture generation after generation, making it as one of the top-grossing games of all time.
4. Street Fighter II ($17.4 Billion)
Initially released in 1991 by Capcom, this legendary arcade game smoothly blended incredible martial arts combat with a diverse roster of memorable characters from around the world––each boasting unique fighting styles and personalities.
As it fervently spread from arcade halls to home consoles, no one could have anticipated the colossal impact Street Fighter II would leave on the gaming world. Sparking the creation of various sequels, spin-offs, tournaments, and even influencing the development of other successful franchises.
5. Honor of Kings ($15.6 Billion)
Honor of Kings is a captivating multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that has taken the gaming world by storm. With an impressive gross of 15.6 billion USD, placing it among the top grossing mobile games of all time.
Developed by Tencent, China’s leading Internet services company, this blockbuster game combines a stunning fantasy world, strategic gameplay, and iconic Chinese folklore characters to create an immersive and exhilarating gaming experience.
With its continuous updates, adrenaline-pumping battles, and engaging eSports events, Honor of Kings represents the epitome of MOBA gaming success and serves as a testament to the immense potential of the global gaming industry.
6. League of Legends ($13.4 Billion)
League of Legends’ massive growth in popularity can be attributed to its easy accessibility and free-to-play model, which eliminated any financial barriers to entry. This, in turn, attracted an enormous player base, and in 2014, the game reached a record peak of 27 million daily players.
Over the years, Riot Games continued to monetize LoL through in-game purchases, such as skins and champions, which allowed players to customize their gaming experience, while never feeling like they were being forced to spend.
As a result of these strategic choices, League of Legends has solidified its position as one of the top-grossing games of all time, raking in an astonishing $1.75 billion in revenue in 2020 alone. It is inspiring to witness how a game that started as a humble project quickly morphed into an undeniable global phenomenon.
7. CrossFire ($13 Billion)
While it’s hard to believe, CrossFire has been dominating the international gaming scene since its initial release in 2007. Initially designed by Smilegate, a South Korean game developer, the game has since grown to be a colossal global hit, raking in revenue with every passing year – talk about gamer’s paradise!
CrossFire is the perfect example of a gaming phenomenon that has mastered the art of roping in millions of players, who relish engaging in thrilling, action-packed battles set in dynamic environments.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that despite the skyrocketing competition in the gaming industry, CrossFire undoubtedly holds its ground and continues to maintain its status as a top-performing game.
8. World of Warcraft ($11.3 Billion)
World of Warcraft, affectionately known as WoW, has undoubtedly etched its name in gaming history as one of the top grossing games of all time.
It all started back in 2004 when Blizzard Entertainment gave birth to this mesmerizing world, brimming with mythical creatures, enchanting landscapes, and heart-pounding adventures.
What set WoW apart from the rest was its ability to capture the attention of both hardcore gamers and casual players through its myriad of content and seamless gameplay. Over the years, the game has evolved by introducing new challenges, environments, legendary battles, and forum controversies.
9. PUBG ($11.2 Billion)
Starting out as a modest mod for the game ARMA 2, PUBG quickly gained momentum and captured the attention of gamers worldwide with its intense and adrenaline-pumping battle royale format.
As the game transitioned to a standalone product, it set records by selling over a million copies within its first month on Steam’s Early Access program.
PUBG’s popularity continued to rise, fueled by word-of-mouth and high-profile streamers, leading to staggering sales numbers and countless hours spent by players jumping out of planes, looting crates, and crawling through the grass in the quest for that coveted “chicken dinner”.
10. Monster Strike ($10.5 Billion)
Monster Strike, a mobile physics action-adventure game, has had an incredible journey, ultimately securing its place as one of the top-grossing games of all time.
As players became more and more engrossed in the game, they were eager to spend money on in-app purchases, catapulting Monster Strike’s revenue into the stratosphere.
Despite facing setbacks with its short-lived global release, Monster Strike rebounded and focused on the Japanese market to become a staple of the mobile gaming industry. This game has since earned fans’ loyalty and admiration, making it a true success story worth exploring.
11. Lineage ($9.6 Billion)
Lineage, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), truly revolutionized the gaming industry with its dynamic gameplay and gripping concept revolving around bloodlines, alliances, and conquests.
As the years went by, Lineage continued to expand with several sequels and spin-offs, each weaving in more intricate storylines, astounding visuals, and engaging gameplay.
Throughout its journey, Lineage has remained a dominant force in the world of MMORPGs – attaining a massive cult following and raking in billions in revenue while staying true to its roots of immersive storytelling and spectacular virtual experiences.
12. Fortnite ($9 Billion)
With its addictive Battle Royale mode, Fortnite quickly captivated gamers around the globe, as they competed against 99 others to be the last one standing.
Players couldn’t help but spend on enticing in-game purchases, like the ever-popular “skins,” which gave their characters fun, fresh new looks.
Epic Games hit the jackpot by regularly adding limited-time events and celebrity collaborations, from the likes of Travis Scott and Marvel’s Avengers. Today, Fortnite boasts over 350 million registered players and counting.
13. Puzzle & Dragons ($8.6 Billion)
Puzzle & Dragons was released in Japan back in 2012. Since then, it has soared to new heights – in terms of download numbers and revenue.
In 2013, Puzzle & Dragons achieved total downloads of over 10 million users, rising to 28 million just one year later beating out even the most popular social games on the market.
After that meteoric rise, in early 2015 the game’s revenue topped $1 billion – a benchmark rarely seen from mobile games. The incredibly successful game has continued to draw millions of people in since then, making it one of the highest grossing games ever released.
14. Westward Journey ($8.3 Billion)
Would you believe that by 2004, due to its sheer popularity, Westward Journey hosted a staggering 2 million concurrent players?
As you can guess, the sales and revenue quickly followed suit. By 2005, Westward Journey’s revenue reached an astounding $76 million, making it an undeniable success story.
To keep the momentum going, NetEase organized various events to keep players engaged, including a massive “Monsters in the Palace” event that attracted millions of virtual warriors.
Eventually, Westward Journey found itself among the ranks of the top grossing games, all thanks to a unique blend of gameplay and immersive storytelling.
15. Clash of Clans ($8 Billion)
When we speak of the top grossing games, the phenomenal journey of Clash of Clans is definitely worth mentioning. Players from all over the globe strategically build and protect their own villages while raiding others, which makes for a highly competitive atmosphere.
The numbers themselves speak volumes about its success – in 2015, it was estimated that over 1 million people were playing Clash of Clans on a daily basis, generating around $1.5 million in revenue each day!
In subsequent years, even as other games tried to topple its dominance, Clash of Clans sustained its position among the highest grossing iPhone and Android apps, crossing $6.4 billion in lifetime revenue by 2019.
So that’s the list of 15 top grossing video games of all time. To see the full list, you can check more here.
25 Best Selling Games of All Time (2023 Updated)
If we venture into the thrilling world of gaming, there’s no escaping the mention of the best-selling games of all time.
Tetris is by far the best selling game of all time with over 520 million units sold.
Halo 2 is one of the best selling Xbox games, with over 8.46 million copies sold. Followed by other video game series such as Halo: Combat Evolved, Sneak King, Fable, and GTA franchises.
To learn more, here’s the list of the best selling video game in 2023. The numbers after the game name indicate the number of copies sold on all platforms.
- Tetris: 520,000,000
- Minecraft: 238,000,000
- Grand Theft Auto V: 175,000,000
- Wii Sports: 82,900,000
- PUBG: Battlegrounds: 75,000,000
- Mario Kart 8/Deluxe: 60,460,000
- Super Mario Bros.: 58,000,000
- Red Dead Redemption 2: 50,000,000
- Pokémon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow: 47,520,000
- Terraria: 44,500,000
- Wii Fit/Plus: 43,800,000
- Tetris (Nintendo): 43,000,000
- Pac-Man: 42,071,635
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 41,590,000
- Human: Fall Flat: 40,000,000
- The Witcher 3/Hearts of Stone/Blood and Wine: 40,000,000
- Mario Kart Wii: 37,380,000
- Wii Sports Resort: 33,140,000
- New Super Mario Bros.: 30,800,000
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: 30,700,000
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: 30,440,000
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii: 30,320,000
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: 30,000,000
- Diablo III/Reaper of Souls: 30,000,000
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: 30,000,000
To see more, here’s the list of best selling video games.
The 12 Most Profitable Franchises
When it comes to the gaming industry, certain game franchises have undeniably conquered the market, raking in incredible profits and captivating millions of fans worldwide.
First, Pokémon is by far the highest grossing video game franchise, with over $90 billion in earnings including inflation.
Let’s take a look at some of the other best selling video game franchises! The numbers after the game name indicate the number of copies sold.
- Mario: 826.38 million
- Tetris: 495 million
- Pokémon: 440 million
- Call of Duty: 400 million
- Grand Theft Auto: 395 million
- Super Mario: 385.97 million
- FIFA: 325 million
- Minecraft: 238 million
- Wii: 207.41 million
- Lego: 200 million
- The Sims: 200 million
- Assassin’s Creed: 200 million
Read more here to learn about the most popular game franchises and their selling statistics.
Standing on the shoulders of ingenious game design and clever marketing, these most successful video game franchises have effectively shaped our collective gaming experience, making them unforgettable pieces of gaming history.
From the ever-popular Pac-Man craze to today’s inclusion of augmented reality themes, video game culture has grown from strength to strength over the last four decades.
As we enter a new era of gaming in 2023 and beyond, this list stands as a testament to the incredible success stories of the most popular video game franchises such as Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and Grand Theft Auto.
For dedicated fans looking to relive fond memories or newcomers seeking fresh experiences – these are simply the cream of the crop when it comes to top grossing video games.
It is certainly exciting to ponder what broadcasted game series may arise on our radar in the years to come!