Nintendo Switch games are popular beyond releaseThrough the many generations of Nintendo gaming consoles, Nintendo has published many enduringly popular games. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most popular game for Nintendo Switch of all time, having surpassed 53 million unit sales. Although only released in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is in second place of the best-selling Nintendo Switch games ever, as it was a surprise hit during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and audiences flocked to the cozy island life simulation. The Pokémon series continues to be one of the mainstays of Nintendo gaming, with the original Pokémon Red / Green / Blue releases still being the most popular of them all with over 31 million units sold. Another mainstay for Nintendo gaming systems is The Legend of Zelda series. The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild was a launch title for the Nintendo switch console and has proved immensely popular with critics and gaming audiences alike. Its highly anticipated follow-up The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was released in May 2023 and sold ten million copies within three days of release.
Sony has the golden touch with blockbuster releasesPlatform exclusives are very important when it comes to console gaming and Sony is no slouch – some of the all-time best-selling PlayStation 4 games are games that are only available on PlayStation. First-party title Marvel's Spider-Man ranks first as the top PS4 game with over 20 million games sold. The 2018 release of God of War racked up 19.5 million PlayStation 4 sales before getting a PC port in January 2022. The long-awaited follow-up, God of War: Ragnarök was released in November 2022 and sold 11 million copies in the first ten weeks. Sony has a selection of top gaming titles which have proven successful beyond the PlayStation console - several much-requested titles have received a release on PC (including platform exclusives Horizon Zero Dawn, Marvel's Spider-Man, and Death Stranding) and/or have been adapted into TV series and movies (The Last of Us, Uncharted).
Top-selling gaming genres – sports games and shootersBeyond individual hit titles, there are two major gaming franchises that always feature in the best-seller lists regardless of platform – FIFA and Call of Duty. Like clockwork, Electronic Arts publishes a FIFA title in early fall, and the titles enter the best-selling rankings until the successor is released. FIFA 2023 was the most downloaded PlayStation 4 game in Europe in 2022, with FIFA 2022 still reaching a respectable 5th place. Other popular sports gaming franchise titles like NBA 2K, MLB, and Madden NFL also populate the best-seller rankings.
The other top-selling genre for gaming consoles is shooter games, with the Call of Duty series published by Activision Blizzard being the most prominent example. Every November, a new Call of Duty title is published, and the series has surpassed 400 million lifetime unit sales in April 2021.
Competitive games are popular with players – battle royale PVP shooter PUBG: Battlegrounds has sold more than 75 million copies for PC and console since release before changing to a free-to-play business model.
RPGs are a popular gaming genre regardless of platformRole-playing games are another genre full of popular titles with Japanese companies providing some of the most notable content in this segment. Square Enix has published some of the most popular games of all time – the company’s long-running Final Fantasy franchise has sold more than 173 million units and counting, while fellow Japan-based publisher Capcom has several major gaming series with sales surpassing reach double-digit millions. The company reported over 100 titles that have sold more than one million units and the top-selling Capcom gaming title of all time was Monster Hunter World (2018) with over 18.6 million unit sales.
The Witcher series by Polish video game company CD Projekt is another example of the strength of the RPG genre – their 2015 release of the latest game in the series, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, ranked on countless “Game of the Year” lists and has sold more than 40 million copies to date. The company’s most recent release, the highly anticipated RPG Cyberpunk 2077 sold more than 18 million units despite a tumultuous launch in December 2020.
In contrast, FromSoftware’s Elden Ring release in February 2022 was heralded with a similar level of hype and fanfare – after all, George R.R. Martin contributed some of the world lore – and the game delivered: the dark and notoriously difficult RPG was released to rave reviews and sold more than 12 million units worldwide just two weeks after its release, making it one of the fastest video game releases of all time. Another popular RPG release was Hogwarts Legacy, a cross-platform open world action-role playing game set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The game grossed 850 million U.S. dollars at retail in its first two weeks of release and a lifetime total of 1 billion U.S. dollars with 15 million unit sales as of May 2023.