The video game industry is the largest entertainment industry in the world, bigger than music and film combined, and Tetris is the industry’s best-selling title.
Although Tetris has the most sales for a video game, Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 5 is still the highest-grossing media title ever – this includes films, books, and music.
The shift to an online marketplace means multiple monetization models exist across the industry – God of War Ragnarok’s sales and Fortnite’s microtransactions, for example, would generate revenue differently.
However, GTA 5 generates income via pure sales and in-game purchases, turning it into a financial behemoth.
The following list of the top 5 best-selling games of all time was initially compiled by IGN and is correct as of August 2022.
Importantly, free downloads do not count as sales, so games such as Fortnite and League of Legends are not eligible for this list.
5. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – 75,000,000
Battle Royale games have seen an enormous increase in popularity over the last 10 years, and PUBG is one of the main beneficiaries.
Although PUBG’s sales numbers are impressive, they will not grow any further as the game went free to play in January this year.
4. Wii Sports – 82,900,000
Wii Sports is Nintendo’s most-bought game made exclusively for its most-bought console.
It is actually the best-selling single-platform game ever.
3. GTA 5 – 170,000,000+
Although Rockstar’s next entry in the GTA franchise was reluctantly confirmed after a massive data leak, it has been 9 years since the last game was released.
The delay is likely due to GTA 5 being a massive financial hit for Rockstar, who have generated as much earning potential out of the title as possible – this includes GTA Online’s Shark Cards, which generate approximately 800 million dollars a year.
2. Minecraft – 238,000,000
Surprisingly only released in 2011, Mojang’s Minecraft has grown to become one of the biggest games in the world.
In 2021, Minecraft had an average of 91 million monthly users.
It is also important to note that the Minecraft Pocket Edition’s 133 million sales are not included in the overall Minecraft sales.
1. Tetris – 520,000,000
Developed in 1984 by Soviet computer engineering student Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris is the highest-selling game of all time.
Surprisingly, Pajitnov only started receiving royalties for the game in 1996 after he moved to the US and founded The Tetris Company.
It was a good idea to start claiming royalties as Tetris still maintains popularity nearly four decades after its release.
Modern versions of the game are still being released, such as 2018’s Tetris Effect.
Final sales total for top-5 best-selling games