Gaming Killed the Video Star – Top Ten Grossing Games Ever


Jun 14th

To gamers it will come as no surprise that the industry is huge! I mean really big. A new game can out sell a movie blockbuster, and when you consider a blockbuster movie can now easily cost $200m to make, you can see why there is a huge investment in new games.

Time Warner’s “The Dark Knight” took in $238.6 million in its first week in U.S. theaters. The Avengers took $260+ million. How does that compare to games?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sold a whopping 12m copies in its first week, a total of $738m in revenue in its first week! That’s more than “The Dark Knight” and “The Avengers” together!

The biggest budget ever spent on a new game was topped out by Grand Theft Auto 4, at a mere $100m, where the big game costs coming in at between $50m and $90m typically. Barely in the same ball park as blockbuster movies.

Below are the Top Ten Grossing Games of All Time

10: Modern Warfare: ~$700 million

The first in the Call of Duty franchise which has netted billions in revenue for its makers, with each subsequent release growing revenue over the previous version. One of the strongest franchise in the business taking three spaces of the top ten games ever.

9: The Sims: ~$740 million

The Sims are a another huge franchise, with the original release back in 2000. The game that held sole responsible for bringing the girls to the gaming table. Considered to be the ultimate family game, with no sex or violence.

8: Modern Warfare 2: ~$780 million

The second game in the Modern Warfare franchise, beating its predecessor by $70m in revenue. The game itself was not considered a revolution like the original, but was still jumped at by the franchise loyal followers.

7=: Gran Turismo 3: ~$850 million

Gran Turismo 3, first equal on the best selling Playstation 2 platform. Rumoured to have cost $40m to make, a record in its time, returning over a twenty times revenue to its owners. The latest version GT5 is expected to cost closer to $60m.

7=: Grand Theft Auto 3: ~$850 million

Another motor franchise, and just as popular as GT3, also generating $850m in revenue. The difference being the GTA franchise was deployed to multiple platforms to generate its $850m in revenue, including Playstation, Xbox and the PC.

6: Super Mario Bros. ~$1.2 billion

Super Mario Bros made Nintendo, the franchise has spawned many versions all bringing in huge numbers for its owners. Another family friendly game, that the parents didn’t mind you playing. It took just over two years to crack the billion dollar mark in global revenues.

5: Wii Play: $1.3 billion

Another family friendly game from Nintendo, and another smash hit. In a brilliant marketing move, Nintendo bundled the Wii Sports with every console sold, the expansion pack was Wii Play, which everyone wanted after getting hooked on the sports game. Demonstrating the freemium policy really worked in the games market. Total sales hit the 28 million games sold mark.

4: Grand Theft Auto 4: ~$1.38 billion

One of the most expensive games ever made, with costs coming in at close to $100m, comparable to today’s blockbuster move budgets. GTA4 was an instant hit, considered to be the best game in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Return on investment, only thirteen times costs.

3: Mario Kart Wii: ~$1.4 billion

Another Mario offshoot, and today Nintendo’s biggest ever seller, bringing in $1.4b in revenues with over 29m games sold. It followed the Nintendo theme of being family friendly and easy to play. If Mario did not exist nor would Nintendo.

2: Call of Duty: Black Ops: $1.5 billion

A Smash hit for Activision. This first person shooter was released on Wii, PC, Xbox and Playstation simultaneously. Technically the seventh instalment of the popular Call of Duty franchise. Taking less than six weeks to break the billion dollar mark in global revenues. The sequal is the most anticipate game of 2012, expected to be named, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and will be released on November 13, 2012

1: World of Warcraft: ~$8+ billion

World of Warcraft has multiple revenue streams, selling the game, the expansion packs and an annual subscription to access the extensive worlds. In the previous six years the WOW worlds have had around 11.5 million subscribers, charged between $5 and $40, generating over $1 billion in revenue each year. All and All this adds up to big bucks, and the number one game in history.

For reference other popular MMORPG, Runescape came in at $80m in sales for the 2011 financial year.

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