What are the 10 most profitable video games of all time? As technology advances and computer power becomes cheaper and easier to manufacture, the video game industry is embracing the changes and releasing games with more and more sophisticated gameplay, enhanced graphics, and complex in-game worlds and AI-controlled characters.
As is the case with books and movies, consumers’ video game tastes vary significantly, so companies release a wide variety of games in terms of genre, gameplay, graphics, storylines, etc. Nevertheless, over the years, a number of games have become blockbuster series and maintained their positions as the most popular and best-selling games, despite the fact that many other hits were released after them.
According to a report by SuperData, in 2016, the digital games market hit $91 billion in revenue, with $41 billion being spent on mobile games. As consumers more often choose to download games directly to their consoles, companies can enjoy stronger margins and generate more revenue though additional content and in-game micro-transactions.
Investors also seem to be optimistic about the future of video game companies. In March 2016, the PureFunds® Video Game Tech ETF (NYSEARCA:GAMR) began trading and has advanced by over 35% since. GAMR is an exchange-traded fund, which tracks a diversified portfolio of video game companies, including Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), Take Two Interactive Software Inc (NASDAQ:TTWO), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ:GLUU), and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), as well as a number of companies listed on foreign exchanges like Ubisoft Entertainment and NC Soft Corp. Individual names, such as Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), and Take Two Interactive Software Inc (NASDAQ:TTWO), have seen their stock prices skyrocket over the last five years, each having advanced by between 300% and 450%.
For video game companies, releasing hits like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto V have not been the only factors contributing to their growth. Investors have also appreciated the companies’ changes to their business models, thanks to the adoption of online gaming and micro-transactions, which allows users to access new content and for companies to boost their revenue.
With this in mind, let’s proceed to discussing the 10 most profitable video games of all time. The games are sorted based on the number of copies sold (or paid downloads), which may not be the best way to reflect the revenue they generated in the modern age (for that you can see our list of the 12 highest grossing video games of all time). Also, we excluded multiple games from the same franchise, so the list isn’t dominated by one or two series, such as the Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario Bros. series, but we have listed the top selling game in each series. Now then, head to the next page to begin the countdown.