Last week we focused on the biggest gaming flops of all time. No, we didn’t pick on E.T The Extra – Terrestrial . Poor Atari has been through enough, especially after that glorious landfill in New Mexico was finally uncovered. However, we did look at everything from the mildly terrible Virtual Boy to the downright expensive Shenmue , and even a few head scratchers in between. It’s only fitting we flip the script and give you the greatest gaming successes of all time. Let’s take a look at what true video game greatness (at least, financially) looks like.
Super Mario Bros
Don’t let them fool you – Nintendo was built from the ground up by the oversized mitts of two Italian plumbers. Not only has the Mario brand accounted for over 7 world records, but it still stands as the best-selling video game franchise of all time. Cue vintage Mario breakdance sequences.
Sonic the Hedgehog
By far one of the most popular games ever produced, Sonic the Hedgehog single-handedly brought the Sega Genesis to the pinnacle of popularity during the late ’80s and ’90s. Everyone’s favorite speedy hedgehog (ironically, they’re not very quick in the wild) helped Sega outsell the Super Nintendo game console by two to one.
Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow took the world by storm during the mid-1990s, and the series hasn’t run out of steam yet. In fact, Pokemon ranks second, only behind Super Mario , for the top-selling video game franchise of all time. The Pokemon name only continues to grow and “evolve” as time progresses.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
At the height of the franchise’s success, Call of Duty: Black Ops was about the best thing we’d seen since the original. The game was immensely popular, selling over 5.6 million copies within the first 24 hours of its release. The franchise as a whole has sold over 175 million copies worldwide and has netted over $15 billion in total sales. That’s some serious cash!
World of Warcraft
WoW is one of the more interesting gaming successes as it’s literally transcended time from its early roots as the real-time strategy game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. The MMORPG accounts for over $1 billion in revenue per year, an estimated $10-12 billion in total, with a continued growth expected to exceed those figures in the future. Talk about scaling your original business model into a full-on cash cow.
If you know anything about your video game history, you know Space Invaders was one of the first mega hits way back in 1978. Estimates land the total revenue generated from the title in the neighborhood of $13 billion. The greatest urban legend surrounding this classic Atari gem is the reported coin shortage suffered in Japan when the game was at the peak of its popularity.