Top 10 Fastest Selling Video Games of All Time
The fastest selling video games of all time broke records unheard of by all the entertainment industry.
Everyone and their mothers got their hands on these babies. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten fastest-selling video games of all time.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the video games which broke records and became the fastest-selling games of all time.
The first Halo was one of those monumental releases—the kind that changes the face of gaming forever and kickstarts a franchise. Naturally, anticipation was through the roof for Halo 2, despite a troubled production. A record-breaking 1.5 million copies had been sold through pre-orders alone, so they were off to a good start even before release. Halo 2 finally dropped on November 9, 2004, to much fanfare and media attention, selling 2.4 million copies and earning $125 million in 24 hours, far above Microsoft’s projection of $100 million. It would go on to clear more than 8 million copies, making it the original Xbox’s most successful title.
Like Halo 2, hype abounded for Grand Theft Auto IV. It was following three masterpieces, and it was the first game on the next generation hardware, complete with realistic graphics and a detailed world the likes of which no one had seen before. And to say it performed well would be a massive understatement. Within just 24 hours, the game had sold three and a half million copies, generating $310 million. Within one week, it had made $500 million, shattering sales expectations. These accomplishments earned it three world records—the highest grossing video game in 24 hours, the fastest-selling video game in 24 hours, and the highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours.
The first Pokémon game was released in Japan in 1996 and in North America in September 1998. And in 2013, fifteen years after the initial North American release, the series was still going strong and breaking records. And that’s the power of these little pocket monsters. One and a quarter million units were pre-ordered in Japan, the most for a 3DS game in Japan’s history. To make the numbers even more impressive, the game sold over four million units in its first weekend alone, making it the fastest-selling 3DS title, beating Black & White 2’s initial sales by 70%.
Halo 2 sold extremely well, and it basically helped redefine the possibilities of online play. So, of course, its sequel would make big bank as well. Over one million copies were pre-ordered in North America, and it grossed roughly $170 million in its first 24 hours, beating Halo 2 by $45 million. Four months earlier, Spider-Man 3 had shattered opening weekend records with a $151 million take. Halo 3 beat that record in just 24 hours (granted, video games are much more expensive than movies). Two months after release, it had sold five million copies, making it the best-selling game of the year, despite being an Xbox 360 exclusive which was released in September.
A new Blizzard product? Hell yeah! Sign…everyone up. Diablo III was breaking records even before its official release, as it was reported that Diablo III had become the most pre-ordered PC title on Amazon. And it continued to break records after its release. Activision Blizzard noted that Diablo III had become the best-selling day one PC release of all time, selling 3.5 million units, and when they included the World of Warcraft annual pass, the number jumped to 4.7 million. It went on to sell 6.3 million after its first week. And then everyone hated its DRM and buggy launch, and the internet went ballistic. You win some, you lose some.
The Black Ops series seems to be the saving grace of Call of Duty. While modern, non-Black Ops games like Ghosts,Advanced Warfare, and Infinite Warfare have stumbled, Black Ops III shot into the stratosphere. Coming off the heels of the disappointing Ghosts and Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III shattered expectations by grossing $550 million in its first three days, and, as Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg declared, the “engagement per player” was the highest in Call of Duty history. It seems as if everyone can’t get enough of their Black Ops, despite hesitance and fatigue surrounding the Call of Duty brand.
November 2011 was a stacked month for gaming and record-breaking. Modern Warfare 3 was released on November 8, and Skyrim followed only three days later. You’d think this would create a problem, but it seems as if gamers had a lot of extra cash that month. Skyrim bested Modern Warfare 3 on PC with over 230,000 concurrent players on Steam, well over Modern Warfare 3’s 78,000. By the following month, ten million copies had been shipped to retailers, generating a revenue of $620 million and becoming Steam’s fastest-selling game of all time. And the game is still generating money with the Special Edition and Switch port!
The Destiny series has certainly remained controversial since its release in September 2014. The original Destiny was met with a surprisingly lukewarm response, and its sequel has been lambasted all across the internet for just generally sucking. That said, gamers were once frothing at the mouth for Bungie’s new IP. According to Activision, Destiny shipped $500 million worth of games in just 24 hours, claiming that it was the most successful original IP launch in gaming history. And while Activision seemed pleased with the outcome, they never revealed the actual amount of copies sold, leading some to ponder whether the game was a commercial failure.
Despite coming out every single year like clockwork Call of Duty by now, and its sales have been suffering (*cough* Infinite Warfare *cough*), it was still all the rage back in 2011, despite the initial tingles of franchise fatigue. Within its first 24 hours of release, the game sold 6.5 million copies in North America and Europe, equating to roughly $400 million in revenue. This was the third year in a row that Call of Duty had broken opening day records, with“Modern Warfare 2 grossing $310 million and Black Ops grossing $360 million. It grossed $775 million after five days, beating all previous box office, book, and video game sales records.
When it comes to video game sales, there’s simply no competing with the monster that was GTA V. Within 24 hours, the game had made $800 million, a record-shattering amount equating to roughly 11 million copies. And it just kept going. It only took the game three days to make $1 billion, making it the fastest-selling entertainment product in history. And, in only six weeks, it had shipped 29 million units to retailers, which was more than GTA IV’s entire lifetime sales. Overall, it shattered expectations and ended up setting seven world records. We won’t say “never,” but it’s going to be extremely hard for another game to top this. Well, aside from maybe GTA VI.