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The 4 video game franchises that sold more copies than the GTA series

Mario, Tetris, Pokemon, and Call of Duty have sold more copies than GTA if one adds together every game in their respective series (Image via Nintendo, The Tetris Company, Activision)
Mario, Tetris, Pokemon, and Call of Duty have sold more copies than GTA if one adds together every game in their respective series (Image via Nintendo, The Tetris Company, Activision)
Alan Sahbegovic

The GTA series is so successful within the video game industry that only four video game franchises have sold more copies than it.

Even more shocking is that GTA 5 is the second-best-selling video game of all time at over 160,000,000 copies sold. For reference, only Minecraft has sold more copies (238,000,000). Still, that 160,000,000 copy estimate is only a part of a larger 370,000,000 figure associated with the entire series.

Here are the current figures for the four video game franchises that sold more copies than Grand Theft Auto as a whole:

  1. Mario (772.23M)
  2. Tetris (495M)
  3. Pokemon (406.78M)
  4. Call of Duty (400M)

Note: This statistic is about the number of copies sold, not necessarily how much money these series have made over a lifetime.


The four video game franchises to have sold more than GTA

1) Mario (772.23M)

Super Mario Odyssey is a highly-rated game that many gamers love (Image via Nintendo)
Super Mario Odyssey is a highly-rated game that many gamers love (Image via Nintendo)

When one thinks of the name "Mario," chances are, they're thinking of a short plumber in red overalls. He's undisputedly one of the most iconic characters in video game history.

As far as this sales figure goes, 390.78M of these copies come from the Super Mario subseries (more than the entire GTA series).

Add in everything else ranging from the ubiquitous Mario Kart series to the more niche (but still highly successful) Mario RPG series, and it's clear why the Mario franchise is number one. Out of every video game series on this list, Mario debuted the earliest on July 9, 1981.


2) Tetris (495M)

A puzzle game involving tetrominos from the Soviet Union grew to become one of the most successful franchises in the world (Image via The Tetris Company)
A puzzle game involving tetrominos from the Soviet Union grew to become one of the most successful franchises in the world (Image via The Tetris Company)

If Mario is the face of the video game industry as a whole, then Tetris is the face of the puzzle genre. Whereas the previous video game franchise has numerous different games of various genres, Tetris is usually consistent in terms of how it works.

Some gamers might complain about GTA 5 being ported as often as it has, but Tetris has the Guinness World Record for the "Most ported videogame." Tetris wasn't just ported across three generations of consoles, it's been ported to 70 platforms, according to the Guinness World Records.

As far as statistics go, 425M of these copies come from paid mobile downloads, further showcasing how popular this puzzle game was.


3) Pokemon (406.78M)

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the latest popular game in the series (Image via The Pokemon Company)
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the latest popular game in the series (Image via The Pokemon Company)

Although it's only number three in terms of overall copies sold, it's worth noting that Pokemon is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time. That doesn't just include video games, either. It genuinely generates more revenue than Hello Kitty, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Its video game sales play a significant factor in its success, although nowhere near as much as licensed merchandise does ($26.952B versus $82.805B). Pokemon has made over $110B as a franchise if one counts all of its revenue streams, whereas GTA is estimated to have made over $10B.


4) Call of Duty (400M)

Call of Duty Vanguard was released in 2021 (Image via Activision)
Call of Duty Vanguard was released in 2021 (Image via Activision)

Not every video game series that sold more copies than GTA is older. In this case, Call of Duty is nearly six years younger but has gone on to sell almost 30 million more copies than GTA. If Tetris represents puzzle games, then Call of Duty is the face of modern first-person shooters.

There's a new Call of Duty game every year, which greatly contributes to its success. On a side note, it's the most successful US-based video game franchise.



live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Have you played at least one game from every series listed here (Mario, Tetris, Pokemon, Call of Duty, and GTA)?

Yes

No

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul

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