Donielle Flynn

That's a boatload of Pikachu. YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 09: Performers dressed as Pikachu, a character from Pokemon series game titles, ride on a boat during the Pikachu Outbreak event hosted by The Pokemon Co. on August 9, 2017 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. A total of 1, 500 Pikachus appear at the city's landmarks in the Minato Mirai area aiming to attract visitors and tourists to the city. The event will be held through until August 15. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

My family has helped with the total of EVERY franchise on this list. We’re definitely gamers, but for these numbers, it’s not just about the game… it’s about the MERCH. These are six video game franchises that made over $10 billion and some of them haven’t been around that long. (spoiler alert: Fortnite is NOT on the list)  According to Titlemax.com, there are 12 franchises that are over the 10 billion mark (Grand Theft Auto will join them shortly, I’m sure). A more recent list of top video game franchises was released, but I don’t think their figures include merch, movies, etc.  You can check out the 2023 list on apptrigger.com

Video games and rock albums aren’t that different with respect to the potential to re-buy your favorites. How many times have you bought a favorite album on vinyl, cassette, CD, and mp3? (Thank God radio is free) We’ve bought Mario party a good three times. Wii, Switch, PS2, PS3, etc. I’m pretty sure I could have already retired on my own private island if we hadn’t spent so much money on video games through the years. #hindsight

While I recognize the cash out the door for video games, I also have to say that we really enjoyed them.  My kids aren’t so into board games, but we’ve played video games together for most of their lives. I recently asked our listeners who their favorite video game characters are.  HERE are the results, if you would like to check them out.

6 Video Game Franchises That Made Over $10 Billion

  • #6 Space Invaders - 13.9 Billion

    The OG of video games. Space Invaders has been around since 1978 and stealing our quarters ever since. The reason this game has done so well: it’s all about the comeback. The video game has been released on a ton of different platforms.

  • #5 Pac-Man - 14.1 Billion

    Pac-Man was THE game of the ’80s.  Since then the game has not only been rereleased on multiple platforms but there is also a ridiculous amount of Pac-Man spin-off games.

  • #4 Wii - 14.8 Billion

    Yes, this is a console, but it also has had a bunch of its own video games like Wii Sports. My parents played Wii bowling into their ’90s and they loved it. My mom even bowled a perfect game! Apparently, she wasn’t the only one… these people are just showing off at this point. lol

  • #3 Call of Duty - 30 Billion

    I don’t know of anyone that is a bigger marketing genius in the realm of “How many times can I buy the same game?”  I don’t even know how many times my son has asked to rebuy Call of Duty at a good 40 bucks a pop.  Black Ops 4 alone has made more than a billion dollars. The franchise has 21 releases so far. Call of Duty hasn’t been around for nearly as long as the rest of these players.  The first Call of Duty was released in 2003 for Microsoft Windows. It looked like this:

     

  • #2 Mario - 30.2 Billion

    Mario has traveled the world but he’s bumped out the most coin blocks for Nintendo. Super Mario has made nearly 16 billion all on its own. Momma Mia, that’s a lot of dollars.

  • #1 Pokemon - 90 Billion

    90 billion: that’s how many Pokemon stuffed animals I feel like I’ve bought through the years. Pokemon has definitely made the lion’s share through merchandise, but their games have also been wildly popular. And again we meet the rebuy. There are SO MANY variations of Pokemon games. My daughter is 24 and she still loves them. We play Pokemon Go with my sister in Texas. I like Pokemon Go for its sense of community. I’ve met some cool people that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t play. It’s also increased how much my daughter and my sister communicate and I love that.

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