Total: $1.6 billion
Release Date: 1992
The fighting game culture wouldn't be the same without Mortal Kombat. It first appeared in 1992 and battled its way through the market, earning over $1.5 billion. The franchise is still going strong—we don't expect any fatalities any time soon.
Total: $2 billion
Release Date: 2011
This franchise was known for the figurines it required players to use to get in-game characters. It used NFC chips and a scanner to bring the illusion to life. It was first released in 2011 by Activision and has grossed a total of $2 billion.
Total: $2 billion
Release Date: 1997
The Lego franchise has been around for a long time but in 1997 they dipped into video games with the release of Lego Island. Since this first foray into the digital world, the franchise has continued to release Lego-themed video game titles.
Total: $2.3 billion
Release Date: 2005
Guitar Hero brought the thrill of air guitar to life with licensed songs from popular and classic rock bands in 2005. It was a hit, pun intended, amassing over $2 billion through the years. Will it help you play guitar? Not a chance but you'll have a blast anyway with this classic rhythm game.
Total: $3.2 billion
Release Date: 2001
If you played Xbox in the early 2000s, you're probably more than familiar with Master Chief of the Halo franchise. This series is responsible for the development of Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Most Halo games are FPS, the first of which were developed by Bungie.
Total: $3.4 billion
Release Date: 2002
World Club Champion Football, often abbreviated to WCCF, is a digital card game focused around soccer. The games first appeared in 2002, developed by a team named Panini. The most recent WCCF games were given the title "Footista". It’s one of the most popular digital card games of all time.
Total: $4 billion
Release Date: 1997
This racing franchise is known for implementing real-life cars in its selection for players. The games are developed by Polyphony Digital and first appeared back in 1997. The franchise has grossed $4 billion over the years.
Total: $4.1 billion
Release Date: 1994
Need for Speed is a classic racing franchise that first released in 1994. It was published by EA but these days it's developed by a team known as Criterion Games. This franchise has grossed over $4 billion over the last two decades.
Total: $4.2 billion
Release Date: 2003
Maple Story was released in 2003 as a free-to-play game. It was a 2D, side-scrolling MMO recognized by its cute anime art style. It originates from a South Korean development company known as Wizet.
Total: $5.2 billion
Release Date: June 1, 1988
Madden NFL is the biggest football-themed video game franchise in history. They release new titles each year and always include actual, real-life players as playable in-game characters. The franchise has earned up to $5.2 billion as of writing. The latest title released is Madden NFL 21.
Total: $5.9 billion
Release Date: December 20, 2017
PUBG is the most popular battle royale franchise around. It was first released in 2017 by Bluehole, a South Korean video game development company. Since its release, the franchise has grossed over $5.9 billion in revenue. There's even a free PUBG Mobile game available for download.
Check out our list of other great free mobile games to try today!
Total: $6 billion
Release Date: July 21, 1995
It's not quite FIFA, but it is Pro Evolution Soccer! As the name suggests, this is a soccer simulation game franchise. Since 1995, the team has earned more than $6 billion—reaching several platforms, including consoles, mobile devices, and PC. The latest game from this franchise is eFootball PES 21.
Total: $6.3 billion
Release Date: 1997
Every Pokemon fan needs a rival, but Digimon fans aren't them. This franchise is totally unique from the Nintendo series. Digimon started as a handheld game similar to Tamagotchi before it evolved into the anime and video game franchise we know today. The Digimon franchise has grossed over $6.3 billion since conception. The latest title from the Digimon franchise is Digimon Survive.
Total: $6.5 billion
Release Date: December 2001
Westward Journey is an MMORPG developed and maintained by NetEase. It was first released in 2001. Since then, it's earned a total of $6.5 billion. The game is recognized as one of the most popular titles of all time in China.
Total: $6.8 billion
Release Date: July 9, 1981
We wouldn't have our list topped with the Mario franchise if it wasn't for our favorite monkey Donkey Kong. The Donkey Kong franchise has earned over $6.8 since its release in 1981. The most recent Donkey Kong title is a re-release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Total: $7 billion
Release Date: August 2, 2012
Mobile games might be pocket-sized, but their bottom line can pack a punch. The Clash of Clans mobile game has brought in $7 billion since its release in 2012. If you're a fan of medieval fantasy-themed games with the portability of a mobile platform, you may want to check out Clash of Clans.
Total: $7.5 billion
Release Date: October 14, 2016
This game has had a few name changes over the years but is currently most recognized as Honor of Kings. It's one of the biggest online battle arena games around. For a game that only released in 2016, it's impressive to note it's earned up to $7.5 billion in revenue.
Total: $7.6 billion
Release Date: June 23, 1991
Gotta go fast? Our favorite hedgehog feels you. The Sonic franchise was developed when Sega realized they needed a mascot of their own, ala Mario. The two have even appeared in titles together, most notably the Olympic Games franchise. The Sonic franchise has earned up to $7.6 billion since its creation.
Total: $7.7 billion
Release Date: April 12, 2012
Puzzle games can be hit or miss, and boy did Candy Crush hit. This sweet-flavored mobile game fits right in your pocket, ready for you to get your next fix in the form of a candy-themed dopamine burst. It was released in 2012 but is still going strong, having earned up to $7.7 billion.
Total: $7.7 billion
Release Date: February 20, 2012
Puzzle & Dragons offers players everything the name suggests. This dragon-themed puzzle game is one of the biggest mobile hits around. The franchise has grossed up to $7.7 billion since it was released in 2012. The most recent update is available right now on the Google Play Store.
Total: $8.1 billion
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Monster Strike is a huge mobile game that first released in 2013. They proved the potential of mobile games by amassing up to $8.1 billion since its release. As of 2021, the English servers have been shut down. However, international support is still available.
Total: $9 billion
Release Date: 1996
In 1996, Capcom released a money-making virus on the population we've come to know as the Resident Evil franchise. It's spread in popularity over the years grossing up to $9 billion over the decades. The Resident Evil games and movies often center around survivors in the midst of a zombie apocalypse stirred up by a company known as The Umbrella Corporation.
Total: $9.9 billion
Release Date: October 21, 1997
Sometimes you gotta live out your bad side—and what better way to simulate the life of crime than to fire up any copy of Grand Theft Auto. The most recent title in this classic line is GTA V which features online multiplayer support. The GTA franchise has earned up to $9.9 billion since it was first introduced.
Total: $10 billion
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Free to play does not mean free from earning! League of Legends is one of the most popular free-to-play titles around, but that can't stop you from blowing half your paycheck on cool skins for your favorite champion. This franchise has grossed up to $10 billion since it first launched. Instead of new games, the devs release "seasons" periodically with new content.
Total: $10.3 billion
Release Date: September 3, 1998
The Lineage franchise has proven that a free-to-play game can still earn you a spot on the list of highest-grossing video game franchises. This series has earned up to $10.3 billion since it was first released. It's known for its expansive universe and long-lasting community.
Total: $10.3 billion
Release Date: December 18, 1987
This JRPG is one of the most recognized video game franchises around. It's not hard to find Final Fantasy merch in 2021. There's also little to indicate the team is slowing down with Final Fantasy XVI announced as the latest title in the franchise. So far, the franchise is worth $10.3 billion.
Total: $11.2 billion
Release Date: November 23, 1994
Warcraft hit the gaming subculture hard with World of Warcraft's release, but the franchise actually began ten years earlier in 1994. In 2021, the fans are still some of the most dedicated around—whether it's looking for a group in WoW or designing a custom map in Warcraft 3, there's plenty of activity to be had in this online fantasy franchise. So far, it's earned at least $11.2 billion. The latest release in the Warcraft franchise is World of Warcraft Shadowlands.
Total: $11.5 billion
Release Date: December 15, 1993
We can't ignore this soccer giant video game legend of a franchise: FIFA. If you love sports games and haven't checked out FIFA yet, now is as good of a time as any. The most recent title in the FIFA line is FIFA 2021. As of today, the franchise has grossed at least $11.5 billion.
Total: $12 billion
Release Date: May 3, 2007
This tactile FPS game is just for PC users and is published by Z8 Games. It first debuted in South Korea back in 2007. Today, you can still hop online for a few rounds of CrossFire. The franchise has earned a total of $12 billion in the last 13 years.
Total: $12.2 billion
Release Date: August 30, 1987
For every kid told not to start fights but finish them, this classic fighting game series has been there to fit the bill. This franchise has released titles over decades for numerous platforms ranging from arcade cabinets to consoles. The most recently released title in the Street Fighter franchise is Street Fighter V Champion.
Total: $12.9 billion
Release Date: May 27, 1986
The Dragon Quest series might give some of our readers a sense of déjà vu—you're not seeing double. This franchise was illustrated by the same artist behind the Dragon Ball series, Akira Toriyama. The Dragon Quest franchise is one of the largest around, earning at least $12.9 billion as of 2020.
Total: $13.4 billion
Release Date: 1978
It seems as though Space Invaders are here to stay with a franchise that has lasted into the 2020s. Who are we to judge? Alien infiltration must take time when you're limited to pixels in a 2D plane. What started as a simple arcade cabinet has slowly grown into a $13.4 billion franchise.
This also made our list as Best Game of the Year for the year of its release.
Total: $14.8 billion
Release Date: November 19, 2006
If you played any games on the Nintendo Wii, you would likely have come across one of the many titles from the Wii Series franchise line. This included things like Wii Sports and the classic at-home gym, Wii Fit. Today, this franchise has grossed $14.8 billion.
Total: $15 billion
Release Date: August 2005
Dungeon Fighter Online, or DFO for short, is an online multiplayer action RPG. Expect a fantasy world setting with magic and more in a cool anime art style. This PC title has been around since 2005. In 2021, it's still going strong. The franchise is currently worth more than $15 billion.
Total: $15.1 billion
Release Date: May 22, 1980
You'd think after all these years, Pac-Man would have enough fruit for a fruit salad, but the Pac-Man franchise is still going strong. The latest title released under the Pac-Man umbrella is Pac-Man Geo—a mobile app that uses your real-life location as a key element of the gameplay. As of 2020, the Pac-Man franchise has earned more than $15.1 billion.
Total: $20 billion
Release Date: October 29, 2003
This FPS classic has raked in over $20 billion since it first released. It's one of the most well-known shooter franchises of all time and has continued to grow over the years. The most recent Call of Duty title to drop is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, released in November of 2020.
Total: $27 billion
From games alone: $6.2 billion
Release Date: December 3, 1984
Eternal Dragon, by your name, I summon forth a $27 billion franchise! That's right; the Dragon Ball franchise is one of the biggest out there, with $6.2 billion coming in from games. This franchise started as a one-off manga by Akira Toriyama for the Shonen Jump magazine. It quickly flourished into a full-length series--complete with an anime and several video games. The most recent title released is Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Total: $38 billion
Release Date: July 14, 1983
Jumping into third place is the world's favorite plumber—Mario. The Super Mario franchise is worth over $38 billion. It's well known for Mario, the main character and mascot of parent company Nintendo. The most recent Mario title released is Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch.
Total: $70 billion
From games alone: $6 billion
Release Date: May 25, 1977
The force is seriously strong with this franchise. Star Wars is best known as a series of space-based adventure movies, first released in the late '70s. However, this sci-fi classic also comes with a plethora of video game content. Starting with arcade cabinets, Star Wars games have evolved over numerous consoles, platforms, and systems touching on a huge range of genres throughout the years. There are Star Wars RPGs, MMOs, racing games, and more.
The Star Wars franchise has amassed over $70 billion in revenue, with $6 billion of that coming from games. The most recent Star Wars video game released is Star Wars Squadrons.
Total: $100 billion
From games alone: $19 billion
Release Date: February 1996
When the Pokemon team pushed the slogan "Gotta catch 'em all," little did we know they meant revenue. This franchise began with the release of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Green for the Game Boy in 1996. The team has brought in over $100 billion, with $19 billion of that coming from games alone. The most recent releases from the Pokemon franchise are Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Video gaming has been around since the earliest days of computer systems, but since the 1980s, it has become a de facto part of the daily experience for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.