Highest Grossing Video Games of All Time

Last updated: 5/12/2024
7 minutes read

Every form of media has its legends. From Star Wars to The Old Man and the Sea, the best of the best drive deep into the cultural zeitgeist, reaching far beyond their often-humble roots. The same can be said about the most popular video games which, for better or worse, often influence the gaming trajectories of the following generations.

Looking at the trending games right now, we see a microcosm of how the industry operates. Games borrow from the successful, they evolve, and they fight for position. Sometimes games that follow in the footsteps of the old reach new heights as top grossing games, while other times they miss the mark and fade into obscurity.

If we were to choose the best games based on market success, then the standouts would be the titles that earned the most. The highest grossing games are, after all, successful for a reason, and a lot of this is their appeal to fans.

With that understood, we want to explore the top grossing games of all time, and what makes these games special. Remember, these are adjusted for inflation, and the highest grossing games of all time aren't necessarily the best selling games of all time!

Top Grossing Games of All Time

1 – Space Invaders

  • Released 1978
  • $30,000,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: Shmup

To the surprise of none of our, shall we say, "veteran" players, Space Invaders finds its place at the top of this list. This top-down alien-blasting shoot-em-up found success by being the first title that brought arcade games to the masses. Space Invaders was the first video game many people had ever seen, offering cutting-edge technology that seemed like magic come to life. Though obviously dated by today's standards, the gross of Space Invaders speaks for itself.

2 – Pac-Man

  • Released 1980
  • $25,000,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: Maze                                                                                                                                                           

Pac-Man arrived from the success of Space Invaders and introduced a less violent but equally fascinating take on arcade gameplay. As the eponymous Pac-Man you eat pellets and fruit, avoid ghosts, and work your way around a maze to satiate an insatiable appetite. Play Pac-Man and you’ll never forget the sights and sounds of this classic.                                                                                                                            

3 – Dungeon Fighter Online

  • Released 2005
  • $22,000,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: Beat ‘em up

Developed in South Korea, Dungeon Fighter Online is a title many in the West aren't familiar with. This multiplayer side-scrolling beat 'em up has players take on hordes of monsters as a special class as they level up, collect gear, and expand their skills. Interestingly, Dungeon Fighter Online failed in its first American release, despite the title’s overwhelming success in Asia.

4 – Street Fighter 2

  • Released 1991
  • $21,000,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: Fighting

The game that essentially created the fighting game genre, Street Fighter 2 is an arcade classic that can still be found all over the world. Interesting characters, head-to-head gameplay, and the accidental creation of the combo system had SF2 take the world by storm. The series still holds as the king of fighting games today, and it’s all thanks to this humble release all those decades ago.

5 – Fortnite

  • Released 2017
  • $20,000,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: Battle Royale

The original Fortnite was a very different game than what we see today. At first, Fortnite was centered on building a base and fighting off waves of enemies, but the game's financial performance was lacking. The developers pivoted to the battle royale genre, and Fortnite quickly became the biggest name in the business. Drop in with 99 others, collect guns, create buildings, and take part in an expanding story in what is still one of the most popular games today.

6 – Honor of Kings

  • Released 2015
  • $18,600,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: MOBA

Honor of Kings finds its place as the first MOBA game on this list, again much to the surprise of Western players. This title from China operates via the typical MOBA formula, as players select one of many characters, pick a lane, and try to defeat the opposing team's base. Honor of Kings showed that China has what it takes to compete with the best of them, and just how important the Chinese market can be to gaming success.

7 – PUBG: Battlegrounds

  • Released 2017
  • $16,400,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: Battle Royale

Based on an earlier mod for ARMA 2 and 3, PUBG: Battlegrounds, formerly PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, was the first mainstream title to draw the public to the battle royale formula. Players drop from a plane with 99 competitors, fighting off anyone in their way as blue electricity gradually shrinks the battlefield. An absolute revelation that would later be usurped by Fortnite, PUBG still holds a place in many player’s hearts as the best battle royale game ever released.

8 – Lineage

  • Released 1998
  • $15,700,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: MMORPG

Lineage was one of the early hits in the MMORPG market, borrowing heavily from the influence of Ultima Online and Diablo. This title found enormous success in both South Korea and America, plugging a gap in what was then an underserved market. 

The story of Lineage was based on a series of fantasy comic books, and despite its success, was not particularly well-received at launch. Lineage even received a later port to mobiles under the name Lineage M, maintaining the game’s legacy as one of the most successful games of all time.

9 – League of Legends

  • Released 2009
  • $15,250,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: MOBA

League of Legends was one of the first big MOBA games to gain the world’s attention, right after the success of the Defence of the Ancients mods for Warcraft 3. Just as famously, League of Legends is one of the games that proved the viability of free-to-play titles as AAA releases. 

Like other MOBAs, you pick and upgrade your character, fight on lanes, and destroy the enemy's base, all while never having to put down a single cent. Few would have predicted this would go on to become one of the highest grossing games of all time, but LoL didn't let this stand in its way.

10 – CrossFire

  • Released 2007
  • $13,100,000,000 grossed
  • Genre: MMOFPS

The only FPS on this list, CrossFire takes a tactical approach that puts its own twist on classic Counter-Strike combat. This is another title that showed the potential of the free-to-play model, finding enormous success in Asian markets. 

CrossFire has two teams face off against each other as sides of mercenary groups, gaining ranks and unlocking new weapons and skins. Spawning a film adaption and a streaming series, CrossFire is the most profitable game ever released that many diehard players might never have heard of. 

Best Selling Games of All Time

In contrast to the highest grossing games of all time above, here's a list of the top ten games that sold the most copies:

  1. Minecraft – 2011 – 300,000,000
  2. Grand Theft Auto V - 2013 – 195,000,000
  3. Tetris (EA’s version) – 2006– 100,000,000
  4. Wii Sports – 2006 – 83,000,000
  5. PUBG – 2017 – 75,000,000
  6. Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe – 2014 – 69,000,000
  7. Red Dead Redemption 2 – 2018 – 61,000,000
  8. Super Mario Bros. – 1985 – 58,000,000

With the next three results tied:

Overwatch – 2016 – 50,000,000

Human Fall Flat – 2016 – 50,000,000

The Witcher 3 – 2015 – 50,000,000


While it's true that financial success isn't always tied to a product's quality, the above titles do have us wondering if this concept really applies in gaming. Unlike the most disappointing games ever released, the above titles didn't just succeed, they drew in millions of players and changed the face of entertainment for the better.

Whether by creating something entirely new or innovating on existing systems, the best selling games of all time showed that they were more than just flukes. The highest grossing games are a rallying point for gamers, even introducing people never before interested in gaming into the fold.

The most successful games of all time reflect our pasts, our tastes, and where the world stood at the time of release. In a small but important way, they're a measure of humanity, of where we've been and where we're going. The only question is, which of these games will end up as the final highest grossing champion?