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Video game value

Gaming has been a popular hobby since Nintendo released its first console way back in 1983, and the consistent rise in game and console quality has only added to its popularity. In 2020, 2.69 billion people worldwide were considered to be active gamers, with that figure expected to surpass 3 billion in 2023.
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Image of a gaming keyboard & xbox controller with the overlay - Video Game Value

With the global gaming market set to reach $268 billion by 2025, we set out to identify the games and developers that are making the most money. From the most expensive franchises to own, top-selling video games, highest-earning esports players and developers, this report details everything you want to know about video games. 

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The most expensive video game franchises to own

Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to own every game and its downloadable content (DLC) in your favourite video game franchise series?

By combining the number and cost of all games and DLC currently available within each of 25 biggest gaming franchises, this report has calculated which franchises are the most expensive to own if you purchased every release.

Call of Duty is the most expensive video game franchise to own with a total cost of £6,432. This is followed by Lego, and Assassin's Creed.
1. Call of Duty
Series start year - 2003
Total games and DLC currently available - 276
Total cost - £6,432

Fortunately for Call of Duty fans, this series currently offers the biggest choice of games and DLC on this list, with 276 titles and extras for sale. Unfortunately for Call of Duty fans, owning all 276 of these related products would cost a whopping £6,432.

This first-person shooter was originally set during the events of World War II, however, as the series has evolved, more recent titles have seen stories set during modern events, such as the Cold War and even outer space.

2. Lego
Series start year - 1997
Total games and DLC currently available - 215
Total cost - £4,242

The Lego franchise comes in second as the most expensive franchise to purchase in its entirety. The 215 titles and DLC for the Lego franchise currently on offer sum up to a whopping total of £4,242.

Lego benefits from its ability to jump onto any other franchise. Be it Harry Potter, Marvel, Indiana Jones, or Batman, you can be sure Lego will look to create a cross-over game for its franchise. The most recent game is Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

3. Assassin's Creed
Series start year - 2007
Total games and DLC currently available - 127
Total cost - £3,917

Assassin's Creed games have been a hit with fans and critics alike since its conception in 2007. There are 127 titles and extras currently available across consoles, coming to a staggering £3,917 total cost. 

Assassin's Creed is a mix of historical and science fiction and captures the millennial-long struggle for freedom and control between the Assassins and the religious order of the Knights Templar. There are three main storylines to play through over ten main titles.

RankFranchiseSeries start yearTotal Games and DLC Currently AvailableTotal Cost
1Call of Duty2003276£6,432
3Assassin's Creed2007127£3,917
5Tom Clancy1997137£3,029
9Star Wars1983120£1,755
12Need for Speed199460£1,156
15Formula 1199231£1,048
16PGA Tour Golf199023£728
17Crash Bandicoot199621£691
20Grand Theft Auto199727£647
21Tomb Raider199653£621
24Harry Potter20017£219

The top-selling video games of the last decade

The 2010s was an excellent decade for gamers, with some massive titles being released. But which of our most trending games of the last ten years have been the most successful, selling the most copies since their release?

Grand Theft Auto V is the top-selling video game of the last decade, having sold 165 million copies. This is followed by PUBG: Battlegrounds, and Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe.
 1. ​​Grand Theft Auto V - 165 million sales to date

Grand Theft Auto 5, or GTA V, takes the top spot as the best-selling game of the last decade. Released in September 2013, GTA V has racked up an astounding 165 million sales globally. Despite releasing in 2013, GTA V’s top-selling year was 2020, when the title sold over 20 million copies, likely due to global lockdown restrictions. During the month of May 2020, the title was also free for a limited time, adding to the total downloads that year. 

GTA V has received tremendous fan and critical acclaim since its release, solidifying it as one of the greatest games of current times. Its online component still regularly receives updates from Rockstar Games and the title has survived three generations of consoles, which is no mean feat.

2. PUBG: Battlegrounds (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) - 75 million sales to date

In second place is Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds which has sold 75 million copies since its release in December 2017, making it the second best-selling title in the last 10 years. PUBG is a huge draw for Steam, and the game peaked at almost 3.24 million concurrent players in January 2018. 

Considered the first major Battle Royale game, PUBG sees up to 100 players parachute onto an island to scavenge weapons and equipment in order to kill all other players (or teams) on the island. PUBG is the best-selling video game on both PC and Xbox One and the second best-selling video game across all platforms of the last 10 years.

3. Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe - 53.79 million sales to date

MK8 Deluxe's total lifetime sales reached a massive 45.33 million at the end of 2021. Combined with sales of the original Mario Kart 8, this game has sold 53.79 million copies to date and is the third highest-selling video game of the last ten years. 

Mario Kart 8 was the first Mario game developed for the Nintendo Switch and has proved to be one of the most popular games of the last decade. The deluxe version of the game adds several additional characters and courses, as well as even more options for Battle Mode.

RankThe top-selling games released in the last decadeSales to date (millions)
1GTA V165
2PUBG: Battlegrounds75
3Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe53.79
4Red Dead Redemption 244
5The Witcher 3 / Hearts of Stone / Blood and Wine40
6Animal Crossing: New Horizons38.64
7FIFA 2131
8Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered30.78
9Human: Fall Flat30
10Super Smash Bros. Ultimate27.4
11The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild26.55
12Borderlands 226
13Pokémon Sun / Moon + Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon25.37
14Pokémon Sword / Shield24.27
15Call of Duty: Black Ops 224.2
16Super Mario Odyssey23.5
17Sims 420
18Call of Duty: Ghosts19
19FIFA 1518.03
20FIFA 1417.31
21FIFA 1717.02
22FIFA 1816.92
23FIFA 1615.82
24FIFA 1315.36
25Call of Duty: Black Ops 315
25Battlefield 115
27Call of Duty: WWII13.4
28FIFA 1912.22
29Assassin's Creed III12

The highest-earning video game companies of 2021

It’s estimated that over 2.5 billion people play video games worldwide, and that number continues to rise. Therefore, you can rightly expect that the biggest video game companies make some serious cash off this industry. But which of them are currently making the most?

Tencent is the highest-earning video game company of 2021, with a revenue of $27 billion. They are followed by Sony and Microsft.
1. Tencent
2021 revenue from gaming - $27 billion
Revenue per second - $856
Revenue per minute - $51,370
Revenue per hour - $3,082,192

The video game company which generated the highest revenue last year was Tencent. Currently estimated at a $395.31 billion market cap, Tencent produces iconic games such as Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, League of Legends, and DOTA 2.

Tencent generated $27 billion in revenue from its video game investments over 2021. This equates to an impressive $856 in revenue earned every second during 2021 for Tencent, or $3,082,192 every hour!

2. Sony
2021 revenue from gaming - $24.87 billion
Revenue per second - $789
Revenue per minute - $47,317
Revenue per hour - $2,839,041

In runner-up position for highest revenue generated from video games is Sony, who earned $24.87 billion in revenue last year. This means that during 2021, Sony generated $47,317 every minute and $789 every second.

Sony’s market cap currently stands at $105.88 billion, meaning much more of its revenue comes from video games compared to others on this list. Sony is responsible for popular titles such as Uncharted, God of War, Gran Turismo, and The Last Of Us.

3. Microsoft
2021 revenue from gaming - $16.28 billion
Revenue per second - $516
Revenue per minute - $30,974
Revenue per hour - $1,858,447

Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in the world with a market cap of $1.883 trillion, is the producer of titles such as Halo, Gears of War, and Forza Motorsport.

Microsoft made $16.28 billion in revenue over 2021, making it the company generating the third-highest revenue from video games. Every hour, Microsoft generated a whopping $1,858,447 in revenue.

RankCompany2021 Gaming Revenue
7Activision Blizz$8.80bn
8Electronic Arts$5.63bn
9Take 2 Interact$3.37bn

Esports earnings

Esports is a rapidly growing organised gaming competition, and the best professional players in each game can make some serious cash via winning in competitive events. Esports sees a massive audience of around 456 million people every year.

Fancy yourself a top-of-your-game gamer? Here are the players making the most money in esports and the games offering the most prize money to the highest-earning players over the last year.

The highest earning players in esports

Yatoro is the highest earning player in Esports, having earned over $3 million. They are followed by Collapse, Miposhka, Torontotokyo, and Mira.
1. Yatoro 
Total earned - $3,691,356
Game - Dota 2

The highest esports earner of the last year is player Yatoro, who has earned an incredible $3.6 million from winning competitions on Dota 2. Yatoro plays for Russian Esports organization Team Spirit and holds several Dota 2 records.

2. Collapse, Miposhka, and TORONTOTOKYO
Total earned - $3,691,300 each
Game - Dota 2

Collapse, Miposhka, and TORONTOTOKYO earn joint runner-up positions for most earned on esports, each earning a whopping $3,691,300, just $56 behind Yatoro. All three are also members of Team Spirit.

3. Mira
Total earned - $3,686,940
Game - Dota 2

In third place comes Mira, another Ukrainian Dota 2 player, who has earned $3,686,940 in prize money over the last 365 days. Mira managed to get in as the last player to be added to the ‘The International 2021’ tournament-winning roster of Team Spirit.

RankPlayer IDTotal EarningsHighest Paying Game
1Yatoro$3,691,356Dota 2
2TORONTOTOKYO$3,691,300Dota 2
2Miposhka$3,691,300Dota 2
2Collapse$3,691,300Dota 2
5Mira$3,686,940Dota 2
7y`$1,138,780Dota 2
7XinQ$1,138,780Dota 2
7Faith_bian$1,138,780Dota 2
7Ame$1,138,780Dota 2
11NothingToSay$1,098,880Dota 2
12Zai$744,080Dota 2
12Matumbaman$744,080Dota 2
14YapzOr$741,292Dota 2
14Puppey$741,292Dota 2
14Nisha$741,292Dota 2
17s1mple$726,533Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
18B1t$725,883Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
18Perfecto$725,883Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
18electroNic$725,883Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The most profitable esports games of the last year

Analysing earnings of the current top 500 esports players and the most profitable esports games for players have been revealed.

Dota 2 is the most profitable esports game of the last year, with earnings of over $42 million. This is followed by Arena of Valor, and PUBG: Battlegrounds Mobile.
1. Dota 2
Total earned - $42,943,344
No. Players - 84

Unsurprisingly, Dota 2 ranks highest as the most profitable game for professional players. Of the 451 highest-earning players, 84 made their winnings on Dota 2 and earned an incredible combined total of $42.9 million.

The multiplayer online battle arena, Dota 2, was released in 2013 and has since become one of the biggest esports games out there. Dota 2 sees teams from all around the world play in various competitive professional leagues and tournaments. 

2. Arena of Valor
Total Earned - $12,470,869
No. Players - 57

Arena of Valor ranks as the second most profitable game for esports players, the top 57 of which have earned $12.4 million playing this game competitively. 

Arena of Valor was one of six esports games to feature at the 2018 Asian and 2019 Southeast Asian Games, as well as 2021’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and SEA Games. This multiplayer online battle arena game was first developed for mobile. 

Total Earned - $12,130,560
No. Players - 67

The third most profitable game is PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Mobile, where 67 of the top players have earned $12.1 million. Interestingly, this is much more than the 19 players of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS have earned ($3,658,113).

This free-to-play battle royale video game is a mobile adaptation of PUBG: Battlegrounds, the second most sold game of the last decade. PUBG Mobile also breaks records as the fourth highest-grossing mobile game, grossing over $8.42 billion.

RankGameTotal EarnedNo. Players From Top 500
1Dota 2$42,943,34484
2Arena of Valor$12,470,86957
4Counter-Strike: Global Offensive$8,396,88934
7Rocket League$2,644,30122
8Rainbow Six Siege$2,334,93219
9League of Legends$2,061,71519
11League of Legends: Wild Rift$1,393,94311
12Apex Legends$1,314,91810
14StarCraft II$660,3195
15Naraka: Bladepoint$612,0003
16Free Fire$521,6615
19Brawl Stars$400,0004
20FIFA 22$350,0002
21Magic: The Gathering Arena$301,5003
22Call of Duty: Warzone$291,0513
23F1 2021$263,8133
24Teamfight Tactics$182,7001$108,5501
26Summoners War: Sky Arena$100,0001

The most profitable esports games of all time

All time prize money earnings have also been revealed. Here are the games that have handed out the most prize money since their entrance into esports.

Dota 2 is the most profitable esports game of all time, with earnings of over $289 million. This is followed by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Fortnite.
1. Dota 2
Total prize money awarded - $289,160,497
Players won - 4,400
Tournaments - 1,666

Dota 2 ranks highest as the most profitable game for professional players, not just for this last year, but of all time. Since it began in 2013 Dota 2 competitions have dished out a staggering $289 million to professional players all over the world.

2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Total prize money awarded - $138,112,918
Players won - 15,028
Tournaments - 6,308

The second most profitable esports game is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which saw professional players earn a whopping $138 million. The fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, Global Offensive was released in 2012.

3. Fortnite
Total prize money awarded - $131,764,516
Players won - 5,192
Tournaments - 811

Fortnite rounds off the top three most profitable games of all time, with 5,192 professional players earning $131 million between them. Released in 2017, Fortnite was a massive hit and is catching up with the top games in this list after just a few years.

RankGameTotal Prize MoneyPlayers WonTournaments
1Dota 2$289,160,4974,4001,666
2Counter-Strike: Global Offensive$138,112,91815,0286,308
4League of Legends$93,369,1648,2962,707
5Arena of Valor$53,415,5491,168110
6PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Mobile$47,196,4352,874177
8StarCraft II$37,540,3532,1446,509
11Rainbow Six Siege$25,460,4672,324420
12Rocket League$21,615,7282,1472,084
13Heroes of the Storm$18,325,6481,278479
15Apex Legends$12,692,9801,637462
18Free Fire$11,459,1741,23961
19Call of Duty: Warzone$9,434,5321,157323

Gaming price changes over time

Investigating 20 of the best-selling games of the last decade, the franchises which have increased in price the most have been revealed. Using the magic of the Wayback Machine, this report has recorded the price of the oldest game released in each franchise within the last ten years. Comparing this to the price of the latest release today, the percentage increase in game prices for these big franchises has been uncovered.

Pokemon has seen the greatest game price increase at 79%. This is followed by Need for Speed, and Formula 1.
1. Pokemon
2012 release - Pokemon Black & White 2 cost - £27.99
Latest release - Pokémon Legends: Arceus cost - £49.99
Percentage change - 79%

The oldest game in the Pokemon franchise within the last ten years is Pokémon Black & White 2, which was released worldwide on the 12 October 2012 for £27.99. More recently, Pokémon Legends: Arceus was released on 28 January 2022 with a price tag of £49.99. Pokemon demonstrates a 79% increase in its game’s cost over the last ten years. 

2. Need for Speed
2012 release - Need for Speed: Most Wanted cost - £37.99
Latest release - Need for Speed Heat (2019) cost - £59.99
Percentage change - 58%

Need for Speed: Most Wanted was released on October 30th, 2012, at a price of £37.99. The 2019 version of Need for Speed Heat, released on October 17th 2019, cost gamers £59.99 to own. This is a 58% increase from 2012 to 2019.

3. Formula 1
2012 release - F1 2012 cost - £34.99
Latest release - F1 22 cost - £54.99
Percentage change - 57%

Formula 1 released F1 2012 on the 18th of September 2012 and charged gamers £34.99. By the time F1 22 was released some 10 years later on the 28th of June 2022, the franchise was charging gamers £54.99 for its latest game. Formula demonstrates a 57% increase in prices.

RankFranchiseOldest Game Within the Last 10 YearsCostNewest GameCost% Difference
1PokemonPokémon Black & White 2£27.99Pokémon Legends: Arceus£49.9978.60%
2Need for SpeedNeed for Speed: Most Wanted£37.99Need for Speed Heat (2019)£59.9957.90%
3Formula 1F1 2012£34.99F1 22£54.9957.20%
4MarioNew Super Mario Bros. 2£29.99Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury£44.9950.00%
5DCLego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes£34.99LEGO DC Super-Villains£49.9942.90%
5LegoLego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes£34.99LEGO Star Wars: Skywalker Saga (2021)£49.9942.90%
7FIFAFIFA 13£42.99FIFA 22£59.9939.50%
8ForzaForza Horizon£39.99Forza Horizon 5£54.9937.50%
8HaloHalo 4£39.99Halo Infinite£54.9937.50%
10Crash BandicootCrash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy£29.99Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time£39.9933.30%
11Tom ClancyTom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier£44.99The Division 2£59.9933.30%
11Call of DutyCall of Duty: Black Ops 2£44.99Call of Duty: Vanguard£59.9933.30%
13SonicSonic Lost World£34.99Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020£44.9928.60%
14PGA Tour GolfTiger Woods PGA Tour 13£39.99PGA Tour 2K21£49.9925.00%
15Assassin's CreedAssassin's Creed III£47.99Assassin's Creed Valhalla£59.9925.00%
16Star WarsStar Wars Battlefront£44.99LEGO Star Wars: Skywalker Saga (2021)£49.9911.10%
17MarvelThe Amazing Spider-Man£39.99Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy£42.997.50%
18ZeldaThe Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD£44.99The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD£44.990.00%
19WWE/WWF/WrestlemaniaWWE '13£37.99WWE 2K22£32.99-13.20%
20BattlefieldBattlefield 4£49.99Battlefield 2042£42.99-14.00%

Despite the rise in exceptional games, immersive experiences, and the sheer diversity of choice in the current gaming market, sometimes, the classics are still the best. 

For many of us, old retro games hold tremendous sentimental value, and this paired with their increasing rarity means some of these titles can command massive prices.

We took a list of the 30 most popular retro games to find which were currently the most expensive.

Duck Hunt is the most expensive popular retro video game, valued at $11,243. This is followed by Contra and Metroid.
1. Duck Hunt - $11,243

Duck Hunt, released in 1984, is a shooter game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. A retro copy of Duck Hunt for the NES will set you back a staggering $11,243, and it is the only game on this list that will run you a five-figure cost. 

Players shoot ducks that appear one or two at a time. You get three chances to shoot them down and receive points for shooting each duck. Shoot the required number of ducks to progress to the next round, otherwise, it's game over.

2. Contra - $8,500

Contra, also developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System, will cost you around $8,500 to purchase today. In the US, Contra was one of the four highest-grossing arcade games of 1987. 

Contra is a run-and-gun shooter video game allowing two people to play simultaneously. Players lose lives if their character is hit by enemies or their missiles, they fail to complete a base stage within the time limit, or they fall into a bottomless pit.

3. Metroid - $6,519

Metroid will cost you a whopping $6,519 to purchase today on the Nintendo Entertainment System, making it the third most expensive retro game out of our 30 most popular games. 

Well known for its isolated atmosphere, featuring few non-player characters, this action-adventure game you play as a bounty hunter defending the galaxy from Space Pirates and other malevolent forces. 

RankRetro GameHighest PriceSystem
1Duck Hunt$11,243Nintendo Entertainment System
2Contra$8,500Nintendo Entertainment System
3Metroid$6,519Nintendo Entertainment System
4The Legend of Zelda$5,481Nintendo Entertainment System
5Super Mario Bros.$3,726Nintendo Entertainment System
6Tecmo Bowl$2,134Nintendo Entertainment System
7Excitebike$2,083Nintendo Entertainment System
8Mega Man 2$1,909PAL Super Nintendo
9Super Mario Bros. 3$1,880PAL NES
10Mortal Kombat II$1,777Super Nintendo
11Super Street Fighter II$1,764Super Nintendo
12Punch-Out!!$1,424PAL NES
13Contra: Hard Corps$1,255JP Sega Mega Drive
14Kid Icarus$1,076Nintendo Entertainment System
15Adventure Island II$1,044Super Nintendo
16Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse$984Nintendo Entertainment System
17Sonic the Hedgehog 2$886Sega Genesis
18Dr. Mario$850JP GameBoy
19Streets of Rage 2$667PAL Sega Master System
20Phantasy Star IV$625PAL Sega Mega Drive
21Gunstar Heroes$600JP Playstation 2
22Ecco the Dolphin$456Sega Genesis
23Shining Force II$440Sega Genesis
24Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master$411PAL Sega Mega Drive
25Beyond Oasis$406Sega Genesis
26Castlevania: Bloodlines$295Sega Genesis
27Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine$263PAL Sega Master System
28A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia$195Nintendo Entertainment System
29Toejam and Earl$127Sega Genesis


Methodology and sources

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Creative Commons

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