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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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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Franchise||Series start year||Total Games and DLC Currently Available||Total Cost|
|1||Call of Duty||2003||276||£6,432|
|12||Need for Speed||1994||60||£1,156|
|16||PGA Tour Golf||1990||23||£728|
|20||Grand Theft Auto||1997||27||£647|
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 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||The top-selling games released in the last decade||Sales to date (millions)|
|3||Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe||53.79|
|4||Red Dead Redemption 2||44|
|5||The Witcher 3 / Hearts of Stone / Blood and Wine||40|
|6||Animal Crossing: New Horizons||38.64|
|8||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered||30.78|
|9||Human: Fall Flat||30|
|10||Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||27.4|
|11||The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||26.55|
|13||Pokémon Sun / Moon + Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon||25.37|
|14||Pokémon Sword / Shield||24.27|
|15||Call of Duty: Black Ops 2||24.2|
|16||Super Mario Odyssey||23.5|
|18||Call of Duty: Ghosts||19|
|25||Call of Duty: Black Ops 3||15|
|27||Call of Duty: WWII||13.4|
|29||Assassin's Creed III||12|
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?
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!
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.
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.
|Rank||Company||2021 Gaming Revenue|
|9||Take 2 Interact||$3.37bn|
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 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Player ID||Total Earnings||Highest Paying Game|
|17||s1mple||$726,533||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
|18||B1t||$725,883||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
|18||Perfecto||$725,883||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
|18||electroNic||$725,883||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
Analysing earnings of the current top 500 esports players and the most profitable esports games for players have been revealed.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Total Earned||No. Players From Top 500|
|2||Arena of Valor||$12,470,869||57|
|3||PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Mobile||$12,130,560||67|
|4||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||$8,396,889||34|
|8||Rainbow Six Siege||$2,334,932||19|
|9||League of Legends||$2,061,715||19|
|11||League of Legends: Wild Rift||$1,393,943||11|
|21||Magic: The Gathering Arena||$301,500||3|
|22||Call of Duty: Warzone||$291,051||3|
|26||Summoners War: Sky Arena||$100,000||1|
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 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Total Prize Money||Players Won||Tournaments|
|2||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||$138,112,918||15,028||6,308|
|4||League of Legends||$93,369,164||8,296||2,707|
|5||Arena of Valor||$53,415,549||1,168||110|
|6||PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Mobile||$47,196,435||2,874||177|
|11||Rainbow Six Siege||$25,460,467||2,324||420|
|13||Heroes of the Storm||$18,325,648||1,278||479|
|19||Call of Duty: Warzone||$9,434,532||1,157||323|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Franchise||Oldest Game Within the Last 10 Years||Cost||Newest Game||Cost||% Difference|
|1||Pokemon||Pokémon Black & White 2||£27.99||Pokémon Legends: Arceus||£49.99||78.60%|
|2||Need for Speed||Need for Speed: Most Wanted||£37.99||Need for Speed Heat (2019)||£59.99||57.90%|
|3||Formula 1||F1 2012||£34.99||F1 22||£54.99||57.20%|
|4||Mario||New Super Mario Bros. 2||£29.99||Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury||£44.99||50.00%|
|5||DC||Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes||£34.99||LEGO DC Super-Villains||£49.99||42.90%|
|5||Lego||Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes||£34.99||LEGO Star Wars: Skywalker Saga (2021)||£49.99||42.90%|
|7||FIFA||FIFA 13||£42.99||FIFA 22||£59.99||39.50%|
|8||Forza||Forza Horizon||£39.99||Forza Horizon 5||£54.99||37.50%|
|8||Halo||Halo 4||£39.99||Halo Infinite||£54.99||37.50%|
|10||Crash Bandicoot||Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy||£29.99||Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time||£39.99||33.30%|
|11||Tom Clancy||Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier||£44.99||The Division 2||£59.99||33.30%|
|11||Call of Duty||Call of Duty: Black Ops 2||£44.99||Call of Duty: Vanguard||£59.99||33.30%|
|13||Sonic||Sonic Lost World||£34.99||Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020||£44.99||28.60%|
|14||PGA Tour Golf||Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13||£39.99||PGA Tour 2K21||£49.99||25.00%|
|15||Assassin's Creed||Assassin's Creed III||£47.99||Assassin's Creed Valhalla||£59.99||25.00%|
|16||Star Wars||Star Wars Battlefront||£44.99||LEGO Star Wars: Skywalker Saga (2021)||£49.99||11.10%|
|17||Marvel||The Amazing Spider-Man||£39.99||Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy||£42.99||7.50%|
|18||Zelda||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD||£44.99||The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD||£44.99||0.00%|
|19||WWE/WWF/Wrestlemania||WWE '13||£37.99||WWE 2K22||£32.99||-13.20%|
|20||Battlefield||Battlefield 4||£49.99||Battlefield 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, 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Retro Game||Highest Price||System|
|1||Duck Hunt||$11,243||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|2||Contra||$8,500||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|3||Metroid||$6,519||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|4||The Legend of Zelda||$5,481||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|5||Super Mario Bros.||$3,726||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|6||Tecmo Bowl||$2,134||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|7||Excitebike||$2,083||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|8||Mega Man 2||$1,909||PAL Super Nintendo|
|9||Super Mario Bros. 3||$1,880||PAL NES|
|10||Mortal Kombat II||$1,777||Super Nintendo|
|11||Super Street Fighter II||$1,764||Super Nintendo|
|13||Contra: Hard Corps||$1,255||JP Sega Mega Drive|
|14||Kid Icarus||$1,076||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|15||Adventure Island II||$1,044||Super Nintendo|
|16||Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse||$984||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|17||Sonic the Hedgehog 2||$886||Sega Genesis|
|18||Dr. Mario||$850||JP GameBoy|
|19||Streets of Rage 2||$667||PAL Sega Master System|
|20||Phantasy Star IV||$625||PAL Sega Mega Drive|
|21||Gunstar Heroes||$600||JP Playstation 2|
|22||Ecco the Dolphin||$456||Sega Genesis|
|23||Shining Force II||$440||Sega Genesis|
|24||Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master||$411||PAL Sega Mega Drive|
|25||Beyond Oasis||$406||Sega Genesis|
|26||Castlevania: Bloodlines||$295||Sega Genesis|
|27||Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine||$263||PAL Sega Master System|
|28||A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia||$195||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|29||Toejam and Earl||$127||Sega Genesis|
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