As if there is any question as to what the current best selling video game franchise in the world is. Grand Theft Auto has been tearing up the sales charts for a few years now and has been taking swipes at the only two franchises in front of it, Pokemon and Mario. The gap between them has become just that much closer.
In a recent SEC report filed by Take-Two Interactive, the company revealed that it has shipped 220 million copies of its franchise to date. That’s nearly a quarter of a billion people, and what’s more impressive is that Grand Theft Auto V alone makes up for exactly a quarter of that figure with its recorded 54 million copies.
Where does the 220 million fit on the overall grand scale of video game history? As mentioned before, only Pokemon and Mario stand above it, but the gap remains pretty large. Pokemon has an estimated 270 million games out there to date, and it tends to launch at about 10 million units every year. 2015 is a rare break for Nintendo’s money making franchise.
The 54 million copies of Grand Theft Auto V is impressive, but keep in mind that this is not an annual figure. It took five years to develop Grand Theft Auto V, a next-gen port the following year, and a PC port this year to get it to this point. Pokemon’s frequent and successful releases give it an edge in terms of padding the numbers.
As for Mario, the series has sold over 500 million games total, which is just a little ridiculous. The core Super Mario Bros. series though has sold a bit shy of 300 million, and it’s always tough to predict if the next one will be a hit these days. Mainstream audiences love the New Super Mario Bros. games, but the critical success lies in the other major games like Galaxy and 3D World.
Depending the direction Nintendo takes from here on out, we’ll be able to estimate the rate at which Mario will climb.
Still, Grand Theft Auto’s impressive climb to the top of the video game scene has been unprecedented. Only time will tell how high it gets.