I was browsing Reddit and stumbled onto a post by EconomicsBob who had created the following charts which show the best selling video games every year between 1980 and 2016. There’s two charts, one that includes games made by Nintendo and one that excludes them. You’ll notice on the second chart that games for Nintendo consoles are still the top sellers but those games were made by third party companies like Square and Enix.
The source of his data was from VGchartz.com. A few fun things I noticed…
Grand Theft Auto V was apparently so good that it was the top seller two years in a row in 2013 and 2014.
Some of the best sellers in certain years sold less units total than the previous year. Considering the gaming industry has been growing for the last 37 years, I would have thought the best seller numbers would have been higher for each year too. Consider 1990 when Super Mario World sold 20 million copies, the next year The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past couldn’t even sell 5 million copies in 1991. If I had a chart of total game cartridge sales by year, we could probably see if the industry slid that year or not. It is also possible that in 1991 there were just a heck of a lot more titles released and Zelda was just the best seller among numerous titles battling for market share.