The video game industry is currently controlled by three behemoths, namely Sony (Play Station), Microsoft (Xbox) and Nintendo (Switch). According to a report from Statista, the value of the global video games market is set to reach $138.4 billion in 2021, up from $52.8 billion that it was back in 2012. That is a staggering increase, considering that most other industries have seen a huge drop in the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But did you know how different the video game landscape was back during the last four decades? While the late 1970s was dominated by games that came in their arcade version, most notably Space Invaders, the 1980s was a completely different ball game. The early part of the decade was led by Atari, but then Nintendo made its appearance felt with high quality games that reignited the industry. The best-selling games of the decade were as follows: 1) Super Mario Bros, 2) Tetris on Game Boy), 3) Duck Hunt, 4) Super Mario Land, 5) Super Mario Bros. 3, 6) Tetris on the NES console, 7) Super Mario Bros. 2, 8) Pac-Man, 9) The Legend of Zelda and at 10) Space Invaders.
The decade was full of new genre games, including the launch of super popular first-person shooter and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, more platforms, and the slow demise of arcade games, as home consoles became even more accessible. The top ten most purchased games were overshadowed by a series of different titles from Pokémon in positions 1, 2 and 6 and Super Mario in 3, 7, 8, 10. Both titles were released from Nintendo. Other titles that made it into the list included Lemmings at number 4, Sonic the Hedgehog at 5 from Sega and Grand Turismo at 9 from Sony Computer Entertainment for the original PlayStation.
The two main talking points of the decade included the decision from Sega to withdraw from the console war, while a new entrant, in the form of the Xbox from Microsoft. The release of Wii in 2006 from Nintendo, which followed the disappointing release of their GameCube platform, was another talking point, as the cheap price and the fact that it targeted a younger audience, saw the console sell like hot cupcakes. The top ten is conquered by 6 titles exclusively for Wii, namely Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, Wii Sports Resort, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Wii Play. The only other four titles to make it into the list included another Super Mario, two Grand Theft Auto titles from Rockstar Games and Nintendogs.
Unlike previous decades, and with influences from pop culture, the list was notable because all the games were available across all gaming consoles. At the top of the list is Minecraft from Xbox Game Studios with 180 million copies sold, followed by Grand Theft Auto V, PUBG, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Diablo III and Reaper of Souls, Terraria, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Another highlight of the decade is that in 2017, the popular Street Fighter II game, developed by Capcom, was estimated to have grossed over $10 billion in total revenue, making it one of the three highest grossing games ever. Gambling software providers took notice and due to its popularity, NetEnt decided to launch a slot machine based on the game that is now available at some of the best casino sites, reminding the new generation of some of the most iconic fighting characters.
It should be interesting to see which games make it to the top ten at the end of this decade, with the video game industry having a greater evolution than ever before.