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Nintendo holds key to franchise longevity, profitability

super marioAs noted earlier, a list published by UK newspaper The Independent reveals what many already assume; Nintendo's Mario is the best-selling franchise of all time. Coupled with the second best-selling franchise Pokémon (also a Nintendo property), the two series, which have sold a combined 348 million games worldwide, account for nearly 34% of the total sales of the top-twenty best-selling franchises; which include two additional Nintendo IPs ranked in the top ten, Donkey Kong and Zelda. So what's Nintendo's secret?

Cross-culture appeal, spin-offs (e.g., racers, sports titles, puzzlers), brand saturation (e.g., apparel, card games, TV shows), and E-ratings all appear part of a profitable formula built for the long haul.

The list:

  1. Mario (Nintendo): 193 million (games sold worldwide)
  2. Pokémon (Nintendo): 155 million
  3. Final Fantasy (Square Enix): 68 million
  4. Madden NFL (Electronic Arts): 56 million
  5. The Sims (Maxis/Electronic Arts): 54 million
  6. Grand Theft Auto (Rockstar): 50 million
  7. Donkey Kong (Nintendo): 48 million
  8. The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo): 47 million
  9. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega): 44 million
  10. Gran Turismo (Sony): 44 million
  11. Lineage (NCsoft): 43 million
  12. Dragon Quest (Square Enix): 41 million
  13. Crash Bandicoot (Sony/Vivendi): 34 million
  14. Resident Evil (Capcom): 31 million
  15. James Bond (Various): 30 million
  16. Tomb Raider (Eidos Interactive): 30 million
  17. Mega Man (Capcom): 26 million
  18. Command & Conquer (Westwood Studios/Electronic Arts): 25 million
  19. Street Fighter (Capcom): 25 million
  20. Mortal Kombat (Midway): 20 million

Note: James Bond is the only licensed franchise to crack the top twenty. Madden and Bond are the only licensed franchises to crack the top twenty.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.