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Nintendo holds key to franchise longevity, profitability


As 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.

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