It's no secret Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto have dominated the video game landscape for the past two decades, but it's actually absurd just how much Call of Duty has dominated the industry over the years, and if it weren't for Grand Theft Auto V, it'd be the third-party king. The NPD group has revealed (via IGN) the top 10 best-selling third-party games across all Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms over the past 20 years in the United States. And, as you would expect, the best-selling third-party game of the last 20 years across the trio of consoles is Grand Theft Auto V, which is the second best-selling game of all-time, behind only Minecraft.
Behind Grand Theft Auto V, is seven Call of Duty games and two Rock Band games. That's it. Other than Rock Band and Grand Theft Auto V, it's all Call of Duty. Below, you can view the entire top ten.
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Rock Band
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- Call of Duty: WWII
Again, it's important to note this is for the United States market only, and it's based on total dollar sales. Further, digital game sales only started to be included in 2012, and not all publishers report all numbers. In other words, it's slightly imperfect, but it still paints the picture. People really like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. And people also used to really like Rock Band.
It's also worth pointing out that Grand Theft Auto V is the best-selling game across all titles, meaning across first and third-party releases. It's also the best-selling game on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
As for why Minecraft isn't on this list, it's presumably because a bulk of its sales have been on the PC. As mentioned above, it's the only game that has sold more copies than GTA V.
Anyway, as always, feel free to leave a comment or two with you thoughts. Does this list surprise you?