Dear VGChartians, because of the thread on Sony entering Nintendo level of sales success and also the one on Monster Hunter World being the highest selling game of Capcom and first to reach 10M I decided to look at the number of games selling over 10M and the number of franchises per publisher/studio.
I was really surprised to see that besides Nintendo domination on the list there were very few games that managed to sell over 10M even launching on all platforms and being very well regarded.
Below we have the number of 10M+ sellers released per gen and publisher (I put Handhelds together on the gen and name the gen after the most selling console of that generation). All considering only VGC numbers, so no digital and some errors.
|NES Gen||SNES GEN||PS1 GEN||PS2 GEN||Wii GEN||PS4 GEN||Total Pub|
Unsurprisingly Nintendo holds almost half the games selling over 10M, and if we "ignore" the big spike on Wii casuals we can see that there have been a increase on 10M gen after gen which can potentially explained by gaming becoming more mainstream but also costs increases making fewer blockbusters releasing thus concentrating sales on those best of the best (just to remember no console is near total sales of SW as PS2 crossing 1.5B).
When we change to see the franchises we can see that also very few franchises have crossed the 10M barrier and usually those have had several releases selling on that high number (even for Nintendo, except of course the one outs on Wii).
Bellow we have the best sold released of franchises under each publisher (not naming which game was the record in that).
Nintendo (12): Wii Sports 82M (probably over 20M even counting just the unbundled sales, was a real beast), Super Mario Bros 40M (would probably do over 20M as well on its own as the best on NES), Mario Kart 36M, Tetris 30M (still supposed to be the record holding game on all platforms), Duck Hunt 28M (holy moses of the flashguns), Nintendogs 25M, Pokemon 31M (and also very consistent at it), Animal Crossing 12M, Brain Training 20M (and making almost a genre for itself on DS), Smash Bros 13M, Zelda 10.5M ( https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2018/180201_2e.pdf ) and Wii Fit 23M (and needing an addon, fantastic). I could separate 3D Mario from the SMB, but we also now they are steady big sellers. Also not needed to say how many genres Nintendo started themselves and some have been almost the only (and usually the best) output there.
Sony (3): Gran Turismo 15M, Uncharted 10M, The Last of Us 17M. Starting simulation and improving the cinematic experience SP games.
MS (3): Halo 12M, Kinect Adventure 22M (yep Kinect sold a lot), Minecraft 30M
EA(4): Fifa 12M, Battlefield 14.5M , Battleground 12M, NFS 16M, The Sims(?)
Ubisoft (1): Just Dance 10M
Activision (6): Call of Duty 30M Guitar Hero 16.5M - https://www.statista.com/statistics/321374/global-all-time-unit-sales-call-of-duty-games/ Overwatch, Diablo, World of Warcraft and StarCraft
Capcom (3): SF 14M, RE 10.5M, MH 10M
SE (1): FF 10M
THQ (2): GTA 100M (Yeah unimaginable to see it beaten by nothing but the next GTA), Borderlands 12M - https://in.ign.com/borderlands-2/74307/news/borderlands-2-sales-pass-the-12-million-mark
Warner Bros (2): Batman Arkham 11M, Lego Batman 10M (scracthed it).
Bethesda (2): Elder Scrolls 36M, Fallout 14.5M
Now looking on this gen and the future these are the franchises on each publisher I can see having a shot of selling 10M (or have already sold)
Nintendo (8): 2D Mario, 3D Mario, Pokemon, Mario Kart, Zelda, Smash Bros, Animal Crossing, Splatoon
Sony (7): The Last of US, Uncharted, God of War, Gran Turismo (can it regrow?), Ghost of Tsushima (can it achieve glory?), Spider-Man (preorders are higher than GoW, record breaking for Sony), Horizon Zero Dawn (if they can outdo themselves they have a shot for another near 10M)
MS (1): Minecraft. Can they reboost Halo and Gears?
EA (1): Fifa, Battlefield, Battleground, The Sims
Ubisoft (0): Can they make Assassins Creed cross the barrier?
Activision (5): Call of Duty, Overwatch - https://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-has-more-than-40-million-players/, Diablo - https://www.polygon.com/2015/8/4/9097497/diablo-3-sales-30-million-units, World of Warcraft - http://ca.ign.com/articles/2010/10/07/world-of-warcraft-reaches-12-million-subscribers and StarCraft
Capcom (1): Monster Hunter (can they sustain?), also can SF or RE redo what they once had in sales?
S-E (1): Final Fantasy
THQ (2): GTA, Read Dead (I think they can make it big in sales as well)
Bethesda (2): Elder Scrolls, Fallout
So seems like that on the variety of franchises Sony have got a level that rivals Nintendo but on sales are still a lot below. The other devs like Rockstar and Activision can have 1 game that sells much over the regular good but so far it seems like Sony have made a firm ground for themselves as finally a selling power on its own platform, very different than in the past where even though they had great games hardly any of them would rival sales with the highest selling 3rd parties (but still the TOP 10 of PS4 is held by 3rd parties, with only Uncharted showing here, which we know is wrong since TLOU sold about 10M in PS4, GoW is close to 10M and HZD is over 7M).
EDIT: Just Checked and yes Warner Brothers had Batman crossing 10M on 3 platforms (marginally) last gen, but won't cross this gen from the outlook. Lego Batman also crossed.
EDIT2: For games people have official data I'm going to include then on the OP with the link. Unfortunately VGC numbers for games that are majorly on PC is very off.
PC games not accounted above
Team Fortress 2- 50,191,347
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive- 46,305,966
PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS- 36,604,134
Left 4 Dead 2- 23,143,723
PAYDAY 2- 18,643,807
Garry's Mod- 18,576,379
Counter-Strike: Source- 15,001,876
Portal 2- 13,062,700
Sid Meier's Civilization V- 12,701,498
Rocket League- 10,110,342
duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"
Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"