It's that time of the decade when it's time to reflect on which games did best, and NPD Group's chart of best performing games in dollar sales is out. Interestingly, most of the list are Call of Duty titles, although the top dog is GTA 5.
For the sake of clarity, the list covers the US from 2010 to 2019 and only covers boxed and digital full releases, without taking into account microtransactions or DLC. These would likely turn this list on its head, even if we're somehow confident that the leader of the chart wouldn't change.
As you can see, Rockstar Games and Take-Two's monster-hit GTA 5 leads the way, and despite this being a US list - the game's popularity is really not different elsewhere. It not only defies its age, which will be 7 this September, it defies the industry's switch to digital too.
Namely, GTA 5's popularity led to it comfortably winning many a month in the UK's retail-sales race, humbling a number of fresh AAA releases in the process.
As for Call of Duty, Activision's golden goose makes up for more than half of the entire chart, which is more than impressive. The mere thought of the microtransactions flogged with each of the CoD titles on the chart makes it pretty clear why the publisher maintains their current release cadence.
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Call of Duty: WW2
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
If we were to take a more pessimistic route, it's pretty clear that inventiveness is not what drove dollar sales this decade, at least not this decade's inventiveness. It appears that rather reliable formulas, well-established in the last decade, are where the real dough lies.