15 most profitable Nintendo franchises ever | Easy Online Work

Nintendo’s portfolio includes tons of successful franchises. Here are the most profitable ones.

Nintendo owns the rights to many popular franchises, including Mario, Pokemon, and The Legend of Zelda. But how well are they performing in terms of sales, and which ones are considered Nintendo’s most profitable assets? The answer may surprise you, as some episodes with millions of fans didn’t even make the top 15.

Outside were, for example, Metroid and Star Fox, which, although popular, were sold in more modest circulations than the company wanted. This is why Nintendo releases sequels for them as often as they do for their other series. So, it’s time to take a closer look at the list of the most profitable franchises. It should be noted right away that the “number of copies sold” column contains an approximate figure, since searching for accurate data can be very problematic.

Luigi’s Mansion

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  • First game: Luigi’s Mansion
  • Origin platform: GameCube
  • Release date: September 14, 2001 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 20 million

Luigi lagged slightly behind his older brother and ended up in 15th place. Luigi’s Mansion has sold 20 million copies across all platforms. And this is a pretty good result, given that there are only three games in the series (four if you count a remake of the original).

The franchise was launched by a not-so-popular GameCube game in 2001, followed by two high-quality sequels. And thanks to the latest installment, which was released in 2019 on the Switch platform, Luigi’s Mansion managed to break into the list of the most profitable franchises.

Wario

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  • First Appearance: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
  • Originally platform: Game Boy
  • Release date: October 21, 1992 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 22 million

Vario made his debut as a villain in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, released in 1992 for the Game Boy. After that, the character became the real star of the series, and his next appearance took place in 1994, when Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 was released in North America.

Considering this series and spin-offs like WarioWare, the franchise built around Wario has sold a total of 22 million copies. The last game in the series is WarioWare Gold, a 2018 project for the 3DS, and Wario himself hasn’t appeared in a new solo adventure for 3 years.

Yoshi

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  • First Appearance: Super Mario World
  • Originally Platform: Super Famicom
  • Release date: November 21, 1990
  • Copies sold: 28.1 million

Yoshi first appeared in Super Mario World, released in 1990 on the SNES platform. He was technically a playable character, although the players were actually controlled by Mario, who was controlled by Yoshi. And the first solo game dedicated to the hero was the Yoshi puzzle, which was released in 1992 in North America on the NES and Game Boy consoles.

In total, the games from the Yoshi series have sold 28.1 million copies, and the latest of them was Yoshi’s Crafted World (2019), developed exclusively for the Switch.

Duck Hunt

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  • First game: Duck Hunt
  • Originally platform: Famicom
  • Release date: April 21, 1984
  • Copies sold: 28.31 million

Believe it or not, Duck Hunt has sold 28.31 million copies. These are incredible numbers for a game that has never had prequels, sequels, or other offshoots.

The fact is that in 1985 in North America, Duck Hunt was bundled with the NES console, which means that Nintendo equated sales of the NES console with sales of Duck Hunt. For the same reason, the collection of Wii Sports games, which came with the Wii, was in the top three.

Nintendogs

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  • First game: Nintendogs
  • Origin platform: DS
  • Release date: April 21, 2005 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 28.6 million

The DS video game console would not have become so popular with casual gamers if it hadn’t been for the release of Nintendogs in 2005. The opportunity to get yourself a virtual pet, and even with the habits of a real one, attracted many dog ​​lovers, because nothing like that at that time simply did not exist.

In 2011, the project acquired a sequel to Nintendogs + Cats, which, alas, did not make a splash. Both games in the series have sold a combined circulation of 28.6 million copies, which is a solid result even with the modest sales of the second part.

Brain Age

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  • Первая игра: Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day
  • Origin platform: DS
  • Release date: May 19, 2005 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 33 million

The Brain Age franchise launched with the release of the app of the same name on DS in 2005 and has sold 33 million copies over the years. Each new application became a hit with DS users and helped promote the console in the casual market.

The series went into hibernation at some point, but that changed after Nintendo released the Switch. On this platform in 2019, a collection of developmental exercises called Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training.

Kirby

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  • First game: Kirby’s Dream Land
  • Originally platform: Game Boy
  • Release date: April 27, 1992 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 38 million

The Kirby franchise launched in 1992 on the Game Boy platform and has sold 38 million games. The last game in the lineup was Kirby Fighters 2, which was released on Switch in 2020, although it was significantly behind its predecessor, Kirby Star Allies, which was released on the same platform 2 years ago.

Since the launch of the series, its creators have released either ported versions of old projects or new parts of the line almost every year, missing only five years (1999, 2001, 2007, 2009 and 2013).

Game & Watch

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  • First game: Ball
  • Release date: April 28, 1980 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 43 million

The Game & Watch franchise was launched in 1980 with the start of sales of the console of the same name, and over the past decades, its total sales reached 43 million copies. At first, these were modest portable consoles with built-in games, but over time, Game & Watch has become a recognizable brand.

At some point, the attention of the gaming community shifted to the Game Boy, after which sales of Game & Watch began to decline, but gamers still buy these consoles because of their nostalgic value, and developers release new projects for them. For example, in 2020, a portable version of Mario was released as part of this line.

Donkey Kong

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  • First Appearance: Donkey Kong
  • Origin platform: arcade machines
  • Release date: July 9, 1981
  • Copies sold: 58 million

The Donkey Kong franchise was launched by arcade machines of the same name, released in 1981, and in general, projects associated with it have sold 58 million copies. By the way, the Mario franchise was born at the same moment, but after a couple of games, these series began to develop in different directions.

Donkey Kong’s most recent game to date is Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, released in 2015 on Wii U and 3DS, unless, of course, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, ported to Switch in 2018, is taken into account. One way or another, the well-known hero has not appeared in new games for a long time.

Animal Crossing

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  • First game: Animal Forest
  • Original platform: N64
  • Release date: April 14, 2001
  • Copies sold: 59 million

The Animal Crossing franchise launched in 2001 on the N64 platform and has sold 59 million copies. And this year she celebrates her 20th anniversary. Particularly successful for Nintendo was the last part, which came out in a very successful period for the company, when many had to spend time at home.

And it was precisely because of the release of the last part that a temporary shortage of Switch consoles began, since even casual gamers swept it off the shelves just in order to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Super Smash Bros.

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  • First game: Super Smash Bros.
  • Original platform: N64
  • Release date: January 21, 1999 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 62 million

Super Smash Bros. franchise launched in 1990 on the N64 platform, and its games have sold 62 million copies. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate developers continue to provide free updates and solid DLCs. In the latest addon, released in late 2020, even the Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII dropped into the game. Who will follow his example? It remains only to look forward to the announcements of new characters.

The Legend Of Zelda

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  • First game: The Legend Of Zelda
  • Originally platform: Famicom Disk System
  • Release date: February 21, 1986 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 103 million

The Legend Of Zelda series was launched in 1986 on the NES console and has sold 103 million copies throughout its existence. The final game in the lineup is the spin-off Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and fans of the franchise are eagerly awaiting the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

Maybe Nintendo plans to make a surprise by the end of the year? After all, the franchise turns 35 this year, and this anniversary shouldn’t be without new installments in the series.

Wii

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  • First project: Wii Sports
  • Origin platform: Wii
  • Release date: 19 November 2006
  • Copies sold: 202 million

The Wii franchise was born in 2006 with the launch of the Wii console, and in total, the franchise’s projects have sold 202 million copies. This franchise includes Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Music and other app projects.

The last collection of games for Wii was the Wii Sports Club, released in 2014 on Wii U. But since the Wii brand has actually died, then its creators do not see the point in releasing new projects for the console, which was one of the most important game consoles of its generation.

Pokemon

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  • First game: Pocket Monsters: Red and Green
  • Originally platform: Game Boy
  • Release date: February 27, 1996 (Japan)
  • Copies sold: 495 million

The Pokemon franchise launched in 1996 on the Game Boy platform and sold 495 million copies of all games. If you followed the numbers throughout the collection, you noticed how far the Pokemon series outpaced the Wii.

This is why Nintendo is thrilled to release numerous sequels and spin-offs. By the way, the next part of the series (New Pokemon Snap) should be released on Switch this year.

Mario

15 most profitable Nintendo franchises ever
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  • First Appearance: Donkey Kong
  • Origin platform: arcade machines
  • Release date: July 9, 1981
  • Copies sold: 653 million

The Mario franchise began in 1981, when the first arcade game featuring the legendary plumber was released. In total, all projects with his participation have sold 653 million copies. As such, the Mario and Pokemon series were and still are goldmine for Nintendo, and it’s very strange that the company has not yet thought about their full-fledged crossover outside the skit of Super Smash Bros.

At the moment, Mario has become as much an icon in the video game industry as Mickey Mouse is in animation. And the next game featuring the iconic hero will be Super Mario 3D World, which will soon be ported to Switch.