The 50 Biggest Video Game Franchises by Total Revenue
The 50 Biggest Video Game Franchises by Total Revenue
When the world’s first video game, Tennis for Two, was revealed at a science fair in 1958, people were fascinated—there was clearly something special.
Since these humble beginnings, video games have rode waves of technological advancements to burgeon into a $100+ billion industry. To visualize this success, today’s infographic from TitleMax lists the top 50 highest-grossing video games franchises.
While this feat is impressive on its own, the way many of these franchises generate their revenue may come as a shock.
How Do Video Games Generate Billions?
Video games first saw large-scale commercial success in the 1980s, in what some describe as the “golden age of arcade games”. As arcades popped up across America, renowned classics like Pac-man and Space Invaders raked in large sums of money, one coin at a time.
Today, there are two revenue models generally followed by video game publishers—the traditional pay-to-play (P2P) model, and the newer free-to-play (F2P) model.
For much of the industry’s modern history, P2P models have been the default option. A developer incurs costs to produce its games, so it sells them to consumers to recover costs and make a profit.
Under a F2P model, however, the developer essentially distributes its games for free. Players don’t have to pay anything if they don’t want to, and the developer runs the risk that it may never recoup its costs.
So why would a developer ever choose a F2P model? Let’s look at industry data from 2019:
|Platform||Free-to-play (F2P) Revenue||Pay-to-play (P2P) Revenue|
Those aren’t typos. F2P games accounted for a whopping 82% of industry revenue in 2019. What’s more, is that this gap continues to grow: since the previous year, F2P revenue grew 6%, while P2P revenue fell by 5%.
The Power of Discretionary Spending
There’s a number of F2P franchises listed in today’s graphic which have grossed well over a billion dollars in total revenue.
|#15||League of Legends||Riot Games¹||PC||$8.4B|
|#21||Arena of Valor||Tencent||Mobile||$6.4B|
|#23||Clash of Clans||Supercell²||Mobile||$6.0B|
|#27||Candy Crush Saga||King³||Mobile||$4.9B|
|#46||Fortnite||Epic Games⁴||Console, Mobile, PC||$2.5B|
¹wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent, ²majority-owned subsidiary of Tencent, ³wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, ⁴Tencent owns a 40% stake.
Because these types of games are often published for PC or mobile phone (most people have at least one of these), their accessibility becomes a key advantage. This is especially true in China, where video game consoles like Xbox have been banned in the past.
Yet, simply amassing a large player base isn’t enough. With no money being paid upfront, developers must create compelling incentives for players to willingly part with their cash.
League of Legends
League of Legends, one of the world’s most popular video games, is widely considered a successful pioneer in this regard.
When developer Riot Games chose a F2P model for its game, it took a gamble. The model was largely unproven for titles of its genre, and it’s main source of revenue was set to be the sale of purely cosmetic items called “character skins”.
Nobody would have tried Legends if we put a price point in front of it because the game is tough to sell
—Marc Merrill, Co-founder of Riot Games
Part of the game’s incentive to spend comes from its longevity—League of Legends has just entered its 11th year. Rather than release a new title, the developer makes continuous improvements to the existing game, with each iteration dubbed as a new “season”.
If a traditional P2P game represents a movie, League of Legends could then be considered a long-running TV show. For example, while there’s been one League of Legends since 2009, there’s been 11 Call of Duty titles over that same time frame.
Joining the Party
Some of the world’s most successful video game franchises, which have historically published games under the P2P model, are also expanding into free games with great success.
For Pokémon (#1 in gross revenue), product diversification is nothing new. While the franchise manages a universe of offerings from physical merchandise to movies, its free mobile augmented reality (AR) game, Pokémon Go, may be one of its most successful endeavors.
The game, which leads players out into the real world to catch virtual monsters, was a massive sensation when it launched in 2016. In fact, it was so popular (and distracting) it’s been estimated to have contributed to more than 100,000 car accidents.
Four years since its release, Pokémon Go is a shining example of what the F2P model can achieve—the game has racked up over 1 billion downloads and generated an incredible $3 billion in revenues.
|Year||Gross Revenue||% Change|
Source: Sensor Tower Store Intelligence
Part of Pokémon Go’s incentive to spend comes from its incredibly unique social experience—it
turns real world landmarks into hubs where players can gather. By simply leveraging the capabilities of existing smartphones, it’s also extremely accessible.
Is Free the New Norm?
As more and more franchises successfully expand into free games, it’s clear that the F2P model will be the primary driver of future growth. The relatively higher accessibility of F2P games is also crucial to tap into the quickly growing esports industry.
However, traditional P2P games, which are now being called “premium games”, still have some merit to them. These games are often associated with a higher level of quality which people are happy to pay for.
Yet, as the legitimacy and success of the F2P model continues to develop, this quality gap could also shrink in the future.
Editor’s note: The revenue figures in today’s infographic include merchandise and other related products.
Modular Housing vs. Traditional Housing: How Do They Compare?
Modular housing can be completed 40% faster and costs 10-25% less than traditional construction methods. Is the future of housing modular?
Modular Housing vs. Traditional Housing: How Do They Compare?
The U.S. needs new houses. Lots of them.
With housing prices nearing six times annual incomes, increasing supply is a must if there is any hope of bringing down house prices, and modular housing could be the solution.
This visualization is the third and final piece of the Reimagining Home Series from our sponsor Boxabl, where we compare the benefits of modular housing against traditional construction methods. Let’s start with the basics.
What Is Modular Housing?
Modular homes are built offsite, in standardized sections, usually in a factory setting. They are then transported to the building site and assembled on a waiting foundation. Once complete, modular homes look just like any other house.
Modular housing is not the same as manufactured homes, which are also sometimes called mobile homes. Like modular housing, manufactured homes are built offsite in a factory, but the key difference is that they can be moved after being assembled. Modular homes aren’t meant to be moved again after final assembly.
6 Ways Modular Homes Differ to Traditional Homes
The following benefits are based on information from the Modular Home Building Association, as well as a paper given at the 2020 Creative Construction e-Conference by members of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.
1. Speed of Construction
Because of the piecemeal nature of modular construction, many building activities can be done simultaneously, greatly reducing the overall time of completion. At the same time, because construction happens indoors, weather delays aren’t an issue. Overall, a modular housing project can be completed in 40% less time than using traditional building construction methods.
2. Cost Effectiveness
Standardization of design, less transportation of materials onsite, and the reduced impact of weather are some of the reasons that modular housing can be much cheaper than traditional building methods. According to the authors of the paper, there was a 10-25% decrease in construction costs for modular housing, again, compared to traditional methods.
A common misconception is that modular housing isn’t customizable. While many manufacturers will often begin with a starter floor plan, they may also offer various customization options throughout the home.
4. Safety Record
Construction is a dangerous way to make a living. In 2021, construction and extraction workers held the number two spot for fatal occupational injuries in the U.S., with 951 work fatalities.When you drill down into that number, construction tradespeople are in the majority, by far, with 726 that year alone.
|Transportation and material moving occupations||1,523|
|Construction and extraction occupations||951|
|Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations||475|
|Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations||356|
|Protective service occupations||302|
|Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations||218|
|Sales and related occupations||200|
|Food preparation and serving related occupations||101|
|Office and administrative support occupations||91|
|Personal care and service occupations||64|
|Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations||57|
|Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations||45|
|Community and social services occupations||40|
|Healthcare support occupations||32|
|Architecture and engineering occupations||29|
|Business and financial operations occupations||27|
|Educational instruction and library occupations||16|
|Life, physical, and social science occupations||10|
|Computer and mathematical occupations||6|
Because modular construction happens in a controlled, factory environment, the number of accidents decreases by 80% compared to traditional building methods.
5. Environmental Impact
Anyone who has walked past a residential build site can testify to the amount of waste produced during construction. Modular construction is more efficient and therefore produces less waste. And because onsite construction is limited to assembly, there is less dust and noise. Carbon emissions are also 38% lower.
6. Built to Last
Modular housing is as good, if not better constructed, than many traditionally-built houses. The factory environment allows for superior quality control, and homes built this way use 15-20% more wood per square foot, which makes them stronger. Moreover, in a study commissioned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew found that modular housing “performed much better than conventional residential framing.”
A Market On The Rise
Not only is modular housing cheaper and greener than traditional construction methods, it is also a market on the rise.
According to a recent report, the global modular construction market is expected to reach $54 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 2.9% between 2021 to 2027.
Thinking Outside of the Box on Housing
Modular housing could be a solution to the housing affordability crisis not only in the U.S., but around the world. And with the global city population expected to hit 68% by 2050, it’s time to think outside the box on housing.
Boxabl uses advanced, mass production techniques to build and ship homes that significantly lower the cost of home ownership for everyone.
This is the final piece in the Reimagining Home Series from our sponsor, Boxabl. Be sure to read parts one and two on urbanization and affordable housing.
Learn more about how Boxabl is helping tackle the housing affordability crisis.
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