The Most Popular Game Franchise: A Ranking of Gaming's Biggest Hits

Choose the game franchise you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 25, 2024 06:08
Are you ready to dive into the ultimate showdown of gaming legends? Welcome to StrawPoll's grand ranking of the most popular game franchises of all time! We've gathered thousands of iconic titles from the gaming universe, and now it's YOUR turn to make your voice heard. Cast your vote for your all-time favorite or champion a missing underdog to shake up the leaderboard. Will Mario keep his throne, or will another contender rise to the occasion? The power is in your hands, gamers! Join the excitement, share your passion, and witness the epic battle of gaming giants unfold right before your eyes. Let the games begin, and may the best franchise win!

What Is the Most Popular Game Franchise?

  1. 1
    The Mario franchise is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, with over 600 million copies sold across all titles. It features the iconic plumber Mario and his adventures through various worlds, battling enemies and rescuing Princess Peach.
    Mario is a popular game franchise created by Nintendo. It revolves around the adventures of Mario, a plumber-turned-hero, as he navigates various colorful and imaginative worlds to rescue Princess Peach from the villainous Bowser. Known for its iconic characters, platforming gameplay, and cheerful aesthetic, the Mario franchise has become one of the most recognized and beloved in the gaming industry.
    • Genre: Platformer
    • First Release: Donkey Kong (1981)
    • Main Protagonist: Mario
    • Primary Antagonist: Bowser
    • Main Gameplay Mechanic: Jumping and Stomping Enemies
  2. 2
    The Pokemon franchise is a series of games, anime, and merchandise that revolves around the capturing and training of creatures called Pokemon. It has sold over 368 million copies of its main series games and has become a cultural phenomenon since its debut in 1996.
    Pokémon is a popular franchise that originated from a video game created by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori. It has expanded into an animated television series, trading card game, movies, merchandise, and more. The world of Pokémon features creatures called Pokémon, which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other for sport. The objective for trainers is to become a Pokémon Master by collecting and training as many different species of Pokémon as possible.
    • Video Game Release Date: 26th February 1996
    • Animated TV Series Release Date: 1st April 1997
    • Number of Pokémon Species: 898
    • Number of Pokémon Generations: 8
    • Main Protagonist: Ash Ketchum
  3. 3

    Call of Duty

    Infinity Ward
    The Call of Duty franchise is a first-person shooter video game series set in various historical and modern-day military conflicts. It has sold over 300 million copies and is known for its intense multiplayer modes.
    Call of Duty is a first-person shooter video game franchise that takes players into various military settings and historical periods, offering intense multiplayer battles and cinematic single-player campaigns. The gameplay features a combination of realistic graphics, fast-paced action, and a range of weapons and equipment. Players have the option to engage in competitive multiplayer matches or dive into immersive storylines, often portraying soldiers fighting in wars or combating global threats.
    • Genre: First-person shooter
    • Platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo
    • Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
    • Release Date: October 29, 2003
    • Publisher: Activision
    Call of Duty in other rankings
  4. 4

    Grand Theft Auto

    Rockstar Games
    The Grand Theft Auto franchise is a series of open-world action-adventure games that allow players to explore and interact with a fictional city while completing missions and engaging in criminal activities. It has sold over 345 million copies and is known for its controversial content.
    Grand Theft Auto is an action-adventure video game franchise that allows players to take on the role of a criminal in a sprawling open-world environment. The games feature a combination of driving, shooting, and exploration gameplay, with a heavy emphasis on story and character development.
    • Release Date: 1997
    • Genre: Action-adventure
    • Platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, PC
    • Open World: Yes
    • Single Player: Yes
    Grand Theft Auto in other rankings
  5. 5
    The FIFA franchise is a series of football simulation games that allow players to control real-life football teams and players. It has sold over 325 million copies and is known for its realistic gameplay and licensed teams.
    FIFA is a popular video game series developed and published by EA Sports. It is a football (soccer) simulation game that allows players to control virtual teams and play matches. The game offers various modes including single-player career mode, multiplayer online matches, and tournaments. With realistic graphics, gameplay mechanics, and licensed teams and players, FIFA has gained a massive following worldwide.
    • Genre: Sports simulation
    • Platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch
    • Release Date: First release in 1993
    • Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
    • Game Engine: Frostbite Engine
  6. 6
    The Legend of Zelda franchise is a series of action-adventure games that follow the hero Link as he battles evil forces and saves Princess Zelda. It has sold over 108 million copies and is known for its puzzles and exploration elements.
    The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1986. The game takes place in the fantasy land of Hyrule and follows the main character, Link, on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda and defeat the antagonist, Ganon. Players traverse through dungeons, solve puzzles, acquire items, and battle enemies in an open-world, non-linear gameplay.
    • Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
    • Release Year: 1986
    • Genre: Action-Adventure
    • Mode: Single-player
    • Perspective: Top-down
    The Legend of Zelda in other rankings
  7. 7
    The Assassin's Creed franchise is a series of action-adventure games that follow the adventures of various assassins throughout history. It has sold over 155 million copies and is known for its historical accuracy and parkour-based gameplay.
    Assassin's Creed is an action-adventure stealth game set in various historical periods, allowing players to experience an epic battle between the secretive Assassins and the powerful Templar Order. The game combines open-world exploration, combat, and stealth mechanics, providing a rich storyline that intertwines both historical and fictional elements.
    • Release Date: November 13, 2007
    • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
    • Setting: Holy Land during the Third Crusade (12th century)
    • Protagonist: Altair Ibn-La'Ahad
    • Gameplay: Open-world exploration, parkour, stealth-based combat
    Assassin's Creed in other rankings
  8. 8
    The Halo franchise is a series of first-person shooter games set in a futuristic universe where players battle against an alien race known as the Covenant. It has sold over 81 million copies and is known for its intense multiplayer modes.
    Halo is a critically acclaimed and iconic first-person shooter game franchise known for its thrilling gameplay, immersive storytelling, and extensive multiplayer features. Set in a science fiction universe, the series follows the superhuman protagonist, Master Chief, as he battles against various alien species and rogue human factions to save humanity from extinction.
    • Genre: First-person shooter
    • Platform(s): Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
    • First Release: Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
    • Latest Release: Halo Infinite (upcoming)
    • Main Protagonist: Master Chief John-117
  9. 9
    The Minecraft franchise is a sandbox video game that allows players to build and explore a virtual world made up of blocks. It has sold over 200 million copies and is known for its creativity and open-ended gameplay.
    Minecraft is a sandbox video game that allows players to build and explore virtual worlds made up of blocks. It offers various game modes such as survival, creative, adventure, and spectator, giving players the freedom to play and create in their own style. With its pixelated graphics and endless possibilities, Minecraft has become a popular game across different age groups and has sparked a large community of dedicated players and creators.
    • Platform: Multiple platforms including PC, consoles, and mobile devices
    • Genre: Sandbox, survival, adventure
    • Multiplayer: Available for online multiplayer with friends
    • Game Modes: Survival, creative, adventure, spectator
    • World Size: Virtually infinite, procedurally generated worlds
  10. 10

    Resident Evil

    Shinji Mikami
    The Resident Evil franchise is a series of survival horror games that follows various protagonists as they battle against zombies and other monsters. It has sold over 105 million copies and is known for its tense atmosphere and puzzles.
    Resident Evil is a highly popular game franchise that belongs to the survival horror genre. It consists of a series of video games characterized by intense gameplay, exploration, puzzle-solving, and engaging stories. The franchise is well-known for its emphasis on horror elements, including zombies, monsters, and supernatural occurrences. The games are often set in a post-apocalyptic world where players navigate through dangerous environments while facing various challenges and enemies.
    • Genre: Survival Horror
    • Platform(s): Various (PlayStation, Xbox, PC)
    • First Release: March 22, 1996
    • Main Protagonists: Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy
    • Main Antagonists: Albert Wesker, Umbrella Corporation
    Resident Evil in other rankings

Missing your favorite game franchise?


Ranking factors for popular game franchise

  1. Sales
    The total number of copies of games sold from the franchise is a strong indicator of its popularity. Both physical and digital sales should be included in this count.
  2. Longevity
    A popular game franchise is usually one that has stood the test of time. It is important to consider how long the franchise has been around and if it has maintained its popularity over the years.
  3. Critical acclaim
    Reviews from critics and gamers alike can give a good indication of a game franchise's popularity. High average review scores across multiple entries in the series suggest a well-liked and successful franchise.
  4. Cultural impact
    A popular game franchise often transcends the gaming world and becomes a part of popular culture. This includes its presence in other media such as movies, TV shows, books, and merchandise, as well as the impact on internet culture such as memes, fan art, and discussions.
  5. Fan engagement
    A dedicated and engaged fan base is testament to a franchise's popularity. Look for active online communities, social media presence, fan conventions, and other forms of interaction with the game's audience.
  6. Awards and recognitions
    Receiving awards and accolades from the gaming industry and media can be a good indicator of a franchise's popularity and success.
  7. Game releases
    Frequent new game releases in the franchise or a consistent release schedule can be a sign of popularity, as developers invest time and resources into creating new titles when there is strong demand from the audience.
  8. Innovation
    Franchises that continually evolve and adapt, bringing fresh gameplay mechanics and storylines to each new installment, tend to remain popular because they remain interesting and relevant.
  9. Accessibility
    Popular game franchises tend to be accessible to a wide range of players, with diverse gameplay options and varying difficulty levels that cater to both casual and hardcore gamers.
  10. Global appeal
    A truly popular game franchise should have appeal to players across different cultures and geographical regions. Strong international sales and localization efforts can indicate a widespread and diverse fan base.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular game franchise. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or franchise is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 170 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each franchise once every 24 hours. The rank of each franchise is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular game franchise

The gaming industry has evolved significantly over the years, with numerous game franchises making their mark in the market. From classic arcade games to modern-day online multiplayer games, the gaming world has come a long way. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine the most popular game franchise. However, through extensive research and analysis of data, it's clear that there are a select few franchises that stand out among the rest. These franchises have built a loyal fan base and have continued to deliver innovative and captivating gameplay experiences over the years. So, which game franchise holds the title as the most popular? Let's dive into the numbers and find out.

Share this article