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Best Selling Video Games of 2018: Top Releases

19 Apr, 2024
Written by
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Reviewed by
Aigerim Ercik
Aigerim Ercik
Best Selling Video Games of 2018: Top Releases

2018 was a monumental year in the video game industry, marked by the release of several groundbreaking titles that not only pushed the boundaries of gaming technology and storytelling but also captured the hearts and imaginations of players worldwide. From immersive open-world adventures to innovative indie gems, the year offered a diverse palette of gaming experiences that catered to all types of gamers. The best-selling games of 2018 showcased the industry’s ability to blend captivating narratives, stunning visuals, and engaging gameplay into unforgettable experiences. As we delve into the highlights of this remarkable year, we’ll explore how these titles achieved their best-selling status and the impact they had on the gaming community and culture at large. Join us as we revisit the milestones and magic that made 2018 a year to remember in the world of video games.

How we calculate Our high-load parsers scrape the web and our marketing analysts process the data to provide up-to-date information for business.
Rank Game Genre Developer Publisher Platform Release Date
1 Fortnite Battle royale, survival Epic Games Epic Games (Tencent) macOS, Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Android, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 July 25, 2017
2 Honor of Kings / Arena of Valor Multiplayer online battle arena TiMi Studio Group Tencent Games Android, iOS March 8, 2023
3 League of Legends Riot Games Riot Games Riot Games / Tencent Microsoft Windows, macOS October 27, 2009
4 Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO) Beat 'em up Neople Nexon / Tencent PC August 2005
5 Crossfire FPS Smilegate Entertainment Smilegate / Tencent Microsoft Windows June 3, 2007
6 Monster Strike Physics Mixi Mixi Android, iOS August 8, 2013
7 Pokémon Go Augmented reality Niantic Niantic / Nintendo / The Pokémon Company iOS, Android July 6, 2016
8 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) Battle royale PUBG Studios Krafton, Microsoft Studios (Xbox One), Tencent Games (mobile) Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 December 20, 2017
9 Fate/Grand Order (FGO) RPG Delightworks (2015-2021), Lasengle (2021-present), Sega AM2 (Arcade) Aniplex Android, iOS, iPadOS, Arcade July 30, 2015
10 Candy Crush Saga Puzzle King King (Activision Blizzard) App StoreGoogle PlayWindows Phone StoreWindowsmacOSLinux April 12, 2012

Best Selling Games in 2018

In 2018, the digital gaming landscape was dominated by titles that excelled in generating revenue across various platforms, including mobile, PC, and consoles. This ranking, based on worldwide digital revenue, takes into account various streams such as digital purchases, microtransactions, both in free-to-play and pay-to-play models. Remarkably, Tencent, a giant in the gaming industry, had a significant presence in this list, with six out of the top ten games either published or owned by them, including the top five spots. This underscores Tencent’s strategic prowess and diverse portfolio in the gaming sector, highlighting its ability to cater to a wide range of gamers and monetization strategies.

  1. Fortnite

Revenue: $5,477,000,000

Publisher: Epic Games (Tencent)

Genre: Battle royale, survival

In the ever-evolving landscape of Fortnite, players are dropped onto an island with 99 other competitors, each aiming to be the last one standing. The game ingeniously combines elements of survival, exploration, and scavenging with intense player vs. player (PvP) combat. The key to Fortnite’s allure lies in its dynamic building mechanics and the constant updates that introduce fresh content, keeping the gameplay experience vibrant and engaging. Players encounter a variety of characters, from the original defaults to the iconic crossovers like Marvel’s Avengers, Star Wars, and more, each adding a unique flair to the game. Fortnite’s skyrocketing popularity can be attributed to its free-to-play model, vibrant aesthetics, and an immersive battle royale experience that appeals to both casual and hardcore gamers.

  1. Honor of Kings / Arena of Valor

Revenue: $2,510,000,000

Publisher: Tencent

Genre: MOBA

Honor of Kings, known as Arena of Valor outside of China, presents a classic MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) experience tailored for mobile platforms. Players choose from a roster of heroes, each with unique abilities, and engage in 5v5 battles, aiming to destroy the opposing team’s base. The game’s strategy depth, character variety, and quick match durations make it an ideal on-the-go MOBA. Characters range from historical and mythological figures to original creations, each offering different roles in battle, such as tanks, mages, and marksmen. Honor of Kings became a phenomenon due to its accessibility, deep strategic gameplay, and strong community features, making it a staple for competitive and social play alike.

  1. League of Legends

Revenue: $1,900,000,000

Publisher: Riot Games / Tencent

Genre: MOBA

League of Legends is a titan in the MOBA genre, where two teams of five champions clash with the objective of destroying the enemy’s Nexus. The game boasts an extensive roster of champions, each with a unique backstory and skill set, allowing for a myriad of team compositions and strategies. Players must navigate through lanes, jungles, and team fights, making strategic decisions that can turn the tide of the game. Characters such as Ahri, the nine-tailed fox, or Garen, the might of Demacia, have become iconic within the gaming community. League of Legends’ immense popularity stems from its strategic depth, regular content updates, vibrant esports scene, and a strong sense of community, making it a flagship title in competitive gaming.

  1. Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO)

Revenue: $1,700,000,000

Publisher: Nexon / Tencent

Genre: Beat ’em up

Dungeon Fighter Online offers a classic side-scrolling beat ’em up experience blended with RPG elements. As a player, you embark on an epic journey through intricate dungeons, battling hordes of monsters and challenging bosses. The game is renowned for its diverse class system, allowing players to choose and customize characters ranging from the sword-wielding Slayer to the magic-imbued Mage. What sets DFO apart is its retro-inspired graphics combined with deep gameplay mechanics, including skill combos and character advancement. The game’s popularity is bolstered by its nostalgic appeal, intricate class system, and engaging cooperative gameplay, making it a standout title in the beat ’em up genre.

  1. Crossfire

Revenue: $1,453,000,000

Publisher: Smilegate / Tencent

Genre: FPS

Crossfire is a tactical first-person shooter that pits two opposing teams, Global Risk and Black List, against each other in various modes of play. As a player, you’re thrust into fast-paced, strategic combat where teamwork and individual skill are paramount to victory. The game offers an extensive arsenal of weapons and multiple characters with unique backgrounds, such as the stoic OMOH soldier or the cunning SAS operative. Crossfire’s popularity can be attributed to its classic FPS gameplay, a wide variety of modes, and a competitive scene that keeps players engaged and striving for improvement.

  1. Monster Strike

Revenue: $1,387,419,755

Publisher: Mixi

Genre: Physics

Monster Strike combines elements of physics-based puzzle gameplay with monster-collecting RPG mechanics. Players sling their monsters across the battlefield to strike enemies and activate combo attacks. The game’s roster is filled with a vast array of monsters, each with unique abilities and evolution paths, from mythical creatures like dragons to historical figures reimagined as powerful allies. What made Monster Strike a hit is its simple yet addictive gameplay, social cooperative features, and the thrill of collecting and evolving a wide array of monsters. The game’s success is further amplified by its engaging events and collaborations, keeping the community active and continually expanding.

  1. Pokémon Go

Revenue: $1,300,000,000

Publisher: Niantic / Nintendo / The Pokémon Company

Genre: Augmented reality

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality (AR) game that revolutionized mobile gaming by blending the real world with the virtual universe of Pokémon. As a player, you’re tasked with exploring your surroundings to capture Pokémon that appear in various locations, thanks to AR technology. The game encourages outdoor exploration, visiting landmarks turned into PokéStops and Gyms, where players can collect items and battle other Pokémon. Unique events, Community Days, and the introduction of new Pokémon from various regions keep the game fresh and exciting. The social aspect of forming teams to take down powerful Raid Bosses has fostered a strong sense of community among players. Pokémon Go’s popularity surged due to its innovative use of AR, the nostalgic appeal of the Pokémon franchise, and its ability to bring people together in shared spaces, creating a global phenomenon that transcends traditional gaming boundaries.

  1. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

Revenue: $1,224,800,000

Publisher: Bluehole / Tencent

Genre: Battle royale

PUBG is a game that catapulted the battle royale genre into mainstream gaming consciousness. In PUBG, you are dropped onto an island with up to 99 other players, scavenging for weapons and equipment with the singular goal of being the last person or team standing. The game is renowned for its realistic survival mechanics, extensive weapon customization, and the ever-shrinking play zone that forces players into tactical confrontations. The characters in PUBG are essentially the players themselves, each bringing their unique playstyle to the battlefield, making every match unpredictable and thrilling. The game’s appeal lies in its intense, adrenaline-pumping gameplay, the strategic depth required to outmaneuver opponents, and the sense of accomplishment from securing a “Chicken Dinner.” PUBG’s popularity is also bolstered by its vibrant competitive scene and regular updates, which keep the game engaging for the casual player and the seasoned veteran alike.

  1. Fate/Grand Order (FGO)

Revenue: $1,200,000,000

Publisher: Aniplex (Sony Music Entertainment Japan)

Genre: RPG

Fate/Grand Order is a narrative-driven mobile RPG that immerses players in a richly woven tapestry of history, myth, and legend. In FGO, players assume the role of a Master, summoning and leading a team of Servants—heroic spirits from various epochs and mythologies—to combat looming threats across time and space. The game’s depth comes from its strategic turn-based combat and the intricate bond system with Servants, each boasting unique abilities and backstories. Iconic characters like the valiant King Arthur (Artoria Pendragon) and the cunning Merlin not only add depth to the game’s lore but also strategic diversity in battles. FGO’s popularity stems from its compelling storytelling, detailed character development, and the engaging mechanics that require players to think critically about team composition and strategy, all set within the beloved Fate universe.

  1. Candy Crush Saga

Revenue: $1,100,000,000

Publisher: King (Activision Blizzard)

Genre: Puzzle

Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle game that has become synonymous with mobile gaming’s addictive simplicity. Players progress through levels by swapping colored candies on a grid to make matches of three or more, triggering cascading combos and achieving level-specific goals within a limited number of moves. The game introduces various characters, such as Tiffi and Mr. Toffee, who guide players through the whimsical land of candy. Its appeal lies in its straightforward yet challenging gameplay, vibrant graphics, and the satisfying feedback loop of crushing candies and clearing levels. The game’s regular updates, featuring new levels and challenges, along with its integration into social networks for sharing progress and competing with friends, have solidified its status as a cultural phenomenon and a casual gaming staple.

What is the Top 1 best selling game in the 2018

The year 2018 saw the release of some remarkable games, but when discussing best-sellers, titles like “Red Dead Redemption 2” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man” often come to mind. These games, released on major platforms like Xbox One and PlayStation 4, not only achieved critical acclaim but also impressive sales figures. “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” for instance, sold 3.3 million copies shortly after its release, underscoring its massive appeal.

However, when we shift the discussion towards overall impact and financial success, “Fortnite” by Epic Games stands out, and for several compelling reasons.

Cultural Phenomenon: “Fortnite” transcended the boundaries of gaming to become a cultural phenomenon. Its free-to-play model, coupled with the battle royale craze, allowed it to amass a vast player base. This accessibility and social component turned the game into a global sensation, reaching beyond traditional gaming audiences.

Monetization Model: While “Red Dead Redemption 2” and “Spider-Man” generated substantial revenue through initial sales, “Fortnite’s” continuous monetization strategy through in-game purchases provided a steady revenue stream. The game’s model, focused on cosmetic items, season passes, and special events, encouraged ongoing player investment without gating content, leading to sustained financial success.

Cross-Platform Play: “Fortnite” was among the pioneers in pushing for cross-platform play, allowing players on different devices to play together seamlessly. This inclusivity not only expanded its player base but also set a precedent for the industry, enhancing its popularity and player retention.

Esports and Community Engagement: Epic Games capitalized on the esports trend by hosting tournaments with large prize pools, further solidifying “Fortnite’s” position in the gaming world. Community engagement through content updates, challenges, and player-driven narratives kept the game fresh and continuously in the public eye.

While “Red Dead Redemption 2” and “Spider-Man” were undoubtedly among the best-selling games of 2018 due to their high-quality content and immersive experiences, “Fortnite’s” innovative approach to gameplay, community engagement, and monetization propelled it to the forefront of the industry’s financial leaders. Its ability to adapt, engage a global audience, and create a sustainable revenue model marks it as a standout title in the financial context, justifying its position as cited by Epic Games in their financial presentations.

1. Why did Fortnite outperform other blockbuster titles in terms of revenue in 2018?

Fortnite's unprecedented financial success can be attributed to its free-to-play model, which broadened its accessibility to a vast audience. Coupled with a compelling monetization strategy focused on cosmetic items, battle passes, and in-game events, Fortnite managed to maintain a steady revenue flow. The game's ability to engage players through constant updates, community-driven events, and cross-platform play also played a significant role in sustaining its popularity and, by extension, its revenue generation.

2. What made "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Marvel's Spider-Man" stand out among the best-selling games of 2018?

Both "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Marvel's Spider-Man" offered immersive narratives and expansive open-world experiences, setting new benchmarks in storytelling and gameplay within their respective genres. "Red Dead Redemption 2" was praised for its detailed world, deep character development, and engaging story. Meanwhile, "Marvel's Spider-Man" captivated fans with its dynamic web-slinging mechanics, faithful representation of the Spider-Man universe, and compelling narrative. These elements contributed to their critical and commercial success.

3. How did games like "Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor" and "League of Legends" maintain their popularity and financial success in 2018?

"Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor" and "League of Legends" continued to dominate the MOBA genre through strategic gameplay, a diverse roster of characters, and strong community engagement. Their success was bolstered by regular updates, new hero releases, and involvement in the esports scene, which kept the player base active and invested. Accessibility on multiple platforms, especially mobile for "Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor," also played a crucial role in reaching a wider audience, thereby maintaining their popularity and revenue streams.

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