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The Top 15 Best-Selling PC Games Of All Time

The Top 15 Best-Selling PC Games Of All Time
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The Top 15 Best-Selling PC Games Of All Time

Putting together a list like this isn't easy. Sales figures are often released by title, with no breakdown across platform. Thus, it's actually really hard to assemble the best-selling PC games into order. Nevertheless, you're going to feel some nostalgia, a little bit of love, and a whole lot of angst because, even with a lot of deserving releases on this list, many get left off.

Without further ado, we present the top 15 best-selling PC (and Mac) games of all time, based on a long list of sources. There are some old favorites here, and some new classics-to-be. A few of the titles might surprise you, so have a look!

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  • 26 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 5:18 AM
    Before we hear a lot of complaints, I'm going to head off some concerns. Like most PC game sale reports, we're looking only at retail sales. This doesn't count digital distribution networks or subscription figures. Those numbers are not publically available nor can they be confirmed with original sources. Second, we're counting the sales made at some store, be it online or physical, but it will be the box not the digital copy. Third, we treated expansion packs as separate titles.

    I don't mind a bit of lively debate, but please keep your comments constructive or they will be deleted. Personal attacks do not help. If you want to call our choices into account, I'll be happy to listen and perhaps create a part 2 of this series.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • 26 Hide
    CoolBOBob1 , March 21, 2012 5:13 AM
    I would assumed that if Cataclysm was up there that every expansion of WoW would be up there. Since there was at least 12 million players during Wrath of the Lich King and whether or not they had the expansion they needed to have at least the original version.
  • 21 Hide
    pckitty4427 , March 21, 2012 4:57 AM
    I thought Flight Simulator would be on here.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    pckitty4427 , March 21, 2012 4:57 AM
    I thought Flight Simulator would be on here.
  • 26 Hide
    CoolBOBob1 , March 21, 2012 5:13 AM
    I would assumed that if Cataclysm was up there that every expansion of WoW would be up there. Since there was at least 12 million players during Wrath of the Lich King and whether or not they had the expansion they needed to have at least the original version.
  • 26 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 5:18 AM
    Before we hear a lot of complaints, I'm going to head off some concerns. Like most PC game sale reports, we're looking only at retail sales. This doesn't count digital distribution networks or subscription figures. Those numbers are not publically available nor can they be confirmed with original sources. Second, we're counting the sales made at some store, be it online or physical, but it will be the box not the digital copy. Third, we treated expansion packs as separate titles.

    I don't mind a bit of lively debate, but please keep your comments constructive or they will be deleted. Personal attacks do not help. If you want to call our choices into account, I'll be happy to listen and perhaps create a part 2 of this series.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • -5 Hide
    builder4 , March 21, 2012 5:21 AM
    That first picture would have been better suited to the iPad review.
    "It's exactly the same as the iPad 2 except for the screen, but is heavier, thicker, runs hotter, has reduced battery life..."
    "Shut up and take my money!"
  • 5 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 5:26 AM
    Quote:
    Why is the screenshot for StarCraft BW... StarCraft II?


    Forgive me if I inserted the wrong picture, but I do believe the title says StarCraft II, which matches the StarCraft II picture.
  • 17 Hide
    Onikage , March 21, 2012 5:30 AM
    Dune 2 to me is the greatest PC game ever made !
  • -1 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 5:30 AM
    Quote:
    I would assumed that if Cataclysm was up there that every expansion of WoW would be up there. Since there was at least 12 million players during Wrath of the Lich King and whether or not they had the expansion they needed to have at least the original version.


    I suppose I could have just made it 12 million, but we were looking at retail sales, not subscription figures cause that would really mess things up. Does 1 month of subscription = 1 sale? Not exactly. 1 month is like 15 bucks and a boxed game costs 50 odd bucks. That was why it was retail sales only. We should probably do a separate most popular MMORPGs list to cover that unique side of the gaming business.
  • -6 Hide
    conquerator , March 21, 2012 5:30 AM
    Wow has 12 million subscribers each having bought a pc version of the game. This figure does not include a person who has left his membership.
  • 3 Hide
    conquerator , March 21, 2012 5:32 AM
    I had a question over the source of this information, since these titles match up exactly with the information on Wikipedia.
  • 7 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 5:45 AM
    Not all wow subscribers have the latest expansion remember. And as I stated, we're not counting digital distribution.

    As for Wiki, it turns out, a significant number of those sources are misquoted. For example, Battlefield 2 didn't sell 11 million. The original statement by EA games referred to Bad Company series, and the BBC source wasn't a gamer and assumed Bad Company was BF2.
  • 0 Hide
    conquerator , March 21, 2012 5:49 AM
    I don't understand you argument, when major publishers post their book sales do they disregard the number of books sold on tablets, and e-readers. Not all wow subscribers have the latest expansion but during an earlier expansion when there was no digital distribution for WOW, the game still had over 10 million people playing which means each one of them had bought the game.
  • 0 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 5:54 AM
    Quote:
    I don't understand you argument, when major publishers post their book sales do they disregard the number of books sold on tablets, and e-readers. Not all wow subscribers have the latest expansion but during an earlier expansion when there was no digital distribution for WOW, the game still had over 10 million people playing which means each one of them had bought the game.


    Perhaps you're right, but then we'd have to also realign other game sales to compensate for that digital numbers, and that's difficult to do so. Valve for example doesn't publish their Steam sale data, and neither does EA for Origin. Even though it would be in their interests to do so.

    As specifically for WoW, there's been a long running thread on this at http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/924016-Sales-numbers-for-Wow-and-X-pacs-do-not-match-the-12-million-subs . While I don't necessarily trust VGChartz when it comes to PCs, the various forum post include arguments from both camps.

    I think you raise some excellent points, and it's perhaps something we should try to address better next time.
  • 16 Hide
    ibigs , March 21, 2012 5:58 AM
    I wonder what the sales figures for the Civilization series are. I allways thought those were high on lists like this..
  • -2 Hide
    weatherdude , March 21, 2012 6:00 AM
    Ahh... I love the title picture.

    I've played a few of these games. The Sims I wasted too much time with. Starcraft I did not even legitimately beat. SimCity 3000 I invested plenty of time into. The unlimited version at least.

    Anyways the picture for SimCity 3000 doesn't come from it. It looks like it comes from something much newer such as maybe SimCity 4 (never played don't know) or that yet-to-be released one.
  • -5 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 6:05 AM
    Quote:
    I wonder what the sales figures for the Civilization series are. I allways thought those were high on lists like this..


    As of 2008, I think the Civ series as a whole was 8 million. Don't quite remember the breakdown across each title though. They sold well in the first year, but some other games had better staying power so to speak, as far as sales go. I still think the earlier Civ games are a lot of fun myself.
  • 0 Hide
    acku , March 21, 2012 6:07 AM
    Quote:
    I knew all those sales that the Modern Warfare series couldn't have been PC sales, considering how terrible they're getting :p 


    Yeah it was nearly all consoles according to NPD. But while BF3 did better on PCs, MW3 had better total sales cause console sales tipped the scales in its favor... sad I know.
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