In Pictures: Tom's Hardware's 30 Most Popular PC Games

How To Pick For Popularity

The absence of statistics and studies on video game sales makes our task difficult. We're basing our rankings on the numbers published by VGChartz and Wikipedia. The problem is that those resources only count the number of physical copies sold, leaving out online sales. Furthermore, VGChartz doesn’t break down sales for Windows, Mac, and Linux. And finally, it’s sometimes impossible to distinguish between PC and console sales because of the vague statistics discussed by game publishers.

So, in order to create the most accurate ranking possible, we tempered the results from those publications by referring to other rankings and taking each game’s cultural impact into consideration. That’s why, instead of calling this a list of best-selling PC games, we're working with the most popular PC titles, sorted in alphabetical order to limit the subjectivity of our approach.

We also made the decision to limit ourselves to one title per series in order to present more games and avoid the inevitable redundancy. For instance, The Sims is not included because The Sims 2 sold many more copies. There are also series that left their mark on video game culture, such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. But each title from those families sold considerably less than the games in our list, which explains their absence.

Age Of Empires

Age of Empires has sold more than three million units, and is often described as a fusion between Civilization II and Warcraft II. Released in 1997, this strategy game requires players to build a civilization and live through several ages (e.g. stone, tools, bronze, iron) while attaining various objectives.

Anno 1503: The New World

1503 A.D.: The New World is a game that mixes real-time strategy and simulated city building. Developed in Austria and released on the market in 2003, it has also sold more than three million units.

Baldur's Gate

Baldur’s Gate is a role-playing game (RPG) with sales exceeding two million units. Released in 1998, it is the first title to be set in the famous Forgotten Realms, and is heavily inspired by Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Battlefield 2

This famous FPS from Digital Illusions CE (DICE) was released in 2005. The game uses certain role-playing and strategy mechanisms to create captivating multiplayer gameplay. The story takes places in a fictional 21st century, and the game sold a million copies in the first month of its release. Today, Battlefield 2 has sold an estimated 10 million-plus copies around the world, outperforming Battlefield 3 (though estimates are difficult since EA lumps sales of computer and console versions together).

Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Released in 1996, Command & Conquer: Red Alert sold more than three million units, even if the uptake was slower than the title's follow-up, Red Alert 2. Fan enthusiasm bolstered this RTS game though, which has now become freeware (download it here).

Cossacks: European Wars

Cossacks: European Wars is an RTS released in 2001 for Windows 95 and 98, selling more than four million copies. The game also won many awards and kudos from the press for its graphical detail and the impressive opening scene.


While it’s true that Counter-Strike is a mod of Half-Life, we decided to mention it here because some estimates suggest more than four million copies have been sold. It also had a significant impact on the FPS genre. Besides popularizing the gameplay with a new generation of enthusiasts, it's partially responsible for the spread of video game tournaments.


According to a document from Crytek, Crysis sold more than three million copies and was one of the most popular titles in the series. This FPS, released in 2007, is set in a future where an extraterrestrial structure has been discovered. With the help of a motorized exoskeleton nanosuit, the protagonist fights both North Korea and a race of aliens.

Diablo III

Diablo III is the newest game in our list of popular titles; it only surfaced in 2012. Blizzard has already sold more than 12 million copies though, which also makes this one of the most popular games out there. Incidentally, it holds the record for fastest-selling game in the world, with 3.5 million copies sold in just 24 hours.

Doom 3

The famous FPS Doom 3 sold more than 3.5 million copies, and is the most popular game from id Software to date. This reboot of the series abandons the storyline from the other titles, though it offers similar gameplay in spite of its incursion into the horror genre, and absence of duct tape.

Responsable actualités. Né aux États-Unis, élevé en France et à Singapour, adopté par les Philippines, et maintenant posé au Canada (pour l'instant), son amour du Monde n'est égalé que par sa passion pour les micro-architectures, les dernières trouvailles des labos ou les jeux sur consoles. Rédacteur Tom's Hardware France (anciennement Présence-PC) depuis 2005.
  • vishu_ka
    not even a single GTA series game... this list doesn't work for me! ;)
  • Aoyagi
    Obligatory post complaining about picking Diablo 3 over Diablo 2.
  • cats_Paw
    Starcraft 1. There is still hope for Toms :D.Many games that are here I must admit I never played, but I can aggree with some titles like Doom3 (oh man, when this came out it was crazy, I can only pray they do such a great job with Doom 4).Skyrim is rather obvious but Id rather see morrowind here.I also agree on D2 over D3, but D2 came to life when gaming was much less popular.WoW is no suprise :D.Tomb raider 2 is cute, but I sort of would have liked to see a Price of persia title in here. Nostalgia and all.
  • knowom
    4If I had to pick a top 3 from this list it would be Everquest, Counter Strike, and Skyrim.The fact that league of legends isn't on this list is beyond fail especially when they put Diablo 3 on the list that's just trolling.
  • Divyanshu Sah
    On what basis have they made this article . If it is on the basis of no. of copies sold. Then they must include gta 5 which sold around 32.5 million copies and what about call of duty.
  • AlbertXi
    Guys this is a POPULAR list based on units SOLD is not about what is a good game, that is why there is Diablo 3 instead of 2.
  • AlbertXi
    GTA 5? is A PC LIST!!!! and League of Legends is free, so not sold!!! can you guys read or not?
  • sdutton007
    "Baldur’s Gate is a role-playing game (RPG) with sales exceeding two million units. Released in 1998, it is the first title to be set in the famous Forgotten Realms, and is heavily inspired by Advanced Dungeons & Dragons."There were many other titles set in the Forgotten Realms before BG, and it is not inspired by AD&D. AD&D is the set of rules that BG runs on.
  • joditas
    It says "Most Popular *PC* Games", so GTA 5 wouldn't qualify, at least not yet. GTA San Andreas has PC version but available data seems to indicate most of sales are generated from consoles, same for CoD series.Not sure about Diablo 2, I thought it should be on the list, maybe Diablo 3 does sell more due to its modern status and anticipation.Well PC gamers, time to step up :)
  • AlbertXi
    GTA 5? is A PC LIST!!!! and League of Legends is free, so not sold!!! can you guys read or not?