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!
#15: Cossacks: European Wars
Sold: 4 Million Copies
(Source: GSC Game World)
Released in 2001 by GSC Game World, Cossacks: European Wars follows the traditional formula of the RTS genre. It features a large variety of factions (16 total) and military units to choose from. In addition, the cut scenes and the opening video are impressive. However, the main attraction is the opportunity to stage massive conflicts, as up to 8000 units can be on the battlefield at the same time.
#14: Diablo II
Sold: 4 Million Copies
(Source: Blizzard Press Release via GamesFirst.com)
Diablo II, released in 2000 by Blizzard Entertainment, is a fantasy/horror-based action role-playing game. This title expands on the features of the original Diablo with new characters, settings, and advanced combat. We're eagerly awaiting the release of Diablo III later this year.
Sold: 4.2 Million Copies
(Source: GPS Facebook Page)
Released in 1999 by the Valve Corporation, Counter-Strike started as a fan-made Half-Life mod. It broke new ground on the first-person shooter multiplayer scene with its counter-terrorists vs. terrorists team-based gameplay and, according to GameSpy, is still the most played Half-Life mod. The number of copies sold above doesn't include the Steam-generated sales of the 2004 updated re-release (Counter-Strike: Source).
#12: StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Sold: 4.5 Million Copies
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is, obviously, the sequel to StarCraft. Released in 2010 by Blizzard Entertainment, many call StarCraft II one of the best RTS titles of all time. This one currently has a 93% aggregate score on Metacritic, celebrated for its refinements of the original's classic gameplay.
Sold: 4.5 Million Copies
(Source: Los Angeles Times Interview)
Released in 1997 by Br?derbund, the sequel to Myst features more complicated puzzles and improved graphics compared to its predecessor.
#10: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Sold: 4.7 Million Copies
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was released in 2011 by Blizzard Entertainment, and is the latest expansion of the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft. You can tell that a game is big (or that a publisher has deep pockets) when Mr. T and Chuck Norris do commercials for it during prime time. In addition to a new storyline, areas, quests, instances, and raids, it features an extensive overhaul of the original World of Warcraft world, including flying mounts over the Eastern Kingdoms.
Sold: At Least 5 Million PC (9.3 Million Copies Across All Platforms)
(Source: Gamasutra, Amazon Reviews)
Valve Corporation's Half-Life is still considered one of the best and most genre-defining first-person shooters of all time, only rivaled in its significance by Doom and the original FPS, Wolfenstein. Released in 1998, it put Valve Corporation on the map, and managed to win 50 Game of the Year awards.
#8: SimCity 3000
Sold: 5 Million Copies
(Source: Electronic Arts)
Before The Sims franchise, there was SimCity. As the third major installment in Electronic Arts' city-building simulator, SimCity 3000, released in 1999, featured improved graphics and a more complex array of city services, such as waste management.
#7: Battlefield 3
Sold: At Least 5 Million
(Source: MKM Partners)
Released in 2011 by Electronic Arts, Battlefield 3 boasts amazing graphics able to tax the latest-generation graphics cards. Take a look at this first-person shooter's performance on the PC.
Sold: 5.3 Million Copies
Minecraft, released only last year by Mojang, has already sold enough copies to make it to #8 of our Top 15. This is particularly remarkable since it's an indie game. Minecraft is a sandbox-building game that allows you to choose between a few different gameplay styles.
#5: Half-Life 2
Sold: At Least 6 Million PC (12 Million Copies Across All Platforms)
(Source: Valve interview, NPD Annual Sale Reports)
Released in 2004 by the Valve Corporation, the sequel to Half-Life has won 39 Game of the Year Awards and is currently Metacritic's highest-rated first-person shooter of all time. The game features dynamic lighting, shadows, and realistic water effects.
#4: The Sims 2
Sold: At Least 6 Million PC (13 Million Copies Across All Platforms)
(Source: GameSpy, Amazon Reviews)
The Sims 2 is one of two sequels to Electronic Arts' family and neighborhood simulation game The Sims. Released in 2004, The Sims 2 features aging characters and greater customization than the original game, as well as vastly improved graphics (for what that's worth).
Sold: 6 Million Copies
(Source: Wired Magazine)
Originally released by Br?derbund in 1993, Myst is a straightforward adventure game that featured stunning graphics for its time. It was the best-selling computer game of all time until The Sims was released nine years later. Together with its four sequels, the Myst franchise has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.
Sold: At least 7 Million PC (11 Million Copies Across All Platforms)
(Source: Edge Magazine)
StarCraft is a competitive multiplayer RTS that was released by Blizzard Entertainment in 1998. Based in a science fiction setting, StarCraft boasts three distinct factions and a well-balanced game structure. GameSpot hailed StarCraft as "the standard by which all real-time strategy games are judged".
#1: The Sims (Original)
Sold: At Least 7 Million Copies (16 Million Copies Across All Platforms)
(Sources: GameSpot, TMCnet, NPD Annual Sale Reports)
The Sims is a simulation game in which you create and control the lives of individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Released in 2000 by Electronic Arts, The Sims quickly topped global PC game sale charts from 2000 to 2004, taking over the record previously set by Myst. Together with The Sims 2 and 3 (and many expansions for all three games), the franchise has sold over 125 million copies worldwide across all platforms.