Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

The world of gaming is vast and diverse, with numerous genres and sub-genres to explore. But among all the different types of games, the role-playing game (RPG) has captured the hearts and imaginations of gamers worldwide. With countless RPGs released over the years, the question remains: what is the best-selling RPG of all time? Join us as we embark on a journey to find out, delving into the rich history of RPGs and uncovering the game that has reigned supreme in terms of sales. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or a newcomer to the world of RPGs, this is a journey you won’t want to miss!

Quick Answer:
It is difficult to determine the best-selling RPG (Role-Playing Game) of all time as different sources may have different criteria for what constitutes an RPG and what sales data to use. However, some of the most popular and best-selling RPGs include the “Dungeons & Dragons” series, “Final Fantasy” series, “The Elder Scrolls” series, and “The Witcher” series. These games have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been praised for their immersive storytelling, engaging gameplay, and rich world-building. Ultimately, the best-selling RPG of all time may depend on individual preferences and opinions.

The Rise of Role-Playing Games

The Origins of RPGs

Early Role-Playing Games

The concept of role-playing games (RPGs) has been around for several decades, with the first games emerging in the 1970s. These early RPGs were largely text-based and focused on interactive storytelling, allowing players to assume the roles of various characters in a fictional world.

Dungeons & Dragons

One of the earliest and most influential RPGs was Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. D&D was a revolutionary game that combined elements of fantasy literature, miniature wargames, and tabletop board games to create a unique gaming experience. Players took on the roles of adventurers, exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, and completing quests in a rich, imaginative world.

D&D quickly gained popularity, and its success spawned a whole new genre of RPGs. The game’s open-ended nature allowed for endless possibilities, and players could customize their characters by choosing from a variety of races, classes, and abilities. This flexibility helped D&D become one of the most beloved and influential games of all time, paving the way for future RPGs and inspiring countless other tabletop and video games.

The Evolution of RPGs

The earliest role-playing games (RPGs) were text-based and typically played on mainframe computers in the 1970s. These games, such as Colossal Cave Adventure and Zork, required players to type commands to interact with the game world and solve puzzles.

Console RPGs

In the 1980s, console RPGs became popular with the release of games like The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. These games introduced turn-based combat and a more immersive storytelling experience.


In the 1990s, PC RPGs gained popularity with the release of games like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. These games offered more open-world exploration and player choice in character development.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)

With the advent of the internet, MMORPGs emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Games like EverQuest and World of Warcraft allowed players to connect with others from around the world and explore vast virtual worlds together. These games introduced a new level of social interaction and community building within the RPG genre.

The Best-Selling RPGs of All Time

Key takeaway: Role-playing games (RPGs) have been popular for several decades, with franchises like Mario & Luigi, Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy being among the best-selling RPGs of all time. The popularity of franchises, advancements in graphics and storytelling, and effective marketing and advertising have all contributed to the sales of RPGs. The future of RPGs looks bright, with indie developers pushing the genre forward with innovative ideas and a growing focus on sustainability and ethical practices in the gaming industry.

Nintendo Franchises

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a popular role-playing game developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The game features the beloved characters Mario and Luigi, who embark on a journey to save the Mushroom Kingdom from the evil Bowser. With its unique blend of action, humor, and turn-based battles, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga became an instant classic and sold over 5 million copies worldwide.


Pokémon is a multimedia franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and Game Freak in 1996. The franchise consists of video games, trading card games, and an anime television series. The first Pokémon games, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, were released for the Game Boy in 1996 and became a phenomenon, selling over 31 million copies worldwide. The franchise has since expanded to include numerous sequels, spin-offs, and merchandise, cementing its status as one of the best-selling RPG franchises of all time.

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda is a popular video game series created by Shigeru Miyamoto and developed by Nintendo. The first game in the series, The Legend of Zelda, was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. The series has since released numerous titles across multiple platforms, with each game often selling millions of copies. The franchise has become one of the most successful and beloved video game series of all time, with its most recent entry, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, selling over 35 million copies as of 2021.

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is a role-playing game series developed and published by Square Enix. The first game in the series was released in 1987, and since then, it has become one of the most successful and beloved franchises in the gaming industry.

Early Games in the Series

The early games in the Final Fantasy series were primarily focused on traditional RPG gameplay mechanics, such as turn-based battles and a party-based system. These games also featured a unique job system, which allowed players to customize their characters’ abilities and stats.

Innovative Features

Final Fantasy is known for its innovative features, such as its use of cinematic storytelling and memorable characters. The series has also been praised for its engaging storylines and memorable soundtracks, which have become iconic in the gaming industry.

Popularity and Sales

Final Fantasy has sold over 135 million units worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. The series has also received critical acclaim and has won numerous awards, including several Game of the Year awards.


Final Fantasy has had a significant impact on the gaming industry and has inspired numerous other RPGs and video games. The series has also spawned numerous spin-offs, including movies, novels, and anime series.


Final Fantasy is a groundbreaking RPG series that has had a significant impact on the gaming industry. With its innovative features, engaging storylines, and memorable characters, it has become one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.

Other Notable RPGs

  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Elder Scrolls series, developed by Bethesda Game Studios, is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed RPG series of all time.
    • The series has sold over 35 million copies worldwide, with its latest installment, Skyrim, being the best-selling game in the series.
    • The Elder Scrolls series is known for its open-world exploration, immersive storytelling, and dynamic combat system.
    • The series has won numerous awards and has a dedicated fan base that eagerly anticipates each new release.
  • Fallout
    • Fallout is another highly successful RPG series developed by Bethesda Game Studios.
    • The series has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, with its latest installment, Fallout 4, being the best-selling game in the series.
    • Fallout is known for its post-apocalyptic setting, unique gameplay mechanics, and deep storytelling.
    • The series has a passionate fan base that enjoys the game’s mix of action, adventure, and role-playing elements.
  • Skyrim
    • Skyrim, the latest installment in the Elder Scrolls series, is one of the best-selling games of all time, with over 30 million copies sold worldwide.
    • Skyrim is known for its stunning visuals, immersive gameplay, and vast open-world environment.
    • The game has won numerous awards and has been praised for its attention to detail and level of player choice.
    • Skyrim has become a cultural phenomenon and is widely regarded as one of the greatest RPGs of all time.

Factors Contributing to Sales

Popularity of Franchises

Brand Recognition

One of the key factors contributing to the sales of role-playing games (RPGs) is the popularity of the franchise. A well-known and established franchise can generate significant interest in a new RPG release, even if the game itself is not as innovative or groundbreaking as previous installments. This is because the franchise’s brand recognition creates a sense of familiarity and trust among fans, who may be more likely to purchase the game based on their previous positive experiences with the series.

Additionally, the popularity of a franchise can also influence the marketing and promotion of the game. For example, a game that is part of a popular franchise may receive more media coverage and attention from gaming websites and influencers, which can help to increase awareness and anticipation for the game’s release. This can result in higher sales figures, as more people become interested in the game due to the franchise’s popularity.

Fan Loyalty

Another factor that contributes to the sales of RPGs is fan loyalty. Fans of a particular franchise may be more likely to purchase a new RPG release simply because it is part of their favorite series. This loyalty can be driven by a variety of factors, such as a strong emotional connection to the characters and storyline, a desire to continue the story or complete a collection, or a sense of investment in the franchise’s ongoing development.

Fan loyalty can also manifest in the form of pre-orders and special editions of the game. Fans who are excited about a new RPG release may be willing to pre-order the game or purchase a special edition that includes exclusive content or merchandise. This can help to drive up sales figures and create a buzz around the game’s release.

Overall, the popularity of a franchise can play a significant role in the sales of an RPG. Whether it is driven by brand recognition or fan loyalty, the appeal of a well-known and beloved franchise can help to generate interest and excitement for a new game release, leading to higher sales figures and continued success for the franchise.

Technological Advancements


One of the key factors contributing to the sales of RPGs is the technological advancements in graphics. With the rise of gaming consoles and computers that can handle more complex graphics, RPGs have been able to create immersive worlds that draw players in. High-quality graphics have allowed for more realistic characters, environments, and battles, making the gameplay experience more engaging and enjoyable. Additionally, the ability to create dynamic lighting, weather effects, and other environmental elements has added to the overall sense of immersion and realism in RPGs.


Another factor that has contributed to the sales of RPGs is the emphasis on storytelling. Many RPGs feature complex narratives with well-developed characters, plot twists, and branching storylines that keep players engaged and invested in the game world. The use of voice acting, cinematic cutscenes, and other storytelling techniques has added to the immersive experience and made RPGs more than just a game, but a form of interactive entertainment. With the rise of choice-based gameplay mechanics, where players can make decisions that affect the outcome of the story, RPGs have become even more appealing to players who enjoy being in control of their gaming experience.

In conclusion, the advancements in graphics and storytelling have played a significant role in the popularity and sales of RPGs. With the continued development of technology, it is likely that RPGs will continue to be a beloved genre among gamers for years to come.

Marketing and Advertising

Social Media

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of any successful marketing campaign. Game developers can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to promote their games and engage with their audience. Social media allows developers to share game trailers, release dates, and behind-the-scenes content, which can generate excitement and anticipation for the game’s release. Social media also provides a direct line of communication between the developer and the player, allowing for feedback and suggestions to be shared and considered.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy that involves partnering with individuals who have a large following on social media to promote a product or service. In the gaming industry, influencers can have a significant impact on a game’s sales. These influencers can create video content showcasing the game, share their thoughts and opinions on the game, and provide recommendations to their followers. Influencer marketing can be especially effective for niche games that may not have a large marketing budget but have a dedicated fan base.

Another aspect of marketing and advertising is the use of targeted advertising. Game developers can use data analytics to identify potential customers and target them with personalized ads. This can include displaying ads to users who have previously shown interest in similar games or offering discounts to customers who have previously purchased games from the same developer.

Overall, the use of marketing and advertising can greatly impact a game’s sales. Developers must carefully consider their marketing strategy and budget to ensure that their game reaches the right audience and generates interest and excitement among potential customers.

The Future of RPGs

Continued Evolution

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, the role-playing game (RPG) genre remains a fan favorite. The future of RPGs is looking brighter than ever, with exciting new technologies and innovations on the horizon. Here are some of the most promising developments:

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we experience RPGs. With VR, players can fully immerse themselves in a game’s world, interacting with characters and environments in a way that was previously impossible. This level of immersion can make for a much more engaging and memorable gaming experience.

Some of the most exciting VR RPGs currently in development include:

  • Sword of the Stars: The Pit: This VR RPG takes place in a science fiction universe, where players must fight their way through hordes of alien monsters to survive.
  • The Void: This multiplayer VR RPG allows players to team up and explore a vast, interconnected world filled with danger and adventure.
  • Star Trek: Bridge Crew: This VR RPG lets players take on the roles of Star Trek crew members, working together to navigate the galaxy and overcome challenges.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology blends the digital and physical worlds, allowing players to experience RPGs in a more interactive and engaging way. For example, an AR RPG might use the player’s surroundings as the game world, with digital characters and objects overlaying the real world.

Some of the most exciting AR RPGs currently in development include:

  • Pokémon Go: This popular mobile game uses AR technology to let players catch and battle virtual creatures in the real world.
  • Ingress: This multiplayer AR RPG involves players competing to control territory and resources in a global conflict.
  • Harry Potter: Wizards Unite: This upcoming AR RPG lets players explore a magical world filled with wizards, spells, and iconic locations from the Harry Potter series.

As these technologies continue to develop, the future of RPGs looks brighter than ever. Whether you prefer the immersion of VR or the interactivity of AR, there’s never been a better time to be an RPG fan.

Indie Developers


Indie developers have been responsible for some of the most innovative and unique RPGs in recent years. These smaller development teams often have the freedom to take risks and experiment with new ideas, resulting in games that challenge traditional RPG conventions. For example, the indie game “Undertale” introduced a unique battle system where players could choose to either fight enemies or talk their way out of conflicts, while “Nier: Automata” combined action-based gameplay with a deep and emotional story.


Indie developers have also been instrumental in making RPGs more accessible to a wider audience. Many indie RPGs are designed with more inclusive and diverse perspectives, featuring protagonists of different genders, races, and sexual orientations. Additionally, many indie RPGs are designed with more accessible controls and gameplay mechanics, making them easier for players to pick up and play. For example, the indie game “Axiom Verge” features a unique blend of Metroidvania-style exploration and side-scrolling action, while “Hollow Knight” is known for its simple yet addictive gameplay.

Overall, indie developers have played a significant role in shaping the future of RPGs, pushing the genre forward with their innovative ideas and making it more accessible to a wider audience. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see what new and exciting RPGs indie developers will bring to the table.


Ethical Gaming Practices

In recent years, there has been growing concern about the ethical implications of the gaming industry. Many players and developers are beginning to question the impact that games can have on society, and the industry as a whole is starting to take notice. As a result, there has been a push towards more ethical gaming practices, including the creation of games that promote positive values and encourage players to engage in responsible behavior.

Environmental Impact

Another important aspect of sustainability in the gaming industry is the environmental impact of game production and distribution. With the rise of digital distribution, the amount of physical materials used in game production has decreased, but the energy consumption of data centers and servers has increased. As a result, many game developers are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and make their operations more environmentally friendly.

Corporate Social Responsibility

In addition to ethical gaming practices and environmental impact, there is also a growing focus on corporate social responsibility in the gaming industry. Many game companies are beginning to take a more active role in addressing social and environmental issues, and are working to ensure that their business practices are sustainable and ethical. This includes initiatives such as reducing waste, supporting local communities, and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Overall, the future of RPGs looks bright, with a growing focus on sustainability and ethical practices. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be important for game developers and players alike to prioritize these values and work towards a more sustainable and responsible future for gaming.


1. What is an RPG?

An RPG, or Role-Playing Game, is a type of video game that allows players to assume the role of a character in a fictional world. Players take on the role of the protagonist and make decisions that shape the story and outcome of the game.

2. What is the best selling RPG of all time?

The best selling RPG of all time is “Grand Theft Auto V”, developed by Rockstar Games. Released in 2013, the game has sold over 135 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time.

3. What makes Grand Theft Auto V so popular?

Grand Theft Auto V’s popularity can be attributed to its open-world design, immersive storyline, and expansive range of activities and missions. The game also features a strong character development system, which allows players to customize their character’s appearance and abilities. Additionally, the game’s multiplayer mode, “Grand Theft Auto Online”, has also contributed to its success.

4. Are there any other popular RPGs?

Yes, there are many other popular RPGs. Some of the most popular include “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”, “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”, “Final Fantasy VII”, “Mass Effect 2”, and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. These games have all received critical acclaim and have large fan bases.

5. What are some other factors that contribute to an RPG’s success?

In addition to a compelling storyline and engaging gameplay, other factors that contribute to an RPG’s success include its visuals, soundtrack, and replayability. A game with a stunning visual design and immersive soundtrack can enhance the overall experience for players. Additionally, games with high replayability, such as those with multiple endings or a robust character customization system, can keep players engaged for hours on end.

10 Greatest RPG Video Games Of All Time

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