Wii Play, Guitar Hero III top games of 2000s...so far

Nintendo's Wii Remote pack-in and Activision's guitar-based rocker cap NPD's top 10 US bestsellers from Jan. 2000 to Aug. 2009; San Andreas, Call of Duty 4, Wii Fit also make chart.

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Though it no longer enjoys a permanent spot on the monthly top 10 list, Wii Play has made its mark on the US game industry.

What a difference a remote makes.

According to sales figures provided directly to GameSpot by the NPD Group, the Wii-exclusive minigame collection is the best-selling non-PC software title of the decade--so far. Some 11.1 million units of the tepidly reviewed title have been sold domestically since its 2006 release, in no small part due to the game being packed in with a Wii Remote. In May, Nintendo reported that nearly 23 million Wii Plays were sold worldwide.

Number two on NPD's list, which covers total multiplatform sales from January 2009 to August 2009, is Activision's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Released in October 2007, the game has sold 10.3 million units on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. The total covers all the game's retail configurations, including single- and double-guitar pack-ins and the solo software. As of May 2009, the Guitar Hero franchise--which Activision acquired for under $100 million in 2006--had generated over $2 billion in revenue.

Guitar Hero III brought faux-rock to over 10 million US living rooms.

Taking the bronze in the decade-to-date chart is its most controversial entry, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Xbox, PlayStation 2) with 9.8 million units. Released to universal acclaim in 2004, the game sparked massive controversy the following year, when the discovery of sex minigames caused the title to be re-rated, recalled, rereleased, and investigated by the federal government. Just last month, one of the last lawsuits filed over the game was settled for over $20 million.

Though Activision is touting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as the "biggest entertainment launch ever," its predecessor had to settle for fourth place on NPD's 2000-2009 top 10. Released in 2007 for the PS3 and 360, the Infinity Ward-developed critical darling sold 8.5 million units domestically--and over 14 million worldwide as of Activision Blizzard's last financial report, released in August. That was 600,000 better than fifth-place finisher Wii Fit, which came exclusively in a $90 bundle with the Wii Balance Board.

"Oh, no. I am not falling for that 'Come up for some coffee' line again."

The most recent Treyarch-developed entry in the Call of Duty series, World at War, is the ninth best-selling game in the US, although NPD did not release figures for the bottom five titles. It barely bested Microsoft's 10th-place Halo 2 (2004), but fell behind sixth-place Madden NFL 07 (2006), seventh-place Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), and eighth-place Madden NFL 08 (2007).

BEST-SELLING US GAME SOFTWARE: JAN. 2000-AUG. 2009
RANK / TITLE (YEAR) / PLATFORM(S) / UNIT SALES
1 / Wii Play with Remote (2006) / Wii / 11.1 million
2 / Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (2007) / PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 / 10.3 million
3 / Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) / PS2, Xbox / 9.8 million
4 / Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) / DS, PS3, Xbox 360 / 8.5 million
5 / Wii Fit with Balance Board (2008) / Wii / 7.9 million
6 / Madden NFL 07 (2006) / GC, GBA, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
7/ Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) / PS2, Xbox
8 / Madden NFL 08 (2007) / GC, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360,
9 / Call of Duty: World at War (2008) / DS, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
10 / Halo 2 (2004) / Xbox

Source: The NPD Group. Sales figures for titles 6-10 not provided to press.

Discussion

221 comments
Zeus
Zeus

Even the sales figures are bs, I think. Mario Kart, SSBB, and a bunch of the other top wii titles outsold the top titles on other consoles like 2:1. Either the authors are willfully ignorant or getting their info from an erroneous source.

pataponplayer
pataponplayer

Wii Play is such a scam and a half-assed mini game cluster. Definitely does NOT deserve #1.

OzeroCa
OzeroCa

SO not interested in any of the games in that list. Mine would include LBP, Fallout, Oblivion, and maybe MGS4

LordAndrew
LordAndrew

@F1_2004 This chart doesn't include PC games. I doubt we've really gotten over it.

F1_2004
F1_2004

What's this? The Sims is finally not taking up 5/10 of the top-selling games list? Thank god we got over that...

buckybuckster
buckybuckster

This list proves what i've been saying for a long time. That we as a gaming community are nothing more than a bunch of violence loving, musically inclined sports fans who on occasion are suckered into buying a crappy $10 game when it's packed with a $40 controller......DUH!:)

anmacd
anmacd

Why is that half of you cant seem to read this article correctly? it's not a "Top 10" list of quality games, or well-thought out games, or innovative games - its US SALES and NOTHING ELSE. WoW is not on there because it clearly states its a list of top selling non-PC games. Wii Fit IS a game that comes bundled with the Wii Fit Balance Board peripheral, to address just a few of the questionable comments that have been made, despite the fact that countless posts before me have pointed out these facts as well. There's some good games in there and some questionable ones, but I suppose it goes to show that marketing an adequate game alongside an innovative peripheral can net you some big cash in the US. 3 of the top 5 were included in software/hardware bundles. And for all you ultra-opinionated out there, who posted "all the games on that list suck" then you can look on the brightside and consider yourself (falsely) "smarter" than the 40 million-odd ppl who purchased those titles. ;)

Zazabar11
Zazabar11

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

failspy
failspy

Sales aren't everything...there's a lot of gems missing from that list.

Flint247
Flint247

Worst, top ten list, ever.

ZeldaMutant
ZeldaMutant

Halo 3 sold 8.1 million in 2007 alone. Why the heck is it not listed? Blind anti-halo fanboys again?

grove12345
grove12345

wonder why WOW isnt there. I think they reached over 11 million. Seeing something stupid like a Wii board selling so well makes me shudder.

Evil_Robo
Evil_Robo

@tbs76 Wii fit isnt a game -thats what people like you(wi bashers) tend to overlook and Wii play comes with a Wiimote -thats the reason the latter has sold so well. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the quality of games, innovation or whatever else. Its good marketing aiming at another market....and an extra Wiimote. People have to realise that EVERYONE plays the Wii, it has every kind of software for every kind of person. Is it in line with REAL games? Well ask MS and Sony who are unleashing their casual peripherals very soon.

tekken220
tekken220

No wonder so many little kids have GTA San Andreas XD

Ashki
Ashki

To many games published by the evil that is Activsion on that list.

Newave
Newave

Why do people keep buying these terrible games? There are actual GOOD games out there as well, you know? There is literally not a single game on this top 10 list worth even farting in the same direction as.

silvertalis315
silvertalis315

Didn't Halo 3 sell like, 3 times as much as Halo 2?

Kyleve
Kyleve

Where is WOW on that list?

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

how come i didnt i ever see the beach girl without the bikini in gta sa?

Rokon37
Rokon37

@Gatsbythepig If you check the citation next to the figure you cited in the Wikia page, you'll see that GTA4 sold 10 million copies, not 100 million, (which would be more than the entire GTA series sales combined +30 million more). It was either a typo or someone mis-read it.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Then again, I might be crazy. Now that I think about it, I imagine Tetris is the biggest of all-time. I still think GTA 4 has some sales records though.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

@Dualmask I was just about to say thanks for pointing out what I missed, then I reread the article. I'll have to finish the quote-"...units as of 1 August 2008." You were correct in pointing out US sales, but those numbers were from a year ago. I suppose the NPD probably has those numbers too. I'd like to find them, because I was under the impression that GTA 4 held the world record for sales.

Dualmask
Dualmask

@gatsbythepig you missed one detail: "According to the NPD Group ... the game has sold 4.711 million units in the US ..." These figures come from NPD, which tracks US sales. The figures you got for GTA IV are based on worldwide sales.

tbs76
tbs76

I will take heat for my following comments I am sure but what bugs me about Wii Play and Wii Fit being on this chart is the fact that both games arent even that good. They are just fad games that people bought and play for all of a half hour and then collect dust. I just shows you how the games industry is not always led by great games and innovation but more by marketing and trends. I own a Wii, and yes I do enjoy it, but I am so sick and tired of seeing these fad games do well because the inspired the industry to keep making terrible knockoffs. Like one person said in a blog awhile back..." there are hundreds of games available for Wii and only about ten that are any good"....and guess what the ones that are always seem to be made by Nintendo!

huszyr
huszyr

where is metal gear solid 4 some people bought a ps3 for mgs4 so where is it

Rokon37
Rokon37

@railroberto2007 GS didn't mess anything up, the numbers comes straight from the NPD group, they're just reporting them. Also, WoW has 11 million accounts *worldwide*, not just in the US, which are what these numbers are referring to.

SloLynx
SloLynx

@railroberto2007 Lol, your right xD

railroberto2007
railroberto2007

uh hasnt world of warcraft sold over 11 million copies? how could gamespot mess that up

Jack_n_Coke07
Jack_n_Coke07

That list is a load of bull. How are Gran Turismo 3, Halo 1, and GTA III not on this list? They were some of the best selling games for this decade's consoles? What a bunch of crap. Guitar Hero doesn't even deserve to be on the list.

okassar
okassar

Call of Duty MW2 is going to get way up there, I'm hoping #1. and Wii Play really shouldn't be counted, lol, I mean it's nice and all, but seriously, it comes with the controller....

Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

@KittyHeart: It's because people knew about GH before RB, so obviously they're going to buy the former. Also, they have no clue that the creative force behind GH actually moved over to MTV games to make RB. Wii Play only got up there because it was bundled with a Wiimote.

aldrenar47
aldrenar47

"Wii Play sucks, so why is it a top game" Most people probably bought it because they wanted another controller, and figured that Wii Sports was fun so for 10 bucks Wii Play would probably be worth it. I haven't played the game, so I can't say whether it's actually worth 10 bucks or not.

darthvader1993
darthvader1993

Wii play is still the best purchase you can get for the wii. A controller plus a number of single and two player games. And of course that tank game was the Sh*t, that game is worth it alone, like many have said.

Ryguy4738
Ryguy4738

Wii Play sucks, so why is it a top game

rulo_rezn0r
rulo_rezn0r

San Andreas was the best game last gen

jimmy8118
jimmy8118

World At War, are you ******* serious!? That game was crap, most disappointing game ever. And why always U.S. sales, I want to know the worldwide sales! If it was worldwide sales then the list would be completely different. Guitar Hero III was a terrible game. Congratulations to the Madden games, they are awesome. I figured San Andreas and Vice City would have much bigger sales, the Wii games I could care less if they were at the top or bottom. Halo 2 and Modern Warfare are two of my favorite games so I'm glad they were on the list.

KittyHeart
KittyHeart

GH3 outsold rock band 1 (and 2 i guess) people said that rock band will outsell gh3 and make gh3 obsolete, but they were wrong. and i love gh3 as well. hugs game!

df-1
df-1

...And wheres world of warcraft?

SLjimbolian
SLjimbolian

Interesting list. There's no doubt Wii Play had a lot of help considering it was packed with an addition Wii-mote. I'm actually surprised CoD4 has sold incredibly.

Berserkerz
Berserkerz

this goes to show you, people don't buy a lot of games for the PS2. I mean with that much numbers, it's sad to see the best selling game only sold 10 mills.

daabulls23
daabulls23

Nintendo made some serious cash.

Rokon37
Rokon37

@ kevdog315 WoW has 11 million subscribers *worldwide*, not just in the US, which are what these numbers are referring to.

DivineMeliadoul
DivineMeliadoul

As for why there are no pc titles. The source is NPD and I don't think they track the computer market. I could be wrong.

revolutionary0
revolutionary0

Wii Fit was released in 2007 in Japan. In the United States it was released in May 2008. It doesn't really matter, but it is jaw-dropping to see how fast that damn thing sold.

enix165
enix165

And the sad thing is Wii Play prolly only sold because of the Wiimote(same for Wii Fit and the board) and Guitar Hero 3 was the first of the super-milked GH games. D=