Over the last decade or so, gaming has become more accessible and massively popular. Games are becoming bigger and selling in the millions. The games featured in this article stand out for two reasons: setting a precedent and highlighting why games are a popular medium. If you want to know which games sold the most copies within 24 hours, keep reading.
The 10 best-selling games in 24 hours, listed
To start, this list isn’t ranked but it’ll go in order of sales. This way, as you get further down in the article, games will have bigger sales numbers. So follow along.
Halo and Xbox have been intertwined for over 20 years, so much so that you can’t have one without the other. Even before social media and YouTube, the Halo brand sold like hotcakes. Halo 2 kept up the momentum during its release in 2004 by selling 2.4 million copies within the first 24 hours. Not only did the shooter sell well, but it made Microsoft $125 million on the first day which was over their projected estimates of $100 million.
Grand Theft Auto IV
The funny thing is that most games made by Rockstar Games usually sell well. This tends to happen when you put games decades apart. However, Grand Theft Auto IV is a special case as it’s the first GTA game on Xbox 360 and PS3. Because those two consoles enjoyed high sales, this made other games like GTA have a large player base. The good thing is that GTA IV can rely on its name, which helped sell the fifth installment in the mainline series for about over 300 million copies resulting in $125 million in revenue for the company.
Pokemon X & Y
The Pokemon IP has always been a juggernaut in every medium it’s in. From the TV shows to the figures, the brand normally sells above average. The Pokemon games are no exception. Pre-orders in Japan for Pokemon X & Y were about 15 million units making it the highest-selling game for the 3DS in Japan. That’s just in Japan, for the rest of the world, the game sold about four million copies which has made it the fastest-selling 3DS game.
As mentioned for Halo 2, it’s mostly always about the shooter’s name that helps sell. Since the 2004 sequel did well in sales, a lot of pressure was on Bungie to end the classic trilogy with a bang. The good news is they did just that. Halo 3 sold over 1 million copies and earned the company about $170 million during the first 24 hours. These numbers are quite impressive because Halo 3 was only available on the Xbox 360.
Blizzard Entertainment games sell like gangbusters for the most part. Most games that come out of the company are massive releases that have long lives. Diablo 3 is very much like that. It had a ton of post-launch content and launched the series to new heights. According to Blizzard, the ARPG sold nearly 3.5 million units which allegedly made it the best-selling PC game of all time. However, if you remember the DRM fiasco and the not-so-great launch, things weren’t perfect. But still, the game sold well enough for Blizzard to put out Diablo 4. But don’t worry, if you’re planning on getting into Diablo 3 now, it might be a great time to do so.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
The Call of Duty series has been a force in the gaming world to this day. The game has been around for a long time and has become a pop culture icon in the same way as Halo has. While COD has many series going on at once, the Black Ops line is probably a fan favorite for the most part. Black Ops 3 sold about 5.6 million copies which gave Activision $310 million in day one sales. The best part about these numbers is that Black Ops 3 sold well even during an industry-wide down year.
Even with Bethesda putting Skyrim years after its initial release, the game made history back in 2011. On day one release, the RPG sold 350 million copies which is, frankly, an enormous number of copies. The Elder Scrolls series wasn’t mainstream until after Skyrim and it shows since many players are still supporting the game over a decade after its release. Bethesda tried to recapture the magic with Starfield which was hailed as the “Skyrim is space”. However, while it sold well, sadly, it’s hard to achieve Skyrim’s numbers.
Being Bungie’s first non-Halo release, a lot was riding on its success. Destiny did do well for them and Activision because it sold around ten million copies and brought home nearly $500 million in sales. This feat made the PVPVE shooter one the best-selling new IPS in gaming Despite its somewhat stale and repetitive gameplay, Destiny showed it was here to stay. Thankfully, in Destiny 2 Bungie fixed all the problems making the sequel a far better game than its predecessor
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Oh, look another CoD game on this list. One would assume that the yearly release of games would stagger sales and player base, right? However, for some reason, CoD is immune to these problems. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is a good example of that. The final chapter of the Modern Warfare series sold 6.5 million copies and earned around $400 million in sales. This is a big jump of $310 million in sales from Modern Warfare 2. It just shows that Call of Duty in general has enough steam in it and gamers are always ready for a fresh installment.
Grand Theft Auto V
Here we are at the end of what is probably the most expensive game ever made (don’t quote me on that). In the first 24 hours of its release, Grand Theft Auto V sold 11 million copies and raked in a whopping $800 million in revenue for Rockstar Games. That’s not all though, it took the open-world game around six weeks to reach $1 billion in sales with 29 million sold. GTA V broke quite a few records that it may be hard for the sequel in GTA VI to beat. But because these games are popular and always deliver, one could assume each release will beat the last.
These are all great games, despite having been released in the recent past. If you’re looking for some incredible games from 2023, find out what we here at PC Invasion selected for the 2023 Game of the Year, along with some honorable mentions from the PCI staff.