The highest-selling games of 2023 have been revealed, with Hogwarts Legacy breaking a 15-year streak from Call of Duty and Rockstar Games. That’s not the only surprise on the list, though.
2023 was a ridiculous year for video games, with every week seemingly bringing a new AAA title. It was so intense that even other major releases were pushed back to make sure that gamers still had enough money in their wallets to purchase them. It was so packed that even games like Street Fighter 6 and Final Fantasy 16, which enjoyed strong critical reception and commercial sales, weren’t even in the running for Game of the Year honors.
They’re not alone though, only a couple of games enjoyed both effusive critical praise and top-10 sales. Many staple annual franchises also appeared, as did several splashy adaptations alongside Hogwarts Legacy.
Hogwarts Legacy tops the list of highest-selling games in 2023
The top ten best-selling games of 2023 include a variety of genres. This ranking is based on dollar sales of physical and digital copies across all platforms, excluding DLC, and comes from gaming industry analyst Mat Piscatella.
The number-one game in 2023 in terms of dollar sales was Hogwarts Legacy. Developed by Avalanche Software, Hogwarts Legacy is a rare departure from the norm of the sales charts being topped by Call of Duty or titles from Rockstar Games. In the overall rankings per platform, Hogwarts Legacy finished first on PlayStation, second on Xbox, and fifth on Nintendo. These rankings include consoles from previous generations.
The top-10 highest-selling games of 2023 are:
- Hogwarts Legacy
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Madden NFL 24
- Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- Diablo 4
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Mortal Kombat 1
- Star Wars: Jedi Survivor
- EA Sports FC 24
Call of Duty continues to perform as one of the top games with two different installments at the top. Modern Warfare 3 ranked number one in the Xbox best-selling list. This came despite the title being critically panned and being dogged by longstanding issues like aim assist abuse. In a further demonstration of the series’ commercial muscle, 2022’s Modern Warfare 2 also placed highly.
Sports games continue to be a consistent draw, with Madden NFL 24 and EA Sports FC placing in the top 10. Games outside the top 10 like NBA 2K24 also enjoyed strong engagement on consoles despite not placing.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the only Nintendo Switch exclusive in the top 10, but the numbers come with an asterisk as Nintendo didn’t make the exact sales figures available. Tears of the Kingdom was estimated to have sold 20 million units as of November.
Fortnite is the game with the most-engaged players
Six years after its release, Fortnite continues to have one of the most active player bases in the industry.
Per the report, Fortnite was the game with the most active users in December 2023. This includes players on Xbox and PlayStation consoles. It’s estimated that over 30% of active players on both PlayStation and Xbox played Fortnite in December.
No data about PC and Nintendo Switch for Fortnite is available. Fortnite is also likely among the most-played PC games in the world, making it uniquely massive even if it maintains a lower profile than its rise in 2018. Fortnite continues to have huge collaborations with major media IPs and video game franchises. It’s unclear how Fortnite would have ranked among the highest-selling games of 2023, as its battle pass and skins remain popular and the release of Lego Fortnite prompted a huge uptick in player counts.
Gaming sales increased in 2023, but only slightly
In 2023, the gaming industry sales surpassed those of 2022 by 1%. While this number may seem small, it means $1 billion in sales. That said, the number is somewhat surprising given the sheer volume of major releases.
The increased numbers come from all platforms, digital and physical versions of the games for a total of 47.9 billion. In video game accessories, the sales increased by 4% for a total of 2.6 billion. The only category that did not change was video game hardware where the sales numbers decreased by at least 12 million since 2022.