Games that sell well and games that are, well, actually good are not always one and the same thing. Sometimes a brilliant little title will slip under almost everybody's radar, whilst others get huge numbers of day one purchase
With this in mind, we've checked out the top ten best selling PC games released in the last 5 years since 2009. Some might be expected, others may surprise you, whilst some you may feel are rather unworthy of the number of sales they got. Check out the list below to see what you think and vote on your favourite...
10. SimCity (2,000,000 copies sold)
SimCity is a perfect example of a game where sales and reception don't exactly line up. EA’s 2013 management sim might have had its fair share of ups and downs (there were a good few downs), but PC sales were nonetheless substantial. The game sold two million copies and, with an offline single-player mode promised imminently, EA might manage to squeeze quite a few more sales out of those who were unwilling to invest in the game whilst it remained online-only.
9. The Binding Of Isaac (2,000,000 copies sold)
Proving - along with Minecraft and Terraria - that you don’t need to be a gaming giant with a budget of millions to make a splash in the world of PC gaming, The Binding Of Isaac sold over 2 million copies in the two years following its release. With the Old Testament story of the binding of Isaac, child abuse and modern religious fundamentalism proving an unusual source of inspiration for the game, The Binding Of Isaac asks some pretty dark questions in the midst of its rogue-like, dungeon crawler action.
8. The Witcher 2 (2,200,000 copies sold)
The second in Polish studio CD Projekt RED’s Witcher series, The Witcher 2 showed the world how to make an ARPG with an amazing story and great decision-making variety without compromising on graphics, gameplay or, well, anything. It was something of a machine-killer with its stunning visuals. Apparently the demanding system requirements weren't enough to impede sales of this title on PC, and the RPG has sold in the region of 2.2 million copies; a narrow improvement on the first game’s 2.1 million.
We’ll have to wait until next February to see if The Witcher III: Wild Hunt can carry the story of Geralt of Rivia with quite the same level of panache.
7. Terraria (2,000,000 copies sold)
Terraria might have been frequently compared to Minecraft since its launch back in 2011 (oh, look, I just did it again!), but this endearing indie hit has risen above the glut of other open-world sandbox titles with its pretty 8-bit stylings, depth and difficulty levels. Developer Re-Logic also has a charming habit of releasing free patches with the quantity and quality of content most bigger developers would charge expansion rates for. Re-Logic has indicated there is a Terraria 2 on the cards, too, so it looks like this charming franchise could be around for years to come.
6. Guild Wars 2 (3,500,000 copies sold)
It seems like every couple of years someone claims that the MMO is a dying breed. And then something like Guild Wars 2 comes along to near-universal acclaim, silencing its haters and injecting fresh ideas into the genre. Sales figures for the title were last released in August 2013, meaning current sales are probably now pushing 4,000,000, with Guild Wars 2 currently boasting peak concurrency of over 460,000 players.
5. Portal II (4,000,000 copies sold)
Portal was a bit of a surprise hit for Valve when it first launched in 2007. Since the initial title was first released as part of The Orange Box, and not as a standalone product for over a year later, it is difficult to get a precise sales picture for that title. Portal II, however, was a smash hit four years later, and has subsequently sold around 4 million copies as well as countless amounts of accompanying merchandise.
4. StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty (6,000,000 copies sold)
The StarCraft franchise is, next to The Sims and Diablo, undoubtedly one of the biggest selling PC franchises in history. StarCraft II’s 6,000,000 copies doesn’t quite live up to the original StarCraft’s 11 million, but thanks to the RTS’ enduring popularity as an E-sport, copies of StarCraft II continue to sell well, with expansion pack Heart Of The Swarm shifting 1.1 million copies in two days when it hit shelves last March.
3. The Sims 3 (10,000,000 copies sold)
The unceasingly popular simulator of life, love, and drowning kids in swimming pools hits the number three spot on the best-selling PC games of the last 5 years. It’s a bit of a trend for the series; The Sims, The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 all sit in the top ten selling PC games of all times, with the first and second iterations sitting at the number one and two spots. Launching in June 2009, The Sims 3 didn’t quite make the sales of its predecessors, but it still managed to shift an impressive ten million copies on PC.
2. Diablo III (12,000,000 copies sold)
The monumental number of sales for the third entry into Blizzard’s hugely popular Diablo franchise almost proved its undoing; huge sales for the game on release flooded the underprepared servers and made Diablo III entirely unplayable for some time after its launch. The title also claims the accolade of fastest selling PC game of all times. The backlash doesn’t appear to have impacted sales, however, and Diablo 3 not only sold 12 million on PC, but also a further 3 million on other platforms.
James recently reviewed Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls, and commented how the expansion, as well as earlier patches and fixes, have helped make Diablo III a much better game than it initially was on launch.
1. Minecraft (14,800,000 copies sold)
The story of the cult indie sandbox that became a global success across multiple platforms is now regularly repeated. But however much you hear it, the huge impact of Minecraft on PC gaming is still a little staggering. Games both indie and AAA that claim Minecraft inspiration are now ten a penny, and with a Minecraft movie now allegedly in the works it seems this titan of PC gaming can only grow ever more vast. If you take sales across all platforms into account, sales adds up to an astonishing total of 48.8 million. For those trivia buffs among you, that’s around the population of South Korea, and puts Minecraft as the third best-selling game of all times across all platforms, falling short only of Wii Sports and Tetris, which has a 25 year head start.
*It's worth noting that these official sales do not include all figures from digital distribution platforms like Steam, which means it's likely the true number of purchases is far greater.
Are there any surprises on this list? Which PC games from the last 5 years do you think should have attracted more attention? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment.