10 Best-Selling Xbox-Exclusive Game Franchises Of All Time
Throughout Xbox’s 21 years on the market, it’s unleashed some fantastic franchises that are favorites among players, with a few having upcoming sequels expected to release in the future. It’s also important to remember that sales numbers for Xbox franchises can be a little misleading since players can subscribe to Game Pass and play many of the console’s biggest titles without technically buying a copy.
In the 9th generation, the Xbox X/S has been on a roll, selling quicker than any previous Microsoft console. It’s estimated the X/S has already sold over 17.5 million consoles (via VG Chartz), and with the holiday season just around the corner, sales are only going to boom even further, meaning Xbox’s biggest franchises may get bigger.
10/10 Microsoft Flight Simulator (Over 2 Million)
The acclaimed Microsoft Flight Simulator series finally came to the Xbox in 2020, showing off the power of their new next-gen X/S consoles. The most recent official sales numbers show that the game has already sold over 2 million units (via VG247.com). The series has been wildly popular with aerophiles for decades, and the newest game, released in 2020, is a visual feast for the eyes, rendering realistic cities, mountains, oceans, and more.
It’s also a testament to how far consoles have come. Previously, this was a PC-only franchise, with consoles simply unable to handle the massive scale of the games. Its arrival on Xbox consoles is proof that the 9th gen really is the most advanced to date.
9/10 State Of Decay (Over 2.5 Million)
First released in 2013, State of Decay is an adventure stealth game where players return from a fishing trip only to discover the world is crumbling under an emerging zombie apocalypse. In 2013, the zombie craze was going full steam, so naturally, the game was a massive success.
In 2018 the series returned with State of Decay 2, offering players a much larger map and open-world gameplay. The game was released to a more mixed reception than the first, which was hailed by critics, but State of Decay 2‘s tension, musical score, and co-op mode were noted as highlights. It was also announced that a State of Decay 3 is in the works. The first game sold over 2 million copies (via VentureBeat) and the sequel sold over 460,000 copies (viaVGChartz).
8/10 Project Gotham Racing (10.31 Million)
Interestingly enough, Project Gotham Racing, a popular racing franchise from the 2000s, was originally released for the SEGA Dreamcast, but after the console was discontinued, the franchise made its way over to Xbox as an exclusive. The games were notable for their excellent soundtracks that featured artists such as Gorillaz, Simple Plan, and The Flaming Lips.
Project Gotham released four games on the Xbox and 360, but the console would begin releasing another racing franchise that would go on to outcompete Project Gotham. The first game sold 6 million copies, the sequel sold 1.67 million copies, Project Gotham Racing 3 sold 600,000 copies, and the final game sold 2.04 million copies (figures via VGChartz).
7/10 Fable (11.49 Million)
One of the most highly anticipated Xbox releases of 2023 is the new Fable game. The series is a fantasy RPG that was first released on the Xbox in 2004. The game was praised by critics and gamers for its combat and leveling mechanic. In 2008, Fable II was released on the next-gen 360 console and received even better reviews than the first, taking advantage of the 360’s more powerful hardware.
The third game was released in 2010, also for the 360. It fared well in sales and reviews but was still overshadowed by Fable II since that game was the first to show off the 360’s technical advances. Fable and Fable II sold a combined 6.39 million copies and the third game sold 5.10 million copies (figures via VGChartz).
6/10 Titanfall (Over 14 Million)
Though Titanfall is now most known for its notoriety and endless string of hackers and controversies, the game was originally a was a critical and commercial success for the Xbox One, allowing players to enter a massive battle Royale inside giant mechs called Titans. The sequel, Titanfall 2, got even better reviews, with many praising its campaign as one of the best first-person shooters ever.
Unfortunately, Respawn, the game’s developer, moved on to bigger and better things. Their neglect of Titanfall left it susceptible to a massive hacking scandal that made the two games completely unplayable. Despite all this, both Titanfall games were incredibly popular and sold well. The first game sold a whopping 10 million copies (via IGN) and Titanfall 2 sold over 4 million copies (via VentureBeat).
5/10 Sea of Thieves (Over 15 Million)
After falling into obscurity for years, developer Rare came back strong in 2018 with Sea of Thieves for Xbox. The game is a massive pirate adventure that allows gamers to play with their friends online. Despite some mixed reviews, the game became a huge success, especially after its first year when many updates helped patch up parts of the game that received criticism.
To date, Sea of Thieves has had 15 million players (via Xbox Wire), but since it was released in the Game Pass era, it’s unclear what the combination of physical sales, digital sales, and Game Pass players are, a trend that’s likely to continue as Xbox continues to push an all-digital gaming universe. Currently, Game Pass has over 25 million users (via The Verge).
4/10 Forza (Over 16 Million)
Xbox’s biggest racing franchise is also ranked as one of the best racing series in gaming history, making Forza a smash hit for the console. First launched in 2005 with Forza Motorsport, the racing game was universally praised, with many citing its realism, advanced AI racers, and ability to play online. Since then, Motorsport has released seven games, and its popular spin-off, Forza Horizon – where players get to race on open roads and terrain instead of racetracks – has released five games.
Plus, a new Forza Motorsport game is on the horizon, launching in 2023 for the Xbox X/S, proving the franchise is a mainstay for the console. Many publications, including Goodwood Racing, cite the Forza series has sold over 16 million copies throughout its lifetime.
3/10 Kinect Adventures! (Over 24 Million)
The Nintendo Wii changed everything. For the last two generations, Nintendo wasn’t on top. Their N64 console was massively outsold by the PlayStation and the Gamecube was outsold by both the Xbox and PS2. So, it came as a shock when Nintendo released the Wii in 2006, a console dominated by motion controls and a weird remote-looking controller.
But then, it skyrocketed to success, outselling Xbox and PlayStation, forcing the other two consoles to create motion control devices of their own. Xbox’s response was the Kinect, which was perfect for party games and sports titles. The device performed very well considering it was released in 2010, just three years before the Xbox One would release. The Kinect was bundled with Kinect Adventures!, meaning the game sold over 24 million copies (via BGR).
2/10 Gears of War (Over 41 Million)
One of Xbox’s biggest franchises, Gears of War focuses on the war between humanity and a subterranean allegiance of species known as the Locust Horde, who decide to burrow out of their caverns beneath the surface and wage war with humanity on the planet of Sera. Gears of War is an essential game for anyone who owns an Xbox.
The series is a third-person shooter with five mainline titles, a prequel, a remaster collection, and even a highly regarded RTS spin-off, Gears Tactics. The last official numbers for the franchise were released in 2019, stating that over 41 million copies had been sold (via The Coalition Station). Considering that was almost four years ago, sales have surely increased even more since then.
1/10 Halo (Over 81 Million)
There is no game more synonymous with Xbox than Halo. Players take the lead of Master Chief, a UNSC Spartan who must save the universe from the Covenant, an alien race who have stumbled upon the Halo device and are intent on using it as a weapon.
The original game was a launch title for the Xbox back in 2001 and its latest game, Halo Infinite, was released at the end of 2021, becoming one of the first AAA releases for the Series X/S. In March 2021, the franchise had already sold over 81 million copies (via VGChartz). In the current era, Microsoft doesn’t share sales numbers anymore, instead citing “number of players”, since some gamers are playing via Game Pass, but according to The Verge, by the end of January 2022, over 20 million gamers had played Halo: Infinite, potentially boosting Halo’s total sales to over 100 million.
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