We already know that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best-selling fighting game of all time – it achieved that accolade back in 2019 when it surpassed Street Fighter II in sales – but how does the entire series stack up against its rivals?
As of December 31st 2021, total sales for the whole Smash franchise now stand at almost 69 million units. The N64 original has sold 5.4 million, Melee has sold 7.41 million, Brawl has shifted 13.32 million and Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS has sold 5.38 and 9.63 respectively. Add on the 27.4 million units that Ultimate has sold, and you have 68.54 million copies combined.
Where does that rank against other popular fight game franchises? Daniel Ahmad, Senior Analyst at Niko Partners, has the answer:
Mortal Kombat is still out in front, but Smash has now overtaken both Tekken and Street Fighter in terms of combined sales.
Seems fairly clear that all they need to do is add fatalities into Smash and then it'll easily become number one.
Removed - offensive remarks; user is banned
I'm surprised street fighter is at the BOTTOM if this list. That's still a lot of sales, but for something that's THE fighting game in my head, that's not that much. Maybe it's just because it has less main entries than the other two big ones? (other than smash)
He said 69, hee-hee
Wonder what counted as streetfighter.. so many versions, even now...
@TedGundy - BUT INTRICATE EXEVUTABLE BUTTON COMBOS!!!!
But seriously though, Smash may not been the first platform fighter, but it brought the genre up front. May not be an arcade fighter, but competitive genres exist in all places.
@Mew Street Fighter went on a long hiatus between III and IV and III was an enormous flop when it came out.
It's impressive to see SMB coming up close behind MK when you consider how much more established MK is than SMB.
It's impressive to see MK still out in front when you consider how violent it is versus the hugely accessible SMB.
I'm more surprised that Street Fighter is apparently the lowest selling out of these.
To me Smash is way harder in execution than most Street Fighter titles. And I’m a traditional fighting game fanatic who actually knows what frame traps are.
I think a lot of that, for me at least, comes down to analog versus digital inputs. In Street Fighter, movement is based around 8 way digital inputs. This goes all the way back to Street Fighter II. The timing is usually more strict than a game like Smash, but combining movement and attacks feels much easier because you only have 8 way inputs for the arcade stick or d-pad.
Smash is built around analog control. Which is by its nature more “sloppy” than digital control and far less accurate. When I play Smash, I feel like I’m fighting the analog controls because I am first and foremost a classic 2D fighting player. I grew up on Street Fighter Alpha, Super Turbo, the King of Fighters, and Fatal Fury. All of which have punishing input execution. But even then I find them to be easier to play than Smash.
Smash Pro players are a cut above almost anyone else. Because they are able to fully master the more sloppy analog input. For me, someone who grew up on digital input, it’s very difficult for me to comprehend the advanced movement Smash player pull off.
I love watching Smash tournaments. Because it’s crazy knowing exactly what’s going on, but being unable to replicate it. Those guys are the masters of analog sticks.
People should really stop comparing smash to mortal Kombat, Street fighter or basically any other competitive fighting game. They are quite different. Smash is more like a party game geared towards casuals.
@TedGundy Doesn't matter, happened anyway...
I understand it shouldn't be the most important of a difference but I wonder how having launched many mainline games affect these numbers.
From a quick search (which I could be wrong) Mortal Kombat has 11 entries, Tekken has 7 and Street Fighter has 5. Smash has 5 too
@Paraka yeah, there are just some people who are so rigid and obsessive about genres yet completely inconsistent in their argument. Fallout 3 and Dragon Quest III are both RPGs yet play completely differently. To say Smash isn't a fighting game is to argue two equally vapid points: fighting games are apparently so rigid that the genre hasn't changed or evolved in 30 years beyond core concepts (can't think of too many genres that can say the same), and that Smash has more in common with Jack Party Box than any fighting game.
Ah well, people love to be pedantic.
I dont like Mortal Kombat anymore, it used to be fun, but looking at it now, its more an FMV game than a fighting game
Street Fighter went on a downhill slope in terms of console commercial success in the late 90s till the launch of SFIV. It started with Alpha 3 having lower console sales than Alpha 2. And then continued with the Street Fighter III sub series.
SFIII Third Strike (which in my opinion is the best fighting game ever made and the one I’ve sunk the most playtime into) sold poorly despite being released on nearly every console under the sun, from Dreamcast to Xbox 360/PS3. It had a very dedicated hardcore community back in its hey day on CPS III and the initial Dreamcast release (both were used for tournaments; small tournaments usually used Dreamcast while CPS3 boards were used for big tournaments like EVO) but by that point the fighting game genre was sort of splintering.
2D play was dominated by Marvel vs Capcom 2 (people really forget just how big MvC2 was; it was the biggest 2D sensation in the early 00s and knocked everything else off the charts) and the rest dominated by 3D fighters. On the casual side, 3D fighters dominated the market. Especially Tekken and Soul Calibur. Mortal Kombat made the move to 3D gameplay and those installments sold like hotcakes.
69 million? nice 😏
69 Million? Nice.
If you were to average per game/release, Smash would come out top easy
It’s actually a far more technical fighting game today.
They rewrote the gameplay of the series with MK9. X and 11 built on top of that foundation.
Before that, MK was always considered the “flash and pomp” of the fighting game world. It was significantly more shallow than competing titles. It did get more complex with the move to 3D gameplay in 4 and Deadly Alliance.
But MK9 was a revelation for the franchise. It went back to 2D, rewrote its fighting engine from scratch, and it became an extremely deep and technical fighter.
Hard to believe street fighter is the lowest. When I think of competitive fighting game I think street fighter. I played street fighter 2 and 4 religiously. I only bought a ps4 mainly for street fighter 5
@TheRedComet That explains a whole lot, thank you! Makes sense when you point it out like that too.
With all the different versions like MK3 then Ulimate MK3 then MK Trilogy. The insane amount of street fighter 2s and the likes of the 3 Alpha games. So It's really impressive Smash with just 6 games (wii & 3ds being "sash 4") is outselling most of them and gaining.
@TheRedComet - As an old timer pro player of both Melee (before it went global) and many fighting games. There is wierd nuances that separate them greatly that requires execution to be approached equally different.
Arcade fighters generally straight forward in presentation simply due to its age of conception and kept that going forward, so a lot of its approach is psyche-out and pokes on the opponents to get them to over extend. And these failing are limited to the health bar overall.
Though with platform fighters this is also partly true, more of the approach is similar to MOBA types, positioning. More often then not you're trying to push the opponent into a space your character excels at, either it be higher launch power and stacking damage. Though damage bar is to consider, you can always counter play and get into positions they can launch you for longer periods of time, keeping you in play.
But that's what make the two entertaining to watch for different reasons. Like watching professional poker and professional TCG. Both are card games, one is set in old ways due to its conception. However, TCG may not have existed without poker being a thing before it.
And my favourites series, Virtua Fighter, is conspicuous by its absence. Oh well.
Did Pokken get added to the Tekken sales? Cause it should be.
@TedGundy - Well, my response to RedComet sort of covered this. But basically fighting games as a genre help make what Smash is. But to say they cannot exist in a competitive scene is foolhardy, as their approaches may be different, their endgame is pretty similar.
The argument go out the window because the same talk can be made for Battle Royale, or MOBA genres. And both are becoming worldwide phenomenon in competitive.
I definitely agree. Positioning your opponent is key in Smash. Every character has sweet spots and sour spots for their normals. For me, I just can’t get the movement down. And not for a lack of trying lol.
By the way, were you a Fox, Puff, or Marth main on Melee? I seem to remember the game kind of coming down to those three characters since they dominated the rest of the cast.
Sort of MvC2 in a lot of ways. Magneto, Cable, Storm, and Sentinel dominate that game’s point characters. Hell Sentinel dominates all other assists, too. Drones even make Ryu, who is otherwise trash, good. Best character in the game bar none. Sentinel is a nightmare.
I’m really glad people are starting to play ratio online tournaments on MvC2. Thanks mainly to Justin Wong really pushing it. It’s nice seeing teams that don’t have Magneto or Storm in them. A lot of A and B tier characters are putting in work on the online scene thanks to ratio.
I love all fighting game archetypes. They all offer something drastically different from one another.
What's not captured in these numbers is arcade revenue which hurts Street Fighter's ranking. The SF II sub-series is estimated to have had close to an $5.5 billion dollars (not adjusted for inflation) in coin-op spending. SF would 100% be #1 if this wasn't a listing by units sold. That's around 100 million "equivalent sales" that aren't counted. MK was very popular in arcades but it's still only a small fraction of SFII so it isn't hurt as much.
I think that’s mainly because Virtua Fighter never caught on in Europe and the US like it did in Japan.
Westerners were obsessed with Tekken when it came to 3D fighters.
@TheRedComet - What's funny, I was Mewtwo. It was starting to become a huge elitist environment that they JUST started banning certain characters for stupid reasons. Like Peach can use "items."
But because of this religious devotion to the newly discovered meta, it helped me bait a lot of victories out of people because they treated Mewtwo as an easy win, and forgot that the person playing it would know what you would do. Became known in some of the state tournaments for that.
Eventually the popularity was expanding and I could have gotten on board. However, I chose the way of game design and started to work on my studies, left it all behind. Was hoping my choices were better for my life, but what happened after that is an entirely non-Smash story.
And yet Bamco doesn’t put any of their flagship fighters on Switch. I feel like that’s money on the table. Hey Bamco, port TTT2 and Soul Calibur II HD to start. Low hanging fruit.
I have never really cared for the Mortal Kombat series. Back in the day, I was more of a Street Fighter/Killer Instinct/NeoGeo fighters fan.
But I probably dislike Tekken even more. When it comes to 3D fighters, I prefer Soulcalibur (Dreamcast) and Virtua Fighter 4 (PS2).
Smash is awesome though! I started playing Smash with Mele, and have bought every game since. I'm not very good, but I like it anyways.
So, the article needs a correction, because it reads as if the WiiU version sold 9.6 million, when it was the 3DS version. Still, though, almost 50% attach rate for Smash Bros on Wii U is insane.
Why are there numbers for Street Fighter and not for Soul Calibur which is unfortunately missing on Nintendo these days
Street Fighter will always be my main jam. I have tried Smash so many times, but for reason eloquently described above about it being analogue, I have never liked Smash's feel. The physics and feel have always bounced me.
Smash has the least number of iterations compared to those entries though.
@TedGundy It's not, so don't worry about it.
@TKundNobody Soul Calibur took a nosedive after SC1+2, anyway. Hasn't been the same, ever since.
Wait, Smash4WiiU outsold Melee?!?
You got the Wii U/3DS numbers flipped.
Even though I already seen this list a while ago, it's still weird to me top see probably the most iconic Fighting Games series (Street Fighter) at the bottom in terms of sales.
Mortal Kombat is my favourite then dead or alive then Tekken
Pretty good considering that the Smash series only has 6 games across 6 platforms. Way less than any of these series.
I would love if they released Tekken Tag from Wii U on Switch.
That game is the best in the series for me.
Release a Deluxe version already, please.
Severely underrated Wii U game.
The character editor was hilarious.
Dressing characters up as Mario, Luigi and Peach was more fun than it should have been.
So Smash Bros. has the highest average per game sales, since there are way more Mortal Kombat games.
Ha! Take that Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale 😛
@jump my favorite number
no Fatal Fury or King of Fighters? geez the disrespect is real, ha ha. kidding aside I'm really surprised Street Fighter is at the way waayy bottom
@Truegamer79 Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat are party games geared towards casuals. Casuals are people who play arcade games while doing their laundry, pulled in by the flashing lights and loud intro music and demo from the game's attract mode, and it's only a few quarters. Smash Bros. people have to buy a console, and spend full price for the game just to play the franchise, nothing casual about that. And it's a multiplayer fighting game, Smash didn't exactly invent the idea of people fighting each other while drinking beer taking turns fighting the winner. As far as Fighting games go, Street Fighter, Primal Rage, Mortal Kombat did the party game thing long before Smash was ever invented. And also, 2 players vs. is super casual and easy to grasp, what's not casual is 8 players running around killing each other and trying to make your eyes ignore all the chaos to focus on your own character, deciding which characters to attack and which to avoid. Even 4 players is considerably more complicated than anything from the more traditional casual arcade games.
@Nintendo_Thumb I don't know what's worse, suggesting that Smash Bros. isn't largely aimed and marketed to a casual audience to a much larger degree than arcade fighters, or suggesting that the majority of people who have played the franchises you listed were 'casually' playing them in arcades in the 21st century, as opposed to at home on consoles they bought. The vast majority of people are playing Smash casually, which isn't in any way me gatekeeping the genre or series, and a lot of those people would never find themselves in arcades, let alone playing a game on any genuinely competitive scale.
That's the worst hypothesis I've read today, and I've largely spent it reading about half baked conspiracy theories. All of a sudden chemtrails sound plausible lol, at least compared to trying to argue that SSB isn't a casual game aimed primarily at 'casual' gamers. The reasoning is all over the place, it's like suggesting chess has less depth than a game of Sorry! because there are only two players.
Sounds about right to me as MK11 and Smash Ultimate are the only fighters I've played in a loooong time. Tekken was fun back in the day but don't think I played after 3. Street Fighter is good and all but the characters always felt bland to me.
Then again I'm pretty casual when it's fighting games.
@TedGundy So what you're telling me is that nobody has ever played a game of Street Fighter casually? And Smash can't be played seriously? In one game you punch, kick, block, and use super moves against an opponent in a non-beat em up, and you call that casual and a party game, the other you punch, kick, block, and use super moves against an opponent in a non-beat em up, and you call that a fighting game for pro-gamers. In Street Fighter Ryu was fighting in a fighting game, in Marvel VS. Capcom Ryu was fighting in a fighting game, in Smash Bros. Ryu is fighting in a fighting game, not moving gems around a tetris-like board like Super Puzzle Fighter Turbo. This isn't You don't know Jack, or Clubhouse Games, Grandma isn't going to want to grab a controller and give a few matches a try like it's Wii Sports Bowling.
Regarding Smash being "aimed and marketed to a casual audience", that's what Capcom should have been doing, you think they don't want those sales? They very much do, they just didn't market it good enough. Nintendo had new characters coming out on a weekly basis, and leading up to the game all the characters were secret and only shown one by one week after week, and the game sites got to run story after story, it was a real gold mine. That's just smart business, everybody wants more customers. And if they're out there buying video games for their very own video game console, I'd say they're not really casual game fans at all. The only casuals I see are people playing on their cell phones because they don't care enough about the hobby to own a real console.
I honestly thought that Street Fighter would be much higher! Seeing Smash being second to Mortal Kombat is interesting.
Would have been cool to get an MK character in Smash maybe for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Brawl Deluxe in Switch's successor?
Thats a NICE number right there.
@Nintendo_Thumb you realize I was responding to the points you made, right? I literally said none of those things lmao, you specifically said that Smash Bros. is less casual than other fighting games and I disagreed. You straight up said 2D fighters have less depth than Smash.
You've got to work on your reading comprehension, so many of the points you raised are complete non-sequitors. I never mentioned specific sales, I didn't suggest there's anything wrong with appealing to a casual audience, I didn't say a lot of things you addressed. I don't think you actually get the point I was making.
I have no idea how in the blue hell your takeaway was that I think no one ever played Street Fighter casually. The point I was addressing was you saying Street Fighter is primarily played by casual gamers in between laundry loads. That's asinine, but not as asinine as you thinking I'm saying no one plays Street Fighter casually or that no one plays SSB competitively lol. You can't say fighting games primarily appeal to a casual audience and then argue Smash Bros. doesn't. I also never denied that SSB is a fighting game. You're really bad at this, earlier in the thread I literally said how stupid it was to compare the series to Jack Party Box or Mario Party and not fighting games. 🤣
@TedGundy Oh sorry, guess I got you mixed up with someone else.
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