Skip to main content

Minecraft was the UK's best-selling new IP of the decade

Mojang's hit sold more retail units than any other new games property, but Destiny led the way in revenue generated

Minecraft is the biggest new games IP of the past ten years, based on UK retail sales.

That's according to GfK Entertainment, which tracks UK retail sales, and factors in the various console versions (published by their respective platform holders), plus the Telltale-developed Story Mode.

Minecraft appeared third in the overall best-selling games of the decade. The rest of the top ten was taken up by Grand Theft Auto V, three Call of Duty titles and no less than five FIFAs -- something we discussed at length last week.

In that article, we lamented the lack of new ideas and properties in the upper echelons of the chart. There were, of course, plenty of innovations and new franchises launched over the past ten years, including the toys-to-life genre (which rose and fell within the same decade) and the arrival of virtual reality, but these were overshadowed by the usual AAA blockbusters.

Curious as to how well any of these emerging franchises fared, reached out to GfK Entertainment to gauge which new IP had been the most successful. For the sake of clarity, we defined new IP as a property that debuted in the last decade, unconnected to any previous existing brand (e.g. Forza Horizon, while a new series, is still part of the Forza IP).

Below is the top ten best-selling new games IP by units:

  1. Minecraft (Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo)
  2. Destiny (Bungie/Activision Blizzard)
  3. Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
  4. Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
  5. Kinect Sports (Microsoft)
  6. The Last of Us (Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  7. Dead Island (Koch/Deep Silver)
  8. L.A. Noire (Take 2/Rockstar Games)
  9. Dishonored (Bethesda)
  10. Titanfall (EA)

While Minecraft technically debuted in 2009, the game was only released at retail in 2013 in the UK, so it secured the top spot based on seven years of sales. Thanks to Minecraft and Kinect Sports, Microsoft is the only publisher with two games in the top ten.

It's perhaps unsurprising to see Destiny (originally published by Activision Blizzard, now solely operated by its developer Bungie) appearing so high, but it may surprise to see Zumba Fitness at No.3. Primarily driven by the success of the Wii version, the game was a huge hit for publishers Majesco Entertainment and 505 Games towards the start of the decade, securing the No.1 spot in the UK charts for 13 weeks -- and a record-breaking 28 weeks at the top of the Wii chart.

The Last of Us and L.A. Noire are also particularly noteworthy, since they are the only entries that did not have sequels in the same decade. Both managed to achieve their positions based on the sales of a single game -- albeit with The Last of Us: Remastered included in that title's data.

Skylanders began life as part of the Spyro franchise, but became one of the biggest-selling new IP of the decade in its own right

Another interesting note is Dead Island is the IP with the second highest number of releases. The highest is, of course, Minecraft, thanks to its various separate console editions, Story Mode and various compilations. Dead Island, meanwhile, was followed by a Game of the Year Edition, Definitive Edition, Slaughter Edition, semi-sequel Riptide and retail starter packs for the later-cancelled MOBA Dead Island Epidemic.

As mentioned, the chart does not take into account new games brands, such as Forza Horizon or Red Dead Redemption (although technically a sequel to Red Dead Revolver, Rockster's decision to retain the Redemption part for the third game establishes it as its own brand). Had these been included, the chart would have looked like this:

  1. Minecraft (Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo)
  2. Red Dead Redemption (Take 2/Rockstar Games)
  3. Forza Horizon (Microsoft)
  4. Destiny (Bungie/Activision Blizzard)
  5. Skylanders (Activision Blizzard)
  6. Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
  7. Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
  8. Kinect Sports (Microsoft)
  9. The Last of Us (Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  10. Dead Island (Koch/Deep Silver)

The inclusion of Skylanders is worth discussing. While the toys-to-life series became a strong IP in its own right, the first release was Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, with Activision tying it to the classic PlayStation hero in the hopes of increasing visibility.

It should be noted that for toys-to-life titles, GfK Entertainment counts only the starter pack when it comes to units, with the standalone figures classed as accessories. On a similar note, only £34.99 for each £49.99 starter pack counts towards revenue, with the other £15 considered under accessories to account for the figures bundled in. Even with these caveats, Skylanders notably outperformed its biggest rival, Disney Infinity.

The Last of Us was the most successful new IP in the UK based on a single release

GfK Entertainment listed a number of other new IP that sold well at UK retail in the last decade including Overwatch, Rocket League, Dance Central, The Crew, Dark Souls, The Evil Within, Rage, Art Academy, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, Homefront, Splatoon, Sleeping Dogs and Horizon Zero Dawn.

When looking at revenue generated from boxed sales in the UK, Destiny managed to outperform Minecraft. Many of the top ten games by revenue are the same as the top ten games by units, albeit with slightly swapped positions, although Dishonored drops out and is replaced by Overwatch.

Below is the top ten best-selling new games IP by revenue, according to GfK Entertainment:

  1. Destiny (Bungie/Activision Blizzard)
  2. Minecraft (Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo)
  3. Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
  4. Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
  5. The Last of Us (Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  6. Kinect Sports (Microsoft)
  7. Titanfall (EA)
  8. L.A. Noire (Take 2/Rockstar Games)
  9. Overwatch (Activision Blizzard)
  10. Dead Island (Koch/Deep Silver)

Had we included new games brands rather than purely new IP, Rockstar's trilogy of Wild West epics (let's not forget Undead Nightmare) would have been the winner:

  1. Red Dead Redemption (Take 2/Rockstar Games)
  2. Destiny (Bungie/Activision Blizzard)
  3. Minecraft (Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo)
  4. Forza Horizon (Microsoft)
  5. Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
  6. Skylanders (Activision Blizzard)
  7. Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
  8. The Last of Us (Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  9. Kinect Sports (Microsoft)
  10. Titanfall (EA)

Again, it's worth pointing to Skylanders, which is a prime example of how tricky it can be to define a new IP. While it began life as a Spyro revamp (its original working title was Spyro's Kingdom), the original idea evolved beyond the source material into something completely new.

Similarly, publishers have been known to lean on established characters and brands to reach a wider audience -- for example, Horizon's open-world racing being elevated by the Forza brand, or Nintendo rolling out a ghostbusting game with Luigi as the star.

Even without this technique, these newly compiled charts demonstrate there was plenty of new games IP landing on shelves for the first time in the past decade, once you've waded through the best-selling super franchises like Call of Duty and FIFA.

With a fresh generation of consoles on the horizon, and increasing efforts to include digital sales in charts data, it's hopeful that the next decade will see more new ideas among the best-selling games.

Read this next

James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
Related topics