Popular video game series, much like movies, typically go through a number of sequels and reboots over their lifespan. Not only does this make good financial sense from an investment perspective, but it enables developers to meet consumer demand for more content featuring their favourite characters, worlds and gameplay mechanics.
Yet not all franchises experience the near-annual refreshes typical of popular games like those belonging to the Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed series. In truth, only the largest studios and publishers working in the industry today have the resources to reliably churn out iterative sequels in this fashion.
For most of the industry, a follow-up to a popular game often takes several years to bring to market. In the case of some games, such as CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077, or Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II, the lead time can be as much as a decade.
Ultimately though, certain games don’t even need an update due to the fact that they have such great replay value, and are still as popular today as when they were initially released. Here we’re going to take a look at several games that have beaten the odds in a crowded market place to stay at the top of sales charts even a decade after coming to market.
Slots games have a long history dating back to the early years of the 20th century. Over that span of time they have consistently evolved, as basic mechanical components gave way to electronic slots with video displays, eventually ending up as fully digital products available online.
Over that period, slot games have stayed close to the core gameplay loop that makes them so entertaining, while exploring different ways of building on the experience offered through added paylines, bonus rounds and stunning visual effects.
This ferment of creativity is nowhere more obvious than in online slots, which are now the most popular way people play fruit machines in the 21st century. There are thousands of slot games available online, each with its own novel theme and take on the format.
With such variety out there, this sector is among the most competitive game genres today and, as such, any title that has managed to retain its popularity for multiple years in this market represents something unique.
The NetEnt developed title Starburst is perhaps the leading example of this phenomenon, having retained its ranking as being among the top 10 most-played games in online casinos for ten years and counting. This may be because Starburst, rather than seeking overt novelty, instead focuses on bringing the best of the slots gameplay experience to the digital medium.
With a solid return-to-player percentage of 96%, and a simple layout featuring 10 paylines, 5 reels and 3 rows, Starburst’s enduring popularity is as much about its accessibility to new players as its competence in delivering a compelling gameplay loop.
Often, the games that experience the greatest staying power are ones that hit upon a perennial gameplay experience that never gets old. Games that, instead, seek to differentiate themselves with gimmicky mechanics and flashy graphics often end up appearing dated sooner, consigning themselves to irrelevance as prevailing design trends move on.
Minecraft, on the other hand, is an extreme example of a video game that has sought to get back to basics. This is because it offers its 140+ million monthly players all the fun of playing with a Lego building block set, albeit one completely untethered from physical constraints.
By building this game around creativity and exploration, Minecraft has emerged as one of the most captivating titles in the history of gaming. With an endearing “blocky” graphics style, and surprising depth afforded by its manifold crafting sub-systems, Minecraft has achieved the holy grail of game marketing in finding a way to appeal to players of all demographics.
This has led to Minecraft claiming the crown as the best selling video game in history, having sold 238 million units since its initial release back in 2011.