Dungeon Fighter Online Is A Bigger Franchise Than Star Wars with $8.7B in Lifetime Sales
In an interview with Venturebeat Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney revealed that Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO) earned more in lifetime revenue than the most successful movie franchise of all time, Star Wars. Revenue for Dungeon Fighter Online clocked in at $8.7B since its release in 2003 while ALL the Star Wars movies combined earned $7.6 billion in box office sales since the release of A New Hope in 1977. While Dungeon Fighter Online is relatively obscure in the West, the game's popularity in China and South Korea makes it the most profitable MMORPG in the world (on an annual revenue basis), regularly out earning World of Warcraft.
By way of comparison, we’re also running the numbers on how big Dungeon Fighter is at this point, just in terms of IP. Life to date gross revenues for Dungeon Fighter is $8.7 billion after 10 years. Guess what the biggest movie franchise of all time is? Star Wars. Life to date box office gross, that’s $7.6 billion. We’re a billion dollars bigger and we’re only 10 years old, a quarter as old. To me, that speaks to the power of playing the long game. I don’t think our industry talks about that enough, but I feel like some people are talking about it more. I’m more hopeful than I’ve been in years. -Owen Mahoney
It's worth mentioning that the Star Wars figure is exclusively box office sales and doesn't include merchandise, DVDs, books, etc. Still, I don't think many of us in the West could have ever imagined just how massive of a title Dungeon Fighter Online is. For comparison purposes, World of Warcraft's lifetime revenues sits at ~$9.23B according to a 2016 estimate. Given that DFO has been out earning World of Warcraft in recent years, it's conceivable that DFO will overtake WoW in the coming years.
Update: As of May, 2018 DFO has made over $10 billion in lifetime sales.