Dungeon Fighter Online Has Earned over $15B In Life Time Sales - Highest Grossing Video Game of All Time
Nexon's hugely successful 2D side scrolling MMORPG Dungeon Fighter Online has earned over $15B in lifetime revenue (update 2022: Nexon reports that DFO has earned over $20 billion now) making it the highest grossing video game of all time. To put that number into context, that's about 250 million full price $60 games, which coincidentally is about as much as the entire Call of Duty franchise sold up until 2015, a comparable amount to Dungeon Fighter Online, a single game.
Looking at it from another angle, Dungeon Fighter Online earned more than the the box office receipts of the entire Star Wars franchise. They also made 2x as much as the entire Avengers series combined.
To put Dungeon Fighter Online in a more relevant context, World of Warcraft, which is widely believed to be the most successful MMORPG of all time earned about $9.23B from release until 2017. Let's be generous and assume it made $1b / year since then and we'd be at $12.23B today, nearly $3b behind Dungeon Fighter Online.
Not only is Dungeon Fighter Online ahead of World of Warcraft in lifetime sales, the lead is actually growing. Dungeon Fighter Online is regularly the highest grossing PC game in the world according to SuperdataResearch (though it does battle for the #1 spot with League of Legends month to month), while World of Warcraft doesn't even make the list some months.
League of Legends has a shot at surpassing Dungeon Fighter Online in the coming years as the game has earned ~$12B in lifetime revenues (Forbes reported that they did about $20B, but I couldn't find any credible sources to back this claim up). The launch of Dungeon Fighter Mobile in the coming months could split the game's revenue up into 2 titles, which would give League of Legends a chance to take the #1 spot.
The reason most people haven't heard too much about Dungeon Fighter Online is because most of the game's revenues and players are in China. The global English version of the game on Steam averages just 450 players concurrent players, whereas the game has hit peak concurrent users of over 3 million in China.
Dungeon Fighter Online has Checkered history in the West. Nexon originally launched the game back in 2010 to much fanfare, but eventually shut it down in 2013 after various missteps and declining popularity. The game's developer Neople, an internal Nexon studio, later relaunched it in 2015 and it's been chugging along ever since. The game's performance in the West hasn't been great though as Nexon continues their streak of poor financial performance in all of their markets outside of China and South Korea.
While Dungeon Fighter Online continues to break records in China, the game's Western audience has been in steady decline, at least on Steam, with the average concurrent playerbase falling over 50% in the last 3 years.
Still, Dungeon Fighter Online is a success story, but not one many gamers in the West have heard of as practically all of the game's success is from China.
Interested in checking out the world's most successful game? Check out the trailer below or the game on Steam.
Despite not achieving blockbuster status in the West, Dungeon Fighter Online isn't a dead game. It has a vibrant community and an active subreddit. The game is also available off Steam as well, so the playerbase is definitely at least a bit higher than its Steam numbers suggest.
Source / Further Reading: Nexon's Q2 2020 Earnings Report