When it comes to the best-selling third-party game titles of all time, which one comes across your mind? If you are thinking of Rockstar Games' popular title, Grand Theft Auto V or one of the famous shooting title in the Call of Duty game franchise, you might get the right answer.

Grand Theft Auto V Gta 5
Grand Theft Auto V is the best, no doubt about that

Mat Piscatella from NPD Group had gathered the list of the 10 top best-selling third-party titles combining all of the Nintendo platforms since 1995 when NDP started tracking data. The analyst from NPD also provided the top ten lists on Xbox and PlayStation until May 2019, besides the list of the best-selling third-party games across three platforms.

A note from NPD is that they started tracking game purchases physically since 1995 and digital sales since 2012, even though not all publishers reported every number. With that in mind, here is the top 10 third-party games across all 3 platforms: Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox

The list of best-selling third-party games on all three gaming platforms combined is as follows:

  1. GTA V
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  3. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  5. Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock
  6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  7. Rock Band
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  9. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  10. Call of Duty: WWII

This list only has three titles that don't belong to the Call of Duty series. Two of them are music video games: Rock Band and Guitar Hero III, both of which were released at the height of the popularity of that genre. The other title is the famous GTA V, which remains in the monthly best-selling titles list of NPD. It comes as no surprise to us since GTA V and Call of Duty have always been prominent on the charts of NPD for years.

Guitar Hero 3
The music video game Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock

Besides, the analyst of NPD, Piscatella also said that GTA V "is the best-selling game [of] all-time in tracked dollar sales (across all titles, not just by 3rd parties).  It is also the best-selling game of all time on both PlayStation and Xbox Consoles."

The Top 10 Third-Party Games Across All Nintendo Platforms:

  1. Guitar Hero World Tour
  2. Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock
  3. Just Dance 2
  4. Just Dance 3
  5. Mario and Sonic: Olympic Games
  6. LEGO Star Wars: Complete Saga
  7. Rock Band
  8. Just Dance 4
  9. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
  10. Rock Band 2

176369 Guitar Hero World Tour Rebel Yell
The music video game Guitar Hero World Tour takes the number one spot of Nintendo platforms

As noted by Piscatella, all of the top 10 best-selling third-party Nintendo games would not make it to the final list for Nintendo consoles if they considered the first-party titles as well.

"Nintendo 1st party published titles occupy the first 12 positions on an all-time ranking chart.  Guitar Hero World Tour, the best performing 3rd party title on Nintendo platforms to date, would rank at #13 overall on Nintendo platforms historically," he said.

According to NPD, the dominating title of the overall Nintendo list of all time (including the first-party games) would be Wii Fit, while the number one of the best-selling third-party titles, Hero World Tour, would only stop at #13 in the overall chart.

Here's another interesting note from NPD's analyst. Seeing the lists below, you might realize that almost every software in the lists of Xbox and PlayStation were from the last or current hardware generation. Meanwhile, the list of Nintendo is noticeable prevailed by the titles of the Wii era.

The Top 10 Third-Party Games Across All PlayStation Platforms:

  1. GTA V
  2. Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock
  3. GTA: San Andreas
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. Call of Duty: WWII
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  9. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  10. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII

 Things seem to be a bit different between the list of Nintendo and PlayStation. The PlayStation top-selling list is dominated by the third-party titles, as the first PS exclusive game is nowhere near the titles in this list. In the overall best-selling list, the first first-party game is the famous creation from Marvel, Spider-Man, which would be in the #18 overall on the PlayStation platform historically.

Grand Theft Auto V Poster
In the PlayStation platforms, Grand Theft Auto V gains back its number one position

"The common conception that the 1st party published exclusives are dominant on PlayStation platforms isn't really proven out by the data.  Yes, exclusive games are a meaningful part of the consumer purchase decision, and many PlayStation exclusive titles have been massive successes," said Piscatella.

"But, ultimately, it is the 3rd party franchises that occupy the best-sellers chart lifetime, as Marvel's Spider-Man, the best-selling exclusive ever on PlayStation platforms, would rank at #18 overall," he added. 

The Top 10 Third-Party Games Across All Xbox Platforms:

  1. GTA V
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  3. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  6. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  7. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  9. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  10. Call of Duty: WWII

Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare
The Call of Duty game franchise only stand behind Grand Theft Auto V

Similar to the PlayStation list, Xbox list is invaded by the famous shooter Call of Duty franchise. However, Call of Duty can't headshot its sole opponent in this list to win the number 1 position, making GTA V the only outstanding loner on the top of the top-selling third-party Xbox list. The single Xbox exclusive title that can get into the overall top-selling list of Xbox consoles is, though, Halo 3, which would rank at #8. 

The lists of the best-selling third-party titles of all time from NPD across PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox and all three combined may not come as a big shock to many people, especially considering its previously released list of the top-selling games for every year from 1995 to 2017. There are some familiar faces that have remained their top spots in many years, namely GTA V, Rock Band, Guitar Hero III, and some in the Call of Duty series.