Konami recently announced that they would be stepping away from games. It was a confusing announcement which they had to go back and clarify. It seems like they will still be making games, but it was still vague. Whether they will continue or not is still a mystery but one thing is for sure, they have some of the most beloved franchises of all time.
What among them has made Konami the most money over the years? Tracking down the exact numbers for sales is tricky, especially for a Japanese company that likes to keep secrets, but this is presumably a close approximation. It should also be noted that this includes Hudson Soft, which they acquired a while ago, as well.
Contra started its franchise in 1987 for arcades and has sold about 4M units. The latest game was Contra Rogue Corps in 2019. It released, got panned across the board, and then quietly disappeared. That sort of happened a lot for this series. Just when fans thought it was dead it would come back. That last game might have actually been it this time though given Konami’s recent gaming stance.
9 Silent Hill
Silent Hill started its franchise in 1999 for the PS1 and has sold about 9M units. The last game was technically P.T. in 2014, but that was a demo and its true name, Silent Hills, was canceled in 2015. 2012 was the last big year for the series which saw three releases across a multitude of consoles including games like Silent Hill: Downpour, Silent Hill: Book of Memories, and Silent Hill HD Collection. This was also part of the reason why Hideo Kojima left the company.
Bomberman started its franchise in 1983 for the MSX computer and has sold about 10M units. The last game was Super Bomberman R Online in 2020, which was just a Battle Royale spinoff of the 2017 game Super Bomberman R, which was a launch title for Switch. This is one of those series that tried to reinvent itself for an ever-changing age. From RPGs to platformers, none of them stuck as much as the classic formula.
7 Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution started its franchise in 1998 for arcades and has sold about 10M units. The last game was Dance Dance Revolution A20 Plus in 2020, also as an arcade game. This series had a large part in bringing the idea of dancing games to consoles. After the PS2 generation, it slowly lost traction thanks to better motion controls and series with more modern music like Just Dance and Dance Central.
Frogger started its franchise in 1981 for arcades and has sold about 20M units. Frogger is another series that tried to reinvent itself one too many times.
The worst era of this, according to reviews, was in the PS2 generation of platformers. Eventually, it did go back to a more classic formula like with the latest release in 2019 for iOS devices, Frogger in Toy Town.
Castlevania started its franchise in 1986 for the NES and has sold about 20M units. The last game was technically Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls which was a 2019 iOS game. The last official new release on consoles was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 in 2014. This series’ legacy is not so much tied to games anymore so much as it is tied to anime via Netflix, which has now run three seasons and counting.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Is an interesting case because it started as a manga in 1998. In 1999 Konami gained the gaming rights to both cards and more traditional video games, which has sold about 21M units.
The latest actual video game was Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution, which was in 2019. By and large, this is a cash cow for Konami even though it is a smaller card game compared to Nintendo’s Pokemon empire.
3 Power Pros
Power Pros started its franchise in 1994 for the SNES and has sold about 22M units. Power Pros is the overall current name although it has changed many times over the years from its debut as Jikkyo Powerful Pro Yakyu. This is a more cutesy baseball game aimed at kids rather than adults. This is pretty much a Japan-exclusive series although fans have done some patch work in various entries.
2 Metal Gear
Metal Gear started its franchise in 1987 for the MSX computer and has sold about 56M units. The last game was in 2018 via Metal Gear Survive. It was the first game released without the series’ creator, Hideo Kojima, involved in any way. The history between Metal Gear, Kojima, and Konami regarding their breakup is a long one, but however one feels about that mess, Metal Gear is still a favorite among Western fans.
1 Pro Evolution Soccer
Pro Evolution Soccer started its franchise in 1995 for the PS1 and has sold about 108M units. It’s another sports franchise from Konami that has gone through some name changes as this one started as J.League Jikkyou Winning Eleven on PS1. This series just goes to show how popular soccer is globally since it has gone on to sell double that of the Metal Gear series. The last entry was in 2020 via eFootball PES 2021.