The early ’90s were all about Mario vs. Sonic. The late ’90s saw Crash Bandicoot and Lara Croft enter the fray. The 2000s saw the rise of popular characters such as Kratos and Master Chief. All of these names will be familiar in any gaming household, but who are the most popular video game characters?

There are hundreds of iconic characters in gaming, most of who will forever be household names. But which characters are the public’s all-time favourites? New researchlooked at online search volumes and social media posts that talked about some of the most famous personalities. 

Sonic the Hedgehog classic

Most Popular Video Game Characters

The world of gaming has transformed over the decades, but is it the high-definition characters of today that are the fan favourites, or the iconic cartoons of decades gone by? The answer appears to be the latter. The infamous Sonic the Hedgehog raced to the top of the search volume ranks, followed by Pikachu and Pac-Man. It’s a similar story on Instagram, with Pikachu, Mario and Sonic receiving the most posts.  

If search volume equated to Instagram followers, Sonic could charge £48.9k for a single sponsored post. Maybe SEGA should look into putting their mascot front-and-centre on social media? However, it’s Pokemon’s Pikachu that has the most Instagram posts with his name hashtagged (7.4 million).

Total revenue for the Pokemon video game series has reached £65.9 billion, and Pickachu has appeared in some form in every single title. The second best selling series, starring Mario, is lagging way behind on £22.2 billion. That said, Mario himself has starred in more games than any other character – 259 and counting!

Mario Games Compilation

The Chart

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for – the full breakdown of the seven most popular video game characters!

RankCharacter Global Monthly Search volume   No. of Instagram posts with name hashtagged  
1  Sonic  6,700,000  3,273,487  
2  Pikachu  3,700,000  7,430,874  
3  Pac-man  3,000,000  1,642,920  
4  Mario  2,100,000  5,559,810  
5  Big Boss  712,500  2,800,000  
6  Luigi  641,200  1,300,000  
7  Lara Croft  607,700  735,000  
The most popular video game characters, as according to Currys research.

While Sonic, Mario and Pac-man et al seem pretty obvious inclusions, we’re somewhat suspicious of Big Boss. Although he’s a very famous character in gaming circles, we’re not sure he can stand next to Lara Croft for global fame. Furthermore, the name ‘Big Boss’ is less synonymous with the Metal Gear series than Solid Snake, and the term itself could be used in a multitude of ways that don’t specifically relate to the character. But hey ho, I guess.

Honourable mentions that didn’t make it into the 7 most popular videogame characters go out to Kratos from the God of War series, and Yoshi, Mario’s often underappreciated riding buddy.

Do you agree with the above list? Which characters did you expect to see that didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments section below!

Categories: Culture Games