How many copies of Civilization were sold? — 2023 statistics

Measuring the growth of a game empire.

First Released
September 19, 1991
Turn-based strategy
Fireaxis Games
2K Games

When it comes to real-time strategy games, it is hard to beat the Civilization series. Made by the globally popular Sid K. Meier, Civilization allows you to take control of a small settlement of a nation of your choice, which you have to expand and progress into a global empire that no one can stand against. Players can form alliances and rivalries as they unlock the different progressions and advancements of their respective nations, and the game offers a tremendous amount of replayability because no two playthroughs are the same and there are a lot of nations to choose from. Sid Meier’s Civilization series has been around for literal decades, so we’re going to be laying out some Civilization statistics to see how the series has fared in the past, and present, and where it is going in the future. Talking about the best games of all time is fun, but if you want to learn more about the broader sides of the gaming industry, such as the esports industry’s worth, we’ve got you covered.

Civilization key stats

Just like the gameplay of this series, we’re going to start from humble beginnings and see how the Civilization series came into existence, how it progressed and ascended to global fame, then how the series is doing now as well as where it is going in the future. Since the series has been around for a very long time, there is a lot to cover and a lot of numbers to go over, so let’s get into it.

The Civilization series has sold over 40 million copies.

(Sources: GamesBeat, VG Chartz, GameSpot)

  • That number is based on a statement that Strauss Zelnik made regarding total sales at TakeTwo Interactive.
  • The first Civilization game was released in 1991.
  • Civilization sold 1.5 million copies.
  • Civilization II sold over 3 million copies.
  • Civilization IV sold over 3 million copies.
  • Civilization V sold over 8 million copies.
  • Civilization VI sold 11 million copies.

While 40 million copies sold over 25+ years are not in the same league as game franchises that get those numbers in half the time or less, the Civilization series has still sold an incredible number of copies of their iconic games, and the series is sure to sell even more copies as more content is added to the game, and that’s not even talking about the prospect of a new Civilization game coming out, although that is just speculation. Other than that, we can see from these stats that Civilization is doing quite well in sales and popularity is not letting up.

Civilization VI helped Take-Two Interactive cross the $2.66 billion fiscal year threshold.

(Source: Nintendo Life)

  • The sales of Civilization VI significantly exceeded expectations.
  • The company moved to add Civilization VI to the Switch shortly after this announcement.
  • Aside from Civilization, Red Dead Redemption 2 also helped the studio cross that threshold.

Although all of the Civilization games have been massive hits each time one came out, Civilization VI stood out in particular because it had excellent sales performance, and fans of the series, as well as newcomers, flocked to the game because of everything it had to offer. In the end, Civilization VI proved to be the most successful Civilization game and that bodes very well for the series in general.

The creator of Civilization didn’t mean for his name to appear in the titles of his games.

(Source: Polygon)

  • Sid Meier said that it was not his idea to pin his name to the games he created, but that it happened spontaneously.
  • The idea came from Sid’s friend Bill Stealey, who suggested adding Sid Meier’s in front of the new games they were making so long-time fans would be more willing to play them.
  • Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley worked on the first Civilization, but Bruce went on to create the Age of Empires series.
  • Since Meier’s name was working well on Pirates, they decided to keep it for all future games. Sid Meier’s Civilization became an instant hit and remained so with each new addition to the series.

Now, this is some pretty interesting trivia about the creator of the Civilization series — Sid Meier. In the beginning, Sid Meier and his colleague initially wanted to develop flight simulators for people who wanted to experience piloting different vehicles from the comfort of their own homes. They stapled Sid Meier’s name on everything so fans would be more likely to get into their games when they see Sid’s name.

Civilization VI is the franchise’s fastest-selling game.

(Sources: VentureBeat, GameReactor)

  • Civilization VI managed to accumulate over 1 million sales within the first month of its release.
  • By that time, Civilization V sold 8 million copies.
  • Civilization VI would go on to smash that record and accumulate over 10 million sales later.

As we’ve already mentioned, Civilization VI is the franchise’s most successful game, but it also had the fastest sales in the franchise, amassing over a million sales within one month of its release. This was a massive feat back in 2016 and it was a clear indicator that the game would perform well. It did end up performing very well!

A Civilization clone called FreeCol has received its 1.0.0. release.

(Source: PCGamesN)

  • The game has been in development for over 20 years.
  • It has been downloaded over 2 million times over its development period.
  • The game works through the concept of incremental updating, where each new update adds new mechanics and features to make the game more complete.
  • The game is free to play and you can download it by going to their website. Or just Google FreeCol, it’s up to you!

The RTS genre is full of awesome games, and one was added to the roster that had a very long time to develop. It was originally just supposed to be a direct copy of Civilization for whatever, reason, but the game went in the other direction and became something fans of the RTS genre can enjoy for a long time. Plus it’s free!

A streamer beat Civilization VI as a Chinese leader without building any cities.

(Source: Tech News Space)

  • This was a strategy challenge where the player was not able to capture more than three cities.
  • He could also only produce civilian and siege units for the duration of the challenge.
  • The streamer took advantage of the zombie defense mode which allowed him to turn corpses into zombies and increase the size of his army.
  • The streamer managed to secure a dominant victory and was praised by Civilization VI for his performance.

Challenge runs are a very popular thing in the Civilization series because they alter the way you are supposed to play and make the game more challenging. The streamer managed to score the victory and that impressed the Civilization devs so much that they actually mentioned him in multiple social media outlets. This is great because modern Civilization VI challenges and having such an active community means that the game is doing quite well.

Civilization VI is receiving a Leader Pass that will add 18 additional Leaders over time.

(Source: God is a Geek)

  • The first part of the pass added three new Great Negotiators.
  • They are Sultan Saladin, Abraham Lincoln, and Queen Nzinga Mbande.
  • The Leader Pass will have 6 DLC packs featuring 3 characters.
  • It should run until March 2023.

This is a huge step in the right direction for the Civilization series because it shows the community that the developers are dedicated to making sure that the game stays at its peak quality for the foreseeable future. The Leader Pass is going to add an insane amount of content and the fans are loving it so far. The Leaders in this pass also add a lot of variety to the games you play.

The Civilization VI Leader Pass received a new entry called Rulers of China.

(Source: God is a Geek)

  • The Rulers of China DLC adds three new Leaders to play.
  • The total number of Leaders the Leader Pass is supposed to add to the game is 18.
  • Each of the three new Chinese Leaders has a new ability to help you progress.

The Leader Pass has been doing quite well, and one of the expansions added the Rulers of China DLC, which was the main way the streamer managed to complete the no-city-building challenge and it just goes to show what a new expansion can do for the popularity of a series.

To sum up

Alright, that would be all we have to say about the Civilization series! As you can see, it has been around for a very long time and has established itself as one of the cornerstones of the RTS genre and the gaming world in general. 30 years, multiple games, and more expansions than you can count, Civilization offers near-infinite replayability and is definitely one of the best series out there. We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the information we have provided here and that you have learned something new about this iconic franchise.


  • “Civilization (Series)”. VG Chartz, 2023, https://www.vgchartz.com/game/226068/civilization/?region=All
  • “Civilization: 25 years, 33M copies sold, 1 billion hours played, and 66 versions”. VentureBeat, 2016, https://venturebeat.com/games/civilization-25-years-66-versions-33m-copies-sold-1-billion-hours-played/
  • “Take-Two Says Civilization VI Sales “Significantly Exceeded Expectations”, Excited To Support Switch In Future”. NintendoLife, 2019, https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2019/02/take-two_says_civilization_vi_sales_significantly_exceeded_expectations_excited_to_support_switch_in_future
  • “The man who made a million empires”. Polygon, 2016, https://www.polygon.com/features/2016/3/4/11158134/the-man-who-made-a-million-empires
  • “Civilization VI becomes the fastest-selling entry in franchise’s 25-year history”. GamesBeat, 2016,
  • https://venturebeat.com/pc-gaming/civilization-vi-becomes-the-fastest-selling-entry-in-franchises-25-year-history/
  • “https://venturebeat.com/pc-gaming/civilization-vi-becomes-the-fastest-selling-entry-in-franchises-25-year-history/”. GameReactor, 2016, https://www.gamereactor.eu/civilization-vi-is-the-fastest-selling-game-in-civ-history/
  • “GTA 5 Ships 75 Million Copies, As NBA 2K17 Approaches 7 Million; Mafia 3 Rises To 5 Million”. GameSpot, 2017, https://www.gamespot.com/articles/gta-5-ships-75-million-copies-as-nba-2k17-approach/1100-6447639/
  • “Civilization like strategy classic is a great free game after 20 years”. PCGamesN, 2023, https://www.pcgamesn.com/freecol/civilisation-like-free-game
  • “Very Impressive”: The player wins Sid Meier’s Civilization VI as a Chinese leader without building any cities”. Tech News Space, 2023, https://technewsspace.com/very-impressive-the-player-wins-sid-meiers-civilization-vi-as-a-chinese-leader-without-building-any-cities/
  • “Civilization VI has a new season pass that will add 18 new playable leaders”. God is a Geek, 2022, https://www.godisageek.com/2022/11/civilization-vi-has-a-new-season-pass-that-will-add-18-new-playable-leaders/
  • “Civilization VI: Leader Pass – Rulers of China is available now”. God is a Geek, 2023, https://www.godisageek.com/2023/01/civilization-vi-leader-pass-rulers-of-china-is-available-now/