The Dragon Ball video game series are based on the manga and anime series of the same name created by Akira Toriyama. The series follows the adventures of Goku as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven wish-granting orbs known as the Dragon Balls. The games are of various genres, mostly role-playing, platform and fighting games, although the latter have become the most prominent.
Since 1986, many video games based on the property have been released in Japan, with the majority being produced by Bandai. Most of the games from the 16-bit and 32-bit eras were also localized and released in European countries like France, Spain and Portugal because of the strong following the series already had in those countries. Up until 1997’s Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, none of the Dragon Ball games were localized for the North American market, with the exception of Dragon Power which was graphically altered due to the lack of a license for the franchise.
In 2000, Infogrames acquired the license to produce and release Dragon Ball games for the North American and international market. With the release of their first two titles in the franchise, 2002’s Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, Infogrames more than doubled their sales. In January 2004, Atari paid $10 million for the exclusive US rights until January 2010. In 2008, Atari announced that over 12.7 million video game units based on the series had been sold since May 2002. Dragon Ball was Atari’s top-earning licensed property, earning $85 million in 2005 and accounting for over 49% of their annual revenue in 2008. However, with the expiration of the Atari deal in 2009, Namco Bandai Games assumed the North American and European distribution rights, starting with the 2009 releases of Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast and Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo.
By December 2014, over 40 million video games based on the franchise had been sold worldwide. The Dragon Ball Xenoverse series sold a further 10 million units between 2015 and 2018, and Dragon Ball FighterZ(2018) sold over 3.5 million units, bringing software sales to over 53.5 million units sold. In addition, the mobile game Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle has exceeded 250 million downloads and grossed over $1.6 billion,and the mobile game Dragon Ball Legends has grossed over $140 million. The Dragon Ball video game series has generated over $5 billion in total gross revenue, as of 2018.