The series was published by Yuke's and known as Exciting Pro Wrestling in Japan until 2005. Following SmackDown vs. Raw 2007, THQ took over as the Japanese publisher and the series adopted the western name. Initially, the series was exclusive to PlayStation video game consoles, but it expanded to all seventh generation consoles in 2008 (previously, different WWE video games were released on the other platforms). In recent years, THQ has been releasing two WWE video games per year: one for the Christmas shopping season and another right before WrestleMania (like 2010's Legends of WrestleMania and 2011's WWE All Stars).
Below is a list of the available titles in the series.
- WWF SmackDown!
Release date: February 29, 2000
- WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role
Release date: November 21, 2000
- WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It
Release date: November 19, 2001
This was the first WWF video game released on the PlayStation 2 and the final video game released under the WWF acronym.
- WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth
Release date: October 31, 2002
- WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain
Release date: October 27, 2003
- WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW
Release date: November 2, 2004
This was the first game in the series to permit gamers to select "clean" or "dirty" in-ring fighting styles.
- WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006
Release date: November 14, 2005
This was the first game in the series to be released to a handheld console.
- WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2007
Release date: November 14, 2006
This was the first game in the series to change its primary movement from the directional buttons to the analog stick. A PlayStation 3 version was planned but canceled mid-way into production. From this game onwards, the exclamation mark from the title was removed.
- WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2008
Release date: November 13, 2007
This was the first WWE video game released on the PlayStation 3 and it was the first game in the series to feature "Including ECW" below its title.
- WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2009
Release date: November 9, 2008
- WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2010
Release date: October 20, 2009
- WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011
Release date: October 26, 2010
The SmackDown! series was among the best-selling video game franchises. THQ and YUKE's Future Media Creators consider one reason the series has remained so popular is due to series bringing "WWE programming to life through a host of key new features, extensive rosters with WWE's most popular Superstars, incredible graphics and engaging action in and beyond the ring."
While most fans agree that the titles have declined in quality, usually starting around the paradigm shift in the primary movement format, Kay strongly preferred the analog stick movement and felt that the games were increasingly more enjoyable after the change. Unfortunately, it has been announced that "WWE '12" will return to its original primary movement format.