Video Game Genre Popularity Case Study

Understanding different video game genres is important for developers, publishers, marketers, and designers. This knowledge helps make informed decisions about game mechanics, and developing art for game genres, themes, and marketing strategies, potentially leading to better sales and reception.

Players' favorite video game genres

Understanding different video game genres is important for developers, publishers, marketers, and designers. This knowledge helps make informed decisions about game mechanics, and developing art for game genres, themes, and marketing strategies, potentially leading to better sales and reception.

Game developers — can create games that are more likely to succeed in the market.

Video Game Genre Popularity

We’ll explore the most popular video game genres and their variations across platforms, including mobile devices, computers, and gaming consoles. This overview aims to understand the distinct gaming preferences on each platform, providing insights into the development strategies and market trends.

Video game genres are important in game development because they help developers understand what types of games people like to play. This information guides them in creating games that are more likely to be enjoyed and successful. Knowing popular genres helps developers decide on game features, stories, and gameplay mechanics that fit what players are looking for.

Various people benefit from understanding what is the most popular video game genre:

  • Game developers — can create games that are more likely to succeed in the market.
  • Marketers — can target their promotions better by knowing popular game genres among different groups.
  • Investors — get insights into profitable gaming trends to make informed investment decisions.
  • Gamers — benefit indirectly as developers make games that cater to their preferences, improving their gaming experience.
What are the most popular video game genres in USA

Action Games

Action games are a genre that accents physical challenges, including hand-eye coordination and reaction time. The genre includes a wide range of sub-genres, such as platformers, shooters, and fighting games.

Key Features:

  1. Fast-paced gameplay.
  2. Combat.
  3. Challenges. It can be physical (requiring precision and control) or strategic (requiring planning and execution under pressure).
  4. Levels and obstacles.
  5. Progression and power-ups.
Action video games genre main characteristics and features

Popular Action Games Through the Years

  • 1

    1980s-1990s:

    • Super Mario Bros. (1985) — revolutionized the platformer genre, becoming a staple for action-packed gameplay.
    • Mega Man series — known for its challenging platforming and precise combat mechanics.
  • 2

    2000S

    • God of War (2005) — combined narrative with brutal combat, setting a new standard for action-adventure games.
    • Grand Theft Auto III (2001) — introduced open-world gameplay combined with action, creating a massive shift in how action games could be experienced.
  • 3

    2010s

    • The Last of Us (2013) — a blend of survival, stealth, and combat, noted for its emotional storytelling and deep character development.
    • Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018) — while primarily an action-adventure game, it featured a vast open world filled with life-like interactions and numerous action sequences.
  • 4

    2020s

    • Grand Theft Auto V (2013, continued popularity into the 2020s) — its dynamic open world and deep narrative set within an interactive cityscape continues to define action gaming.
    • Cyberpunk 2077 (2020) — despite a troubled launch, it has been recognized for its complex narrative and world-building.
TOP of the best action video games

Adventure Games

Adventure games are a genre of video games characterized by exploration, puzzle-solving, and strong storytelling. They focus on narrative and often involve engaging with game characters, deciphering clues, and solving puzzles that drive the story forward.

Key Features:

  1. Story-rich. 
  2. Puzzle solving.
  3. Exploration.
  4. Character interaction.
  5. Minimal combat.
Adventure video games genre main characteristics and features

Popular Action Games Through the Years

  • 1

    1980s

    King’s Quest (1984) — revolutionized adventure gaming with its graphical display and depth of narrative.

  • 2

    1990s

    • Myst (1993) — featured pre-rendered 3D graphics and a non-linear narrative that required players to solve complex puzzles and uncover an elaborate backstory.
    • The Longest Journey (1999) — known for its storyline and detailed world.
  • 3

    2000S

    • Syberia (2002) — had rich storytelling with a unique artistic style mixed with puzzle-solving (mostly with environment interactions), and exploration.
    • Life is Strange (2015) — a more modern title that uses a choice-driven narrative to affect the story's outcome, reflecting the evolution of interactive storytelling.
  • 4

    2010s

    • The Walking Dead (2012) — episodic game format with strong narrative choices that have real consequences on the story’s progression.
    • Firewatch (2016) — had a character interaction and psychological depth, set against a richly illustrated backdrop.
  • 5

    2020s

    • The Outer Worlds (2019) — although bordering on action-RPG, it’s still a good adventure game with a strong narrative and character-driven story within an expansive game world.
    • Tomb Raider (Reboot series starting 2013-2018) — mixes exploration and puzzle-solving with more dynamic action elements.
TOP of the best adventure video games

Role-Playing Games (RPGs) Subgenres & Examples

Role-playing games (RPGs) are a genre where players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players are responsible for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making or character development. 

Subgenres of RPGs

Western RPG video games genre main characteristics and features

Western RPGs (WRPGs):

Typically has a freedom of player’s choice and expansive exploration. Character customization is often extensive with a wide range of player-defined attributes, skills, and decisions that impact the game’s story.

Examples: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 4, Fallout: New Vegas. If you interested in how New Vegas became so big, we recommend you check out our Fallout: New Vegas review.

Japanese RPG video games genre main characteristics and features

Japanese RPGs (JRPGs):

Often feature a group of characters with well-defined roles. JRPGs are known for their linear gameplay and heavily story-driven focus.

Examples: Final Fantasy VII and Persona 5.

Action RPG video games genre main characteristics and features

Action RPGs (ARPGs):

These combine real-time combat with traditional RPG elements of character leveling and inventory management.

Examples: Diablo III and Monster Hunter World.

Tactical RPG video games genre main characteristics and features

Tactical RPGs (TRPGs):

Focus on strategy and tactics, requiring the player to manage teams of characters on grid-like battlefields.

Examples: Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics.

MMO RPG video games genre main characteristics and features

MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs):

Support large numbers of players interacting in an open world online.

Examples: World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV.

Notable RPG Games

  1. Pokémon Series (Various titles like “Pokémon Red/Blue” and “Pokémon Sword/Shield”) — combines elements from traditional RPGs with unique creature collections and battles.
  2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — known for its deep narrative and huge worldbuilding, this game is known for adding player-driven choices that meet real consequences. Still considered one of the best RPGs in entire gaming history. 
  3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — the classic that’s friendly for the RPG beginners and honored by the old RPG community. Freedom in character development and exploration.
  4. Final Fantasy Series (e.g., Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XV) — JRPGs with a focus on story and character development.
TOP of the best role-playing video games

Simulation Subcategories & Examples

Simulation games are designed to replicate various activities from real life in the form of a game for various purposes such as training, analysis, or prediction. These games have detailed, realistic experiences that mimic aspects of the real world or fantasize scenarios by providing control over the environment, objects, or operations in a virtual world.

Subcategories of Simulation Games

Vehicle simulation video games genre main characteristics and features

Vehicle Simulation:

Focus on the operation of vehicles such as cars, aircraft, boats, or tanks. The simulation can range from realistic, like learning to operate a large vehicle, to more arcade-style driving experiences.

Notable Games:

  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 — players drive trucks across Europe, delivering cargo and managing logistics.
  • Kerbal Space Program — focuses on spacecraft construction and space exploration, requiring an understanding of basic aerodynamics and orbital physics.
Life simulation video games genre main characteristics and features

Life Simulation:

Simulating daily activities or life paths of virtual characters. These games often involve managing needs, relationships, and careers.

Notable Games:

  • The Sims 4 — allows players to create and manage people, guiding them through their careers and social lives.
  • Stardew Valley and similar games — combine farming with life simulation and fantasy elements, where players manage a farm, grow crops, raise livestock, and interact with townspeople.
Construction and management simulation video games genre main characteristics and features

Construction and Management Simulation (CMS):

Players build, expand, and manage fictional communities or projects with resources. These games often require strategic planning and efficient resource management.

Notable Games:

  • Cities: Skylines — focuses on urban planning and city-building, allowing players to design and manage every aspect of a city from the ground up.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons — involves developing a deserted island into a community, managing resources, and interacting with animal residents.  If you’re fascinated by how these interactive 3D worlds are created, enhancing both the gameplay and the storytelling, explore more about 3D environment design to see how these elements are crafted to support complex social interactions.
Economic simulation video games genre main characteristics and features

Economic Simulation:

Managing economic processes in a business or economic system. These games typically involve strategy, resource allocation, and decision-making.

Notable Games:

  • StarSector — a rather old (2011) game that is still in active development, saw few reboots and “relaunches”. Distributed through their official website, the game has one of the best and deepest economic systems ever created. In this game, you can be whoever you want, from a simple merchant to a drug-dealing vagabond. 
Social simulation video games genre main characteristics and features

Social Simulation:

Explore social interactions and relationships. These games may simulate social dynamics and are often intertwined with other subgenres.

Notable Games:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons — engages players in social interactions within a community of anthropomorphic animals.

Simulation Subcategories & Examples

Strategy games are a genre of video games where the emphasis is on strategic thought and tactical decisions. These games require players to plan, manage resources, and make decisions that have long-term effects on the outcome of the game. The core of strategy gameplay is derived from board games and military simulations, and these games often simulate conflict or competition between players.

Types of Strategy Games

Real-Time strategy video games genre main characteristics and features

Real-Time Strategy (RTS):

Gameplay progresses continuously, allowing all players to play simultaneously without taking turns. Players must make quick decisions and actions, often under pressure.

Key Features: resource management, base building, unit creation, and direct control of units in combat.

Examples:

  • Starcraft 2 — known for its competitive gameplay and as a staple in eSports, focusing on distinct factions vying for dominance.

  • Age of Empires 2 — combines building armies and towns with exploring and conquering territories.
Turn-based strategy video games genre main characteristics and features

Turn-Based Strategy (TBS):

Players take turns when making decisions. This format allows for deeper strategic planning and less pressure on the timing of decisions.

Key Features: turn limits, deep planning, and phased sequences.

Examples:

  • Civilization VI — focuses on empire-building from the Stone Age to the Information Age, where players control various aspects of their civilization to outlast competitors.
  • XCOM 2 — tactical squad-based gameplay where players combat alien invasions, emphasizing individual unit movement and actions per turn.
Grand strategy video games genre main characteristics and features

Grand Strategy:

Involves controlling a nation or empire, where the focus is broader, including political, economic, and military aspects.

Key Features: long-term strategic planning, diplomacy, and resource management over large geographic scales.

Examples:

  • Crusader Kings 3 — focuses on dynasty management, inheritance laws, and feudal politics.
  • Total War Series (e.g., Total War: Three Kingdoms) — combines turn-based strategic rounds with massive real-time battles.
4X strategy video games genre main characteristics and features

4X Strategy:

These games are characterized by the four X’s: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. Players control an empire and aim to expand it through various means.

Examples:

  • Sins of a Solar Empire — integrates RTS elements with 4X gameplay, set in space, focusing on building an empire through conquest and diplomacy.

Influential Strategy Games

  • Cities: Skylines — while primarily a city builder incorporates strategic elements of managing a city’s infrastructure, economy, and development.
  • Hearthstone and Clash Royale — these games blend strategy with collectible card game elements, requiring tactical deck building and on-the-fly decision-making. The rich 2D environments where these battles take place are crucial for creating engaging gameplay experiences. To understand how these vibrant and interactive 2D settings are crafted, explore more about 2D environment design to see how developers bring such game worlds to life.

Sports and Racing

The list of best-selling racing games highlights significant sales achievements, showing popular titles and their impact on the gaming industry:

  • 1

    Mario Kart Series

    • Mario Kart 8: 47 million
    • Mario Kart Wii: 36.60 million
    • Mario Kart DS: 23.60 million

    The Mario Kart series stands out for its universal appeal, combining simple, accessible gameplay with competitive racing elements. It's particularly notable for its cross-generational appeal and its use in social gaming contexts.

  • 2

    Gran Turismo Series

    • Gran Turismo 4: 17.83 million
    • Gran Turismo 5: 17.3 million
    • Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec: 14.89 million

    Gran Turismo is known for its realism and attention to detail concerning vehicle physics and graphics, catering to enthusiasts and casual players alike. It's a benchmark for simulation racing.

  • 3

    Need For Speed Series

    • Most Wanted: 16 million
    • Underground: 15 million

    Need for Speed has carved out a niche by focusing on street racing culture and arcade-style gameplay, offering intense, high-speed chases and a wide variety of customization options.

  • 4

    Popular Racing Franchises

    • Mario Kart: 152.03 million
    • Need for Speed: 150 million
    • Gran Turismo: 85.02 million
TOP of the best racing video games

Fighting

The evolution of fighting games and their franchises reflects significant developments in gaming technology, player expectations, and the commercial strategies of developers.

The best games of fighting genre early years

Early Years and Genre Foundations

Late 1980s to early 1990s. The fighting game genre was formalized with the introduction of seminal titles like Street Fighter (1987) and Mortal Kombat (1992). These games introduced the basic format of one-on-one combat and were pivotal in setting standards for the genre, such as character rosters with unique abilities and fighting styles.

The best games of fighting genre technological advances era

Technological Advances and Gameplay Evolution

Mid -1990s to early 2000s. Advancements in 3D graphics allowed for the development of games like Virtua Fighter (1993) and Tekken (1994), which brought new life to the genre with fully 3D arenas and character models, enhancing visual realism and gameplay depth. This era also saw the introduction of combo systems and more complex special moves, increasing the skill ceiling.

The best games of fighting genre commercial success era

Commercial Success and Global Impact

2000s to present. Titles like Street Fighter II have shown extraordinary commercial success, with gross revenues hitting billions when adjusted for inflation. This success isn’t just monetary; these franchises have profoundly influenced global pop culture, inspiring movies, merchandise, and competitive gaming events.

  • Street Fighter II alone has grossed over $10 billion, making it one of the highest-grossing video games ever.

  • Mortal Kombat and Virtua Fighter also show significant sales, with their contributions to the mechanics of fighting games, such as the introduction of fatalities and the simulation of realistic physics.
The best games of fighting genre modern era

Modern Era and Esports

Esports and Community. The growth of esports has reinvigorated the fighting game community, with games like Street Fighter IV and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate becoming staples at large-scale tournaments like EVO. The competitive scene has played a crucial role in maintaining the genre’s popularity and influencing ongoing game development.

The best games of fighting genre franchise expansion era

Franchise Expansion

Diversification and Spin-offs. Many fighting game franchises have expanded into various media and other game types, such as card games and RPGs. Super Smash Bros. has evolved into a major franchise, featuring characters from multiple universes, thus broadening its appeal.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate leads as the highest-selling title in its franchise, indicating the strong cross-genre appeal of its expansive character roster from various franchises.

Puzzle

  • 1

    Tetris (1989, Game Boy)

    Perhaps the quintessential puzzle game, Tetris is famed for its simple yet addictive gameplay. The game challenges players to rotate and arrange falling tetrominoes to complete lines, which then disappear to free up space. 

  • 2

    Portal 2 (2011, Various Platforms)

    Portal 2 builds upon the innovative mechanics of its predecessor by introducing players to the portal gun, which creates inter-spatial portals on flat surfaces. The game is celebrated for its clever puzzle design, witty dialogue, and the way it seamlessly blends story with gameplay.

  • 3

    Lemmings (1991, PC)

    In Lemmings, players guide a horde of the titular creatures through levels filled with hazards by assigning them specific roles such as diggers, blockers, and builders. This game tests strategy and foresight, requiring players to utilize limited resources to create safe paths for the lemmings.

  • 4

    Tetris Attack (1996, SNES)

    Despite its name, Tetris Attack has little to do with traditional Tetris and is more of a match-three puzzle game. It requires players to swap blocks to form matching groups, known for its fast-paced action and competitive gameplay.

  • 5

    Limbo (2010, Various Platforms)

    A minimalist puzzle platformer, Limbo is known for its stark, atmospheric visuals and physics-based puzzles that often involve manipulating the environment and avoiding deadly traps.

If you're inspired by these games and interested in creating your own unique game, explore custom game development  services to learn how you can develop personalized gaming experiences.

TOP of the best puzzle video games

Horror

The horror genre typically involves eerie settings, scary stories, and unexpected surprises that aim to evoke fear and tension. The art in horror games is important as it sets the atmosphere; it includes dark, gloomy visuals, unsettling environments, and often distorted or supernatural elements.

Horror video games genre main characteristics and features

For developers and clients considering the horror genre, it’s important to pay close attention to the details of sound design and visual cues. Sounds play a critical role in building tension and fear, while the visual style needs to support the eerie and haunting atmosphere essential for horror. The development of such games also requires creating a good narrative that can keep players engaged and on edge, often using mystery elements and plot twists. This genre is particularly appealing to players who enjoy intense emotions and challenging their fears, providing a niche market with dedicated fans.

One of the best games in this genre:

  • 1

    Resident Evil (1996)

    • Platform: PlayStation
    • Developer: Capcom
    • The game that defined the survival horror genre, setting a benchmark with its mix of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving elements within a horror-themed narrative.
  • 2

    Silent Hill 2 (2001)

    • Platform: PlayStation 2
    • Developer: Konami
    • Known for its deep psychological horror and complex story, this game explores themes of guilt and retribution, creating a tense, foreboding atmosphere.
  • 3

    Dead Space (2008)

    • Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
    • Developer: EA Redwood Shores
    • Combines sci-fi with horror, featuring a chilling storyline about alien infestations and body horror, intensified by its isolated space setting.
  • 4

    Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)

    • Platform: PC
    • Developer: Frictional Games
    • A game that revitalized psychological horror with its emphasis on defenselessness, forcing players to hide and evade rather than confront threats, enhancing feelings of vulnerability and fear.
  • 5

    Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (2003)

    • Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox
    • Developer: Tecmo
    • Utilizes a unique mechanic of a camera that captures spirits, combining traditional Japanese horror elements with innovative gameplay.
  • 6

    Resident Evil 4 (2005)

    • Platform: PlayStation 2, GameCube, PC, others
    • Developer: Capcom
    • Revolutionized the series by introducing an over-the-shoulder view and more dynamic shooting mechanics, blending action with horror.
  • 7

    The Last of Us (2013)

    • Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
    • Developer: Naughty Dog
    • While primarily a survival game, it incorporates horror elements through its storytelling, character development, and the threat of both human and creature adversaries.
  • 8

    Left 4 Dead (2007)

    • Platform: Xbox 360, PC
    • Developer: Valve
    • Focuses on cooperative play, pitting teams of players against hordes of zombies, emphasizing both action and strategic gameplay in a horror setting.
  • 9

    Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005)

    • Platform: Xbox 360, PC
    • Developer: Monolith Productions
    • Known for its melee combat and investigation mechanics, set within a dark and gritty world that heightens the horror experience.
  • 10

    F.E.A.R. (2005)

    • Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
    • Developer: Monolith Productions
    • Combines first-person combat with supernatural horror, renowned for its challenging AI and the intense atmosphere it creates.
TOP of the best horror video games

Sandbox and Open-World

  • 1

    Genshin Impact

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: miHoYo
    • A vast open-world game that blends action RPG elements with exploration. Set in the beautiful and expansive world of Teyvat, players can explore freely, solve puzzles, and engage in combat with a gacha system for character and weapon enhancements.
  • 2

    Minecraft

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: Mojang Studios
    • The quintessential sandbox game that allows players to build and explore their worlds made from blocks. It offers unparalleled creativity and has been influential in promoting educational and social aspects through its gameplay.
  • 3

    Grand Theft Auto V

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: Rockstar Games
    • Known for its deep narrative and open-world freedom, GTA V allows players to explore the sprawling city of Los Santos, engaging in various activities from heists to leisure, creating a deeply immersive experience.
  • 4

    Kerbal Space Program

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: Squad
    • A space-flight simulation game that challenges players with designing and flying spacecraft under realistic orbital physics, promoting an educational yet fun experience in aerospace engineering.
  • 5

    Just Cause 3

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: Avalanche Studios
    • Features a massive open world with a focus on high-octane action and destruction. Players use a variety of gadgets and vehicles to navigate and manipulate the environment for creative and explosive outcomes.
  • 6

    Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

    • Platform: PC
    • Developer: TaleWorlds Entertainment
    • Combines detailed medieval combat and tactics with large-scale battles and complex kingdom management (that is rather underdeveloped and can be easily exploited), set in a dynamically evolving open-world setting.
  • 7

    Red Dead Redemption 2

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: Rockstar Games
    • Offers an expansive representation of the American frontier with deep narrative layers, complex character interactions, and survival elements, set within an open world teeming with wildlife and adventure.
  • 8

    The Sims 4

    • Platform: Various
    • Developer: Maxis
    • A life simulation game where players create and control people in a virtual world, managing their lives from relationships to career paths, within a sandbox-like environment that encourages storytelling and creativity.
TOP of the best sandbox and open-world video games

Battle Royale

Battle Royale games have increased in popularity because of their unique blend of intense competition, survival mechanics, and the thrill of being the last player or team standing. The format typically drops a large number of players into an expansive, diminishing play area, compelling them to scavenge for resources, strategize in real-time, and engage in combat until only one survives. This genre is appealing for several reasons:

  1. Competitive thrill — the high stakes of battle royale games, where the goal is to be the last survivor, create an adrenaline-fueled competitive environment that appeals to both players and spectators.

  2. Social interaction — these games often include team-based modes that encourage cooperation and communication, fostering a social gaming experience.

  3. Variability and replayability — every match offers a different experience due to random loot placements, player interactions, and the unpredictable nature of the play zone’s shrinking, which keeps the game fresh and engaging.

  4. Accessible gameplay — while the concept is simple to understand, the depth of strategy required can vary, making it accessible to new players but still challenging for experienced gamers.
Battle royale video games genre main characteristics and features

Key Battle Royale Titles

  • 1

    Call of Duty: Warzone

    • Platform(s): Various
    • Unique features: integrates with Modern Warfare offering loadout customization and a Gulag system for player respawns, adding strategic layers beyond traditional battle royale gameplay.
  • 2

    Fortnite

    • Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mobile
    • Unique features: known for its building mechanics that allow players to construct defenses on the fly, combined with a vibrant, ever-evolving game world and cross-platform play.
  • 3

    Player Unknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

    • Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mobile
    • Unique features: credited with popularizing the battle royale genre, offering a more tactical and realistic survival experience compared to its contemporaries.
  • 4

    Apex Legends

    • Platform(s): Various
    • Unique features: focuses on squad-based gameplay with unique character abilities, fostering a blend of strategic teamplay and fast-paced action.
  • 5

    Battlefield V: Firestorm

    • Platform(s): Various
    • Unique features: incorporates traditional Battlefield elements like vehicle combat and large-scale battles into the battle royale format, set in World War II.
TOP of the best battle royale video games

MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)

Characteristics of MOBA Games:

  • Team-based — players are divided into two teams, each working towards destroying the opposing team’s main structure.

  • Roles and positions — each player selects a character, known as a “hero” or “champion”, with unique abilities and a specific role within the team.

  • Complex strategy and tactics — the games often require good team coordination, strategic planning, and tactical execution.

  • Objective-focused gameplay — besides battling other players, objectives like capturing points or defeating neutral enemies often play a crucial role.

  • Progressive elements — players can improve their characters’ abilities as the game progresses by gaining experience points and purchasing equipment.
Multiplayer online battle arena video games genre main characteristics and features

The Best MOBA Games:

  • 1

    League of Legends

    Developer: Riot Games

    Known for its vast roster of champions and deep strategic gameplay, "League" remains one of the most popular and influential MOBAs in the world. Its popularity and influence stem not only from its gameplay but also from its innovative user interface (UI) design, which enhances player engagement and accessibility. For those interested in the broader application of these principles, exploring various game UI design examples can offer further understanding of how UI elements contribute to the success and functionality of games across different genres.

  • 2

    DOTA 2

    Developer: Valve

    A direct successor to the game that popularized the genre, it is celebrated for its highly strategic gameplay and complex mechanics.

  • 3

    Heroes of the Storm

    Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

    Features characters from Blizzard's various franchises, known for its team-oriented gameplay and shorter match lengths.

  • 4

    Smite

    Developer: Titan Forge Games

    Differentiates itself with a third-person perspective, offering a unique take on the MOBA formula.

  • 5

    Pokemon Unite

    Developer: TiMi Studio Group

    Combines MOBA mechanics with Pokémon characters, appealing to both Pokémon fans and MOBA players with its accessible gameplay.

TOP of the best MOBA video games

VR and AR Games

  • 1

    Half Life: Alyx (Steam VR)

    A VR entry in the Half Life series that has combat and environmental interaction, set between the events of the first and second games.

  • 2

    Horizon: Call of the Mountain (PSVR 2)

    An exclusive VR spin-off of the Horizon series featuring climbing, archery, and puzzle-solving in a visually rich setting.

  • 3

    Gran Turismo 7 (PSVR 2)

    A portion of this popular racing game is playable in VR, offering high-detail immersive driving experiences, although it requires traditional controllers or compatible driving wheels.

  • 4

    Resident Evil Village (PSVR 2)

    This horror game features a VR mode that enhances the visual and atmospheric horror elements, making it an intense VR experience.

  • 5

    No Man's Sky (Steam VR, PSVR, PSVR 2)

    A space exploration game that offers a vast, procedurally generated universe, which can be entirely experienced in VR, enhancing the explorative aspect of the game.

TOP of the best virtual reality and augmented reality video games

Indie Games

Game Title
Description
A Way Out
A co-op game about teamwork and adventure where two players control convicts trying to escape prison. It combines action, puzzles, and storytelling
Disco Elysium
One of the best-looking isometric games. An RPG known for deep storytelling and choice-driven gameplay, where you play a detective with a complex personal history, navigating a richly detailed city
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
A game set in a dark fantasy world inspired by Norse mythology, focusing on a warrior’s psychological trials alongside physical combat
Papers, Please
Is almost everywhere one of the first on the list of popular 2D games. A puzzle simulation game where you play a border control officer managing immigration documents in a fictional dystopian country
Factorio
A construction and management simulation where players build and manage factories within an open-world environment
Subnautica
An underwater adventure game focusing on exploration and survival in an alien ocean filled with mysterious creatures and resources, while still offering a compelling and cohesive story
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
A lot of platformer subgenres are known for their beautiful art style and emotional storytelling, following a small guardian spirit through a densely forested and enchanted world
Mordhau
A medieval multiplayer game that focuses on realistic combat and tactics on large, open battlefields
Kenshi
An open-world role-playing game that emphasizes freedom in gameplay, allowing players to build, fight, and live in a post-apocalyptic world with complex management systems and no particular goals or campaigns
Stray
A unique indie game where you play as a cat exploring a mysterious and detailed cybercity, solving puzzles, and uncovering secrets
Mount & Blade
A medieval combat simulation game that combines strategy and role-playing elements, allowing players to participate in large-scale battles and political intrigue
Ocean Keeper
An underwater exploration game focusing on survival and discovery in a beautifully crafted underwater world
Blade and Sorcery
A VR game that stands out for its realistic physics-based combat, offering players an intense and immersive medieval combat experience
Project Zomboid
A survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies, focusing on survival tactics and resource management
Rust
A multiplayer survival game where players must survive on an island by gathering resources, crafting tools, and building shelters
DayZ
A survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world where players must navigate a landscape filled with threats from the environment and other players
RimWorld
A colony simulation game that uniquely integrates strategy, personal psychology, and complex ecosystems as players manage a space colony
Stardew Valley
This is a farming simulation game that captures the essence of the classic Harvest Moon series but with enhanced gameplay elements. Players manage their character's time and energy levels as they clear land, plant crops, raise livestock, craft goods, mine for ores, and become part of the surrounding community
No Man's Sky
An expansive space exploration game featuring a procedurally generated universe with over 18 quintillion planets. Players can explore, trade, fight, and survive across diverse planets, benefiting from continuous updates that have significantly enhanced the game's depth and playability
SCP Secret Laboratory
A multiplayer horror game set in the SCP Foundation universe, where players take on various roles, from SCP entities to scientists and guards, each with specific objectives. The game emphasizes cooperation, conflict, and survival in a mysterious and eerie setting
This War of Mine
A survival strategy game that centers on the experiences of civilians in a war-torn city. Players manage shelter, and resources, and make tough moral decisions to ensure the survival of their group, offering a deep reflection on the civilian costs of war
TOP of the best indie video games

Hybrid Game Genres

  • 1

    Brutal Legend — Hack-n-Slash/RTS

    Combines hack-n-slash action with real-time strategy elements. Features stage battles where strategy becomes crucial, diverging from traditional hack-n-slash to involve troop and resource management.

  • 2

    Disco Elysium — Satirical Murder-Mystery RPG

    Mixes traditional RPG elements with a focus on conversation and character skills instead of combat. The game presents a satirical take on society and politics, blending role-playing with a strong narrative focus.

  • 3

    Spore — Life Simulation/Strategy/Exploration

    Tracks a species from a single cell to a galactic power, merging life simulation with strategy and exploration across various evolutionary stages, each offering different gameplay mechanics.

  • 4

    LittleBigPlanet — Platformer/Creation

    Offers a conventional platforming experience combined with extensive player creation tools, allowing users to build levels and share them, fostering community-driven content creation.

  • 5

    Achron — Time Travel Real-Time Strategy

    Integrates time travel mechanics directly into gameplay, allowing players to manipulate events across different timeframes, which introduces unique strategic elements to the RTS genre.

TOP of the best hybrid video games

Casinos and Slots

  • 1

    Play 777 Slots

    • Offers over 70 Vegas slot machines with various features like huge jackpots, continuous bonuses, and a starting bonus of 10,000 free coins.
    • Key features: Play 777 Slots offers a variety of Vegas slot machines with big jackpots and ongoing bonuses, starting players off with 10,000 free coins. It includes daily challenges and multiple levels for extra excitement. To create games like this, consider using professional slot game art services. These services help make games look good and keep players interested by providing high-quality, attractive designs that enhance the gaming experience.
    • Daily challenges, multiple levels, and progressive jackpot options.
  • 2

    New Slots 2024 on Jackpot Wins

    • Promises a fresh casino gaming experience with new slot games that include random wilds, free spins, and jackpot features.
    • Key features: festive themes, major and grand jackpots, and holiday-themed graphics.
  • 3

    Slotomania

    • A social casino game with a variety of slots and an emphasis on engaging and interactive gameplay.
    • Key features: Slotomania offers a social casino experience with a range of slot games, focusing on interactive gameplay. Players start with a bonus of 1,000,000 free coins and enjoy themed slot games with new ways to win. To see how Slotomania fits into current trends in the casino industry, check out the latest trends in the casino industry
    • 1,000,000 free coins welcome bonus, themed slot games, and new ways to win.
  • 4

    Caesars Slots

    • A variety of slot games and substantial daily rewards.
    • Key features: 1 Million coins welcome bonus, varied themed slots, and dynamic gameplay that evolves.
TOP of the best slots and casino video games

Factors Influencing Genre Popularity

Several factors influence the popularity of different video game genres, making some genres more popular than others at different times. Here are some key factors:

  1. As technology improves, new game genres become possible or more enjoyable. For example, better graphics and faster processors have made complex games like open-world RPGs and realistic shooters more immersive and fun to play.
  2. Popular culture, including movies and literature, can significantly affect which game genres are popular. For instance, the popularity of fantasy movies like “The Lord of the Rings” has contributed to the success of fantasy RPGs.
  3. Different age groups and backgrounds tend to prefer different types of games. Younger players might lean towards fast-paced action games, while older gamers might prefer strategy games that require thoughtful planning.
  4. Games that offer social interactions, like multiplayer online games, tend to be more popular because they allow friends to play together, compete, and communicate.
Why video games are so popular, what factors influence video games popularity

Cultural Trends

Cultural trends play a significant role in shaping the popularity of different video game genres. When movies, TV shows, or even popular book series capture public interest, they often inspire similar themes in video games, which can boost the popularity of certain genres. For example:

Influence of Popular Media: when a popular media series like the Fallout series is released, it often leads to an increase in sales not just for that specific game but also for similar games in the post-apocalyptic genre. This happens because the series grabs the attention of a wide audience, making more people interested in experiencing similar stories in their gaming.

Impact of Trending Themes: similarly, the Bioshock series, known for its deep narrative and unique setting, can influence the popularity of narrative-driven, dystopian games. When these games receive critical acclaim, it encourages other developers to explore similar themes, thus expanding the genre.

The most popular trends in video game genres, video game genres cultural trends

Costs and Monetization Factors

The popularity of game genres is also influenced by how much it costs to make the games and how games make money after they’re sold. Here’s how these factors work:

Game Development Cost: some types of games, like simple puzzle games or indie games, are cheaper to make because they might not need a lot of fancy graphics or huge teams. This makes it easier for more developers, including smaller or independent ones, to create and sell these games. On the other hand, big adventure or action games that need lots of high-quality graphics and long storylines can be very expensive to make. These costs can affect whether developers decide to make more games in a certain genre.

Consumer Preferences: what players like and are willing to spend money on also affects what kinds of games are made. If a lot of people are buying action games, more companies will make action games. Similarly, if players start to get interested in virtual reality games, more developers will start making those, even if they are expensive to develop.

Monetization Methods: how a game makes money is important too. Games that use in-game purchases, like buying outfits or special items, can keep making money long after they’re first sold. This can make some genres, like mobile games or multiplayer online games, more popular among developers because they can keep earning money from them.

Video game developing budget

Top Genres Popularity by Region

What is the most popular game in the world? Depends on what country/continent we’re talking about. Gaming has become a global phenomenon, with different regions favoring specific genres that reflect their unique cultural preferences and technological advancements. From action-packed adventures in North America to strategic mobile games in Asia, the variety in gaming reflects a diverse palette of interests. Let’s explore the top game studios in the world around the world and the leading studios driving these trends.

North America:

In North America, action and adventure games are top picks. People love big stories and exciting gameplay. Popular studios like Microsoft (Xbox Game Studios) and Electronic Arts (EA) are big names here. They make famous games like Halo and FIFA.

Europe:

Europeans enjoy a variety of genres, but the top game genres are role-playing games (RPGs) and action titles stand out. Studios like Ubisoft, known for Assassin’s Creed, and CD Projekt Red, famous for The Witcher series, are leaders in this region.

Asia:

In Asia, mobile games are a hit. RPG is their favorite video game genre, the other one is Strategy. Tencent Games leads with titles like PUBG Mobile, and Sony Interactive is known for polished games like God of War.

The most popular video game genres around the world

North America

  • 1

    Action Games (41%):

    Popularity factors: this genre's appeal often lies in its straightforward gameplay mechanics, which are easy to learn but difficult to master. The excitement and instant gratification of overcoming obstacles or defeating opponents resonate well with many players.

  • 2

    Action-Adventure Games (36%):

    Popularity factors: popular franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Assassin’s Creed have significantly influenced the prominence of this genre.

  • 3

    Adventure Games (34%):

    Popularity factors: adventure games are driven by storytelling and puzzle-solving rather than fast-paced action.

  • 4

    Casual Games (32%):

    Popularity factors: with the rise of mobile gaming, casual games have become increasingly popular, particularly among occasional gamers.

  • 5

    Strategy Games (30%):

    Popularity factors: strategy games require careful thinking and planning. Their appeal lies in the intellectual challenge and the satisfaction of devising and executing effective strategies. This genre is popular among players who enjoy control and complexity.

  • 6

    Shooters (29%):

    Popularity factors: titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield have cemented the genre's appeal with both narrative-driven single-player modes and robust multiplayer experiences.

  • 7

    Sports Games (26%):

    Popularity factors: their popularity is boosted by the strong cultural connection to sports in North America, such as football, basketball, and hockey, allowing fans to engage with their favorite sports interactively.

  • 8

    Role-Playing Games (RPG) (22%):

    Popularity factors: the success of franchises like Final Fantasy and Elder Scrolls shows the genre’s robust appeal.

  • 9

    Simulation and MMO Games (21% and 17% respectively):

    Popularity factors: these genres appeal to players interested in creating and managing lifelike scenarios or interacting in vast online worlds with thousands of other players. Simulation games can range from realistic flight simulators to whimsical farming games, while MMOs offer expansive adventures in persistent worlds.

What are the most popular video game genres in North America

Gaming in Europe

Gaming in Europe is a dynamic and diverse sector. As technology and digital infrastructure continue to evolve, European gamers enjoy a wide array of games.

Popular Game Genres in Europe:

  • 1

    Adventure and Role-Playing Games

    These games are immensely popular due to their narratives and complex character development which appeal to players looking for a deep and engaging experience.

  • 2

    Social and Casual Games

    With the rise of mobile and tablet gaming, these genres have seen significant growth. Social media and gaming are now closely tied together. These games are accessible, easy to play, and integrate well with social media platforms, making them popular among casual gamers.

  • 3

    Strategy and Simulation Games

    These genres attract players who enjoy tactical depth and complexity in their gaming sessions. The popularity of games like Civilization and various simulation games reflects this trend.

  • 4

    Sports Games

    Europe has a strong affinity for football (soccer), which is reflected in the popularity of sports simulation games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer.

What are the most popular video game genres in Europe

Most in-demand Game Genres in Asia

In Asia, the demand for video games is shaped by a mix of cultural preferences and technological access. Different regions have shown a strong inclination towards specific game genres, influencing the gaming landscape significantly.

In China, the gaming market is huge, reaching $45.5 billion in 2022 with predictions to grow further. The most popular game genre is Role-playing, accounting for 36% of the mobile gaming market. This interest extends to PC and consoles with role-playing games taking top spots again. Notably, mobile games are a massive hit, with a significant portion of revenue being generated from this platform.

In South Korea, role-playing games also dominate, reflecting a cultural penchant for immersive story-driven experiences. These games provide a virtual escape, allowing players to explore new worlds and live out fantasies, resonating deeply with gamers in Asia.

In the gaming landscape of Japan, there’s a noticeable tilt toward specific genres that align well with the preferences of Japanese gamers. Role-playing games stand out as the most dominant genre, which is not surprising given the deep cultural appreciation for storytelling and elaborate character development seen in Japanese media. For instance, in mobile gaming, RPGs command the largest share of interest at 36%. This is followed closely by puzzles at 34% and simulation games at 24%, reflecting a preference for strategic and thoughtful gameplay.

On consoles, the preference for RPGs is even stronger, with a substantial 46% of gamers leaning towards this genre. Adventure games come next at 35%, and simulation games follow at 32%, showing a trend towards immersive and expansive gaming experiences.

For PC gamers in Japan, RPGs still lead but with a lesser margin at 32%, followed by shooters at 23% and simulation games at 22%. This indicates a slightly more diverse range of interests among PC gamers, who may value the high-intensity gameplay offered by shooters along with the complex scenarios presented in simulation titles.

The popularity of these genres is also mirrored in sales figures. For example, top-selling games on platforms like the Nintendo Switch include RPGs such as Splatoon 3 and Dragon Quest: Awakening of the Five Tribes Offline, further underscoring the strong market for this genre.

What are the most popular video game genres in Asia

Other Regions

In Australia, the gaming market is quite diverse, reflecting a wide range of preferences among its players. According to recent findings, the most popular game genres include puzzles, action/adventure, strategy, sports, shooters, and card games. Among these, puzzles and action/adventure games hold a special place in the preferences of Australian gamers, indicating a trend towards games that either challenge the mind or immerse the player in expansive and engaging narratives.

The gaming market in Africa is on a robust growth trajectory, projected to expand from $2.14 billion in 2024 to $3.72 billion by 2029, showcasing a significant annual growth rate of 11.62%. This growth is driven primarily by the increasing internet connectivity and the widespread adoption of smartphones across the continent, facilitated by emerging 5G networks.

In terms of gaming preferences, mobile game market trends are the most popular, accounting for a significant portion of gaming activities due to their ease of access and lower costs compared to PC and console gaming. The popularity of mobile gaming is expected to continue growing, driven by the improvement of mobile technology and increased mobile data traffic, which are projected to enhance game playability, and mobile game profit and attract more users.

In February 2024, the gaming preferences in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, reflected a significant inclination towards mobile gaming. 

Popular mobile games in Latin America:

  1. Roblox
  2. Free Fire: The Chaos
  3. Coin Master and Candy Crush Saga
What are the most popular video game genres in other regions

Social and Community Aspects

Online communities and social interactions form the backbone of modern gaming culture, particularly within esports and competitive gaming. These elements have transformed gaming from a solitary activity into a global phenomenon.

Esports, or competitive gaming, is where players compete in organized gaming events, often for substantial prizes and recognition. It has grown with major tournaments now drawing audiences comparable to traditional sports events. 

Moreover, these gaming communities often revolve around various online platforms where players and fans can interact, share strategies, and celebrate gaming culture. This sense of belonging and shared passion for gaming is what keeps these communities continuously growing.

Video game genre community worldwide

Future of Video Game Genres

  1. VR technology is set to further revolutionize the gaming industry by providing even more immersive experiences. Future VR systems will likely offer even more realistic and engaging worlds, making genres like adventure games and RPGs even more enthralling.

  2. Augmented reality games will blend the real world with digital elements, offering new gameplay mechanics that could evolve traditional genres. Imagine playing a detective game where the clues are embedded in your real-world environment, or city-building games where you can see your structures overlaying actual cityscapes.

  3. AI could lead to smarter and more adaptive game environments, enhancing genres that rely heavily on strategy and role-playing. AI could enable dynamic storytelling, where the game’s narrative changes based on your decisions and interactions in real time.

  4. With the increasing power of mobile devices, more complex and varied game genres will become prevalent on mobile platforms. This includes traditionally PC-centric genres like grand strategy or complex simulation games, adapted for on-the-go play.

  5. The lines between different genres may continue to blur, leading to new hybrid genres. For example, we might see more games that combine elements of shoot ’em ups with puzzle mechanics, or narrative-driven games with complex strategic layers.

  6. Advances in technology will allow for games that adapt to the player’s style and preferences, offering a more personalized experience. This could mean RPGs that evolve based on your playing style or horror games that adapt to what you find scary.
What future video games will have, video games trends

Recap of Key Points

In conclusion, the world of video games is incredibly diverse and constantly evolving. Different types of games like action, adventure, role-playing, and strategy are popular video game genres in various parts of the world, influenced by local cultures, economic factors, and technological advancements. Online communities and competitive gaming also play a significant role in shaping the gaming experience, bringing players together, and creating vibrant discussions and interactions.

Looking ahead, the future of video games looks exciting with new technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence expected to transform how we play. These innovations will lead to even more immersive and interactive gaming experiences. As the industry grows, understanding these trends and influences will help us appreciate the changes in game popularity and anticipate what comes next in the gaming world.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about video game genres

The most popular genre of video games varies by platform and market trends, but typically, action and adventure games consistently rank at the top.

For younger players, games from the action, adventure, and role-playing genres are particularly popular, offering vibrant worlds and interactive stories. Older gamers often gravitate towards strategy, puzzle, and simulation games.

Indie games thrive in genres like platformers, visual novels, and roguelikes. These genres often allow for creative expression and innovative gameplay mechanics, attracting a dedicated following within the gaming community.