Top 12 Most Popular Video Games in the World 2019

Most Popular Games
Whatever your genre-- gather your friends and check out this cast of characters.

What are the most popular video games of today?

This list takes into account gamers from around the world-- what are they playing now? Several games within this article are on the rise in the world of eSports. If you’re new to the planet Earth or you’ve been off the grid for the past 10 years, eSports is the lucrative franchise of video game competitions sweeping the world. Gaining teams, new fans and skilled faces, eSports is the hottest thing since baseball.

12. Apex Legends

Apex Legends Gameplay

Like PUBG and Fortnite, this is a battle royale game, and one chooses a location from a bird’s eye view; unlike the parachute mechanic, which limits players by physics (curse you, Isaac Newton!), one team leader leads the charge… on jet packs. This mechanic allows for greater range, less wait time for those wanting to reach the far ends of the map and a more bad-assed visual appeal. Unlike the aforementioned games, this is a team-based royale: 60 players, divided into 20 squads of 3 people war through the ever-shrinking zones to win.

Another awesome thing: this game allows players to revive those within their squad. As long as one man remains standing, your team has a fighting chance. Respawn Entertainment marketed and released Apex the very same day: a week ago as of this moment. While there are many battle-royale games on the market now, few have the heart and soul like Legends. With being free to play, there is almost literally no excuse not to check it out while it is fresh and buggy!

Year Released: 2019
Total Copies Sold: At least 10 million downloads as of February 8.
Total Active players: There are 10 million already riding the wave and 600,000 concurrent players were on at peak.

What has rocketed Apex Legends onto this list?

  • Apex has become an overnight success story. Many Fortnite players have begun streaming Legends on their own channels. ESports is built on a healthy competitive spirit; this same enthusiasm for all things fresh and exciting might have some unpredictable effects. Respawn could not have released this game at a better time; that combined with the fickle nature of the gaming community have made Apex Legends the hottest new BR on the market.
  • Whether it is the familiar, intuitive controls, the fact that Apex is all over social media or the stunning graphic, it is difficult to say. Yet, it could be possible that the utter lack of advertising was a factor. Millenials in particular are tired of being promised the ultimate (fill in whatever), so the lack of expectation has allowed for a natural curiosity to do the work for the developers.
  • Familiarity breeds contentment; players of the Titanfall series have invested money, time and heart into the gameplay. With this audience, they have a chance to expand the franchise to people looking for more immediate challenges. With the same controls and high-tech, fancy-looking equipment, players can also be surprised by the fresh look and diverse cast of characters. In short, Respawn has taken something old and familiar and made it new and exciting. A true Cinderella story.


Take the Rainbow Bungee Express


Like music to my ears.

11. Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege Gameplay

This game is the pure embodiment of competition; each round, up to five players face off against another five to see who is the best. Depending on the side you take, you need to plant (or defuse) bombs, scope out areas for sniping and you must constantly be moving. Each map has a different layout that will force players to carefully consider their tactics. Attackers have access to different operators than Defenders, and everyone has a different ability; each operator affects strategy. It is all about wits and courage, who has the strongest will to succeed?

Rainbow Six Siege has its own eSports tournaments, pitting brother against sister (yes, girls play this, too) and nation against nation. Each season released brings new content such as operators, life-inspired maps and patches to improve gameplay. The game even has its own series of videos known as the R6 Academy that are meant to improve your skills.

Year Released: 2015
Total Copies Sold: It can be inferred that more than 40 million copies of the game have been sold, though no specific numbers are available.
Total Active Players: This game boasts over 40 million players.

What makes Rainbow Six Siege such a hot game?

  • The developers’ constant attention to improving the overall game has added value; players feel like they are getting more for their money with the continuous release of downloadable content, special event incentives and skins to customize their avatar’s appearance..
  • Unlike many games on the market, spending money on this game is completely optional. All maps are available upon installation of the game and the operators can be unlocked through gameplay or the in-game credits. To date, all Siege DLC has been free, increasing the rapport between developer and player. Behold the power of “free!”
  • This game has consistent and regular releases, adding thoughtful content to a well-established structure; these factors are not new.. What is unusual is the rate at which the developers of a first-person shooter release content. Four times a year, like clockwork, new agents and maps enter the field and players are forced to adapt their strategies. This constant change in game dynamics ignites a new spark of competition and the games begin again.


Overwhelm your enemies and claim victory.


Hold your gun like an Arctic gangster.

10. Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike Gameplay

Since the switch to a free-to-play model, Counter-Strike has become a popular first person shooter. You move through various maps, both developer and player made, each with their own tactical requirements. At the beginning of the game, you are limited to simple pistols, but as the game progresses, you have the ability to buy more weapons from in-game credits. You choose between the terrorists and the forces that work to stop them; your ultimate mission is to win a majority of the rounds.

CS: GO made several new marketing choices in December of last year, including their battle royale game mode called “Danger Zone.” That very same month, the game reported over 20 million users embracing the madness, proving a spike in popularity. One of the new features to this game is the ability to check a tablet for your enemies; it allows for a better feeling of control within a hectic situation.

Year Released: 2012
Total Copies Sold: As of 2016, the total copies sold was reported to be over 25 million.
Total Active Players: A typical day sees over 500 thousand players logging in, with the maximum number of concurrent players over 800 thousand.

Why is Counter Strike: Global Offensive so successful?

  • Too many action films and video games give up on realism in fight scenes and heists, showing instead what looks coolest and most impressive. CS: GO might lack in the huge explosions and buckets of blood, but something about the lifelike physics and split-second decision making truly hooks the extremely dedicated and competitive players.
  • Active, loyal players, some of whom have played since the launch of the very first Counter Strike, have made the series everything it is today. Despite, and perhaps because of, the simplicity of the game, Global Offensive appeals to young and old alike. With fierce eSports competitions and hefty incentives, this game continues to surprise the gaming community with its consistent numbers.
  • Implementing player feedback and responding favorably to criticism has helped keep this game afloat. Though it had a rough start, enough insistence from the players have helped shift the game into what it is now. It could be said that this feedback has given especially long-time players a feeling of contribution. In return, they were rewarded with sharper details, quicker game reaction times and overall game improvement. The relationship between developer and player has rarely been so well honored as it is with these changes.


Third-person footage from Counter Strike.


True game footage from Global Offensive.

9. Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V Gameplay

Begin your criminal career and mold it into a full-grown empire with every choice and every alliance made. Enjoy the single-player Campaign mode with a storyline playable by three different characters and the multiplayer mode that allows you to build your own crew. Plan out full-scale heists for huge payouts or rob a corner market to earn a quick buck. Fill your parking lot with the best cars of every color, customize them down to the floor mats and sell them off for a quick profit. This game is all about seizing opportunity and running the most successful criminal enterprise in Los Santos.

Planes, boats and automobiles-- the options for transportation are nearly endless. Just as many choices for gaining income exist, including deep-sea diving and trading in the stock market. In addition to the ability to create and edit videos, you can also add your own music to the in-game radio.

Year Released: 2013
Total Copies Sold: As of November, 2018, Rockstar reports over 95 million copies sold.
Total Active Players: As this is being written, according to SteamCharts, GTA boasts an average of just under 58 thousand players.

Why is Grand Theft Auto V so successful?

  • Something about the rush of committing crimes without repercussions gives people a rush; this is scientific, especially in the real world. Not only does it release endorphins and dopamine, but time spent terrorizing pixelated innocents and robbing imaginary banks keeps prospective criminals out of trouble. Why risk real prison time when there is a game designed to let crime pay?
  • The term “fantasy fulfilment” certainly fits within this game. From the base mundane things, such as watching television, taking a long drive just for that sake of scenery or folding yourself into yoga poses, this can break up and compliment those moments of high intensity. The freedom of monotony might seem small, but those “small” aspects make the scenes and the characters within more believable and relatable.
  • The freedom of choices and the ability to interact with the environment in a meaningful way is also a factor not to be overlooked. With intense attention to detail and the inclusion of GTA Online, number five became a lucky number for Rockstar. GTA V has become a compliment to games such as PUBG and Call of Duty, simply because many players choose these games for the violence alone, while providing some features the other two do not. Long story short: this game “fits in” with what people want.


Just some friendly paintball with local law enforcement…


When your younger brother steals your wheels...

8. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft Gameplay

To begin the World of Warcraft adventure is to fight through the fantastical world of Azeroth, gaining stronger abilities and equipment. With a dozen class choices, seven races each for both Alliance and Horde and several different crafting options, it is nearly impossible to produce the same character. The latest expansion pack allowed players to reach the level cap of 120, also giving them access to the incredible Mythic Keystone Dungeons. Play through missions and wander through the lands in PvE servers, or find others against whom to test your strength in PvP; the roleplaying community is also rather large within this game for those looking for a deeper story element.

This game contains several guilds with varying foci, including dungeon crawling, endgame content and roleplaying. Since 2008, WoW has had their own eSports tournaments, the winnings slowly increasing to an all-time high this year of $10,000. This popular MMO was based on the original PC game, Warcraft, from 1994.

Year Released: 2004
Total Copies Sold: From available statistics, it can be inferred that Blizzard has sold at least 20 million copies.
Total Active Players: As of 2015, Activision Blizzard reported 5.5 million subscribers.

What makes World of Warcraft so wondrous?

  • It popularized a previously obscure genre. Before WoW was released, the options for multiplayer were few, and they were not very advanced. The lack of space became stifling in many games on the market; Activision Blizzard changed this with their two large, open-world continents.
  • The world is big and getting even bigger with every expansion pack-- what started as two continents has exploded (in certain cases, literally). The concept of game expansion might not have been original, but World of Warcraft has certainly made it profitable for them. With each pack adding new varieties of gameplay, there comes a chance of gaining new players. With the freedom to play where and how you choose, it is easy for players to find something that attracts them.
  • The pay-to-play model encourages as much time spent as possible on developing your character. After all, that $15 per month could go to HBO or ad-free Hulu. Yet, with the hours that players invest in their avatars, it is difficult to let all that valuable effort go to waste.
  • It can be said that just having so many people in this game has encouraged a sense of lasting community. Whether it is a competitor driving you to improve personal gameplay, friends helping with crafting materials and a particularly difficult dungeon, or it is just the random humor through the general chat, one can usually find someone who either helps or inspires you. Humans are social creatures and we cannot help but be drawn to where people are.


Tame the beasts of the wild woods.


Time to go fishing.

7. Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online Gameplay

Within the ever-expanding world of Tamriel, new players are constantly discovering the joy and terror contained within this magical existence. Any armor, weapon or spell within this place is accessible to all characters, making character customization more in-depth than most games. Crafting things such as jewelry, levelling your character through either PvE or PvP and even hand-picking each piece of clothing allows players a sense of control while developing their character. Gain powerful skills, spells and equipment to keep Tamriel from being taken by Oblivion!

Each new expansion pack adds content, they also adds a depth of story; for example, the newest upcoming expansion brings the promise of dragons! While being a buy-to-play, this game has in-game purchase options for mounts, abilities and skins. While no eSports exist for this game, that has not dwindled its vast popularity.

Year Released: 2014
Total Copies Sold: According to the ESO website, over 8.5 million copies have been sold as of February, 2017.
Total Active Players: The developer, as of April 2018, reported 10 million active players.

Why is Elder Scrolls Online so beloved?

  • The switch to a buy-to-play model has some impact; the patches have also improved the quality of the game, allowing a near-dead release to flourish into something great. Though ESO started as a dud, the decision to drop the subscription model allowed new players to explore the changes made. Taking the feedback and applying it in a way that made sense for the game was a certain saving grace for this Elder Scrolls title.
  • Zones are not limited by character level; the beasts of Tamriel scale with your character. With this unusual feature, the freedom players have come to expect within their gaming experiences remains intact. The choices available to players seem to be an incredible motivation for exploring something new.
  • The beauty within the game itself brings its own mystical interpretations to well-established spells and abilities-- from the landscapes to the skills the players use, thought and detail are put into each frame. It is not enough to allow players freedom-- the game must also be interesting and unique. It must catch the eye and evoke emotion. ESO meets and exceeds these expectations.


Build your avatar from scratch, right down to body proportions.


Several dungeons have formidable bosses, so it is wise to find allies where you can.

6. Call of Duty Franchise

Call of Duty Gameplay

You begin, regardless of game mode and which release, with a clear objective in the middle of a war zone. With many different story lines (and, in some games, even contradicting facts), they all share one thing in common: the seek and destroy mechanic. Whether you are fighting Nazi zombies or futuristic ninjas, the reliable gameplay and ease of use has endeared this series to the public.

With the release of the first CoD, Activision seemed to have a psychic sense that this franchise would blow up in the best possible way. When the world of multiplayer games was niche, the developers took painstaking efforts to make it an expected feature from the very first release. With a long-lasting fan base that has only grown more loyal with each version, Call of Duty may have sealed its place on this list permanently.

Year Released: 2003
Total Copies Sold: It is estimated over 250 million copies have been sold in the Call of Duty franchise as of February 2016.
Total Active Players: On Steam, the number has reached over 17 million users as this article is written, but it is seemingly impossible to get complete numbers.

What makes Call of Duty so amazing?

  • The developers know their audience and use this to their advantage-- including the consistent inclusion of intuitive matching lobbies. This game has integrated voice chat for a long time, allowing players to heckle or encourage one another from the moment a server is made. For some players, most of their friendships and close bonds have formed from these simple beginnings, and so many feel a sense of loyalty through these interactions.
  • The loot boxes and potential rewards inherently get many people hooked. It is essentially a gamble to get something worthwhile, or just another skin for your gun. Many people have even fallen victim to the addictive qualities of these video games, sometimes to financial detriment. That being said, there is nothing wrong with these games in moderation.
  • Players are able to challenge themselves and each other with this game’s simplistic yet difficult to master split-second controls. This competition inherently draws an audience: you have just a few more kills to earn second place, and just a few after that to reach first. This surge of adrenaline and endorphins is frequent and causes ten minutes to turn into an hour.


Make sure the quarantine stays in effect.


Assist your team with the killing.

5. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Gameplay

The battle royale begins on an airplane and you are required to parachute into the killing fields. Out of the 100 players, a quick half of those are eliminated minutes after people land. Five minutes into the game begins the first restriction of zone space and every five minutes after, the area gets even smaller. With tactical gadgets and tools, even the noob with decent reflexes has a chance to win. You fight until eliminated or until you are the last man standing.

The emotional roller coaster within the game itself is half of its appeal; after all, people watch drama and ride literal roller coasters for the rush of fear and excitement (and maybe a little pee). An international presence certainly doesn’t hurt their numbers; countries such as China and the U.K. seem to have a particular fondness for this battle royale. PUBG seems to be one of the fastest-growing games on the market and if they play their cards right, they might remain.

Year Released: 2017
Total Copies Sold: 50 million copies have been sold on XBox and PC.
Total Active Players: 400 million players weave and bob throughout this game.

What makes PUBG great?

  • The different mode of marketing for this game has a huge impact. Instead of releasing leaks and details through trailers,the game was put into the hands of gaming streamers on Twitch. Why was this effective? It gave players a better sense of how the game was played; instead of witnessing a dozen cutscenes with a few brief gameplay moments, viewers were drawn in as though they were playing the game themselves. This clairvoyant method of vending had millions eating out of the developers’ hands in no time flat.
  • From the emotional turmoil of choosing your starting point all the way down to those final, heart-clenching moments, the adrenaline surge and competitive desire to do better drive players through hours of battle royale madness.
  • Every aspect of this game carries with it an illusory sense of control. The weapons you use, the attachments you equip, how long you stay hidden and even where your avatar drops, players are allowed moments of imaginary control… until that fated gunshot and you see your avatar fall. When you die, there is more of a drive to improve your rank; failure begets the fire to succeed.


Once upon a time, in a far-off forest…


Never come between a farmer and his food…

4. Defense of the Ancients 2

Defense of the Ancients 2 Gameplay

To begin, you choose from the hundreds of other characters available, each with unique tactical abilities. From there, you are both defending your side and attacking the opposition. Each player has four layers of protection in the form of towers; the towers defend your ancient, the main target throughout the game. Once the ancient of one side is defeated, the game is over and a winner is declared.

Some of the most fierce eSports competitors fight to maintain their ranks within this game, yet the openness to new players is one reason it is such a fast-growing game. Despite its simplicity, the subtle variations between all of the champions, including adaptations made throughout the patches, makes every match a new learning experience. If you are determined to become proficient with this strategic game, many hours and much research will need to be done, but anyone has a chance to earn a suitable rank.

Release Year: 2013
Total Copies Sold: There are no current statistics on the number of copies sold and the numbers a merely a guess at this point.
Total Active Players: It is estimated that DOTA 2 gains 100 million or more players per year-- meaning they may have well over 500 millions copies sold.

Why is DOTA 2 so incredible?

  • One factor in this game’s popularity is that, despite how it looks, it is an in-depth and challenging game, mechanically speaking. There is always a new obstacle to overcome. There are always new heights to reach. Competition and the chance to be the best at such a wildly popular game-- the status and respect being number one can earn, are often huge motivators.
  • As mentioned before, individuals tend to be drawn to large crowds; the more attention paid to DOTA 2, the larger it is likely to become. With marketing, word of mouth and the ever-growing prize pool of their eSports, it is possible DOTA’s success will only grow.
  • Even if you don’t play DOTA 2, pay that no mind because being a spectator can be just as fun-- perhaps it will be more so if one is not familiar with the game. With the rise of eSports, the potential entertainment provided to viewers should be considered an important factor. Can a basketball player shoot lightning? Can a swimmer slow his opponents by turning the water to ice? The answer (at least in this version of the multiverse) is no; but these avatars can. The appeal to eSports is that anything is possible.


Dancing in a ring of fire…


Dive deep into the shadows.

3. FIFA Series

FIFA 18 Gameplay

You choose your favorite team and your favorite players from around the world. From there, you dribble, intercept and shoot goals as any real-life soccer game with an amazing bird’s eye view, in incredible detail. Once the time is up and a winner is declared, the game is over.

Along with such titles as Madden NFL, released two years later, developers have long aspired to provide video games that match the entertainment inherent in sporting events and the fandom that “real” sports have acquired. Thanks to technology, a clockwork schedule and many marketing options, they might be closer to this goal than ever before. It is safe to say that if you like soccer and video games, this will likely be a game for you.

Year Released: 1993
Total Copies Sold: 260 million copies sold over the course of the franchise.
Total Active Players: In 2017, EA reported over 42 million players.

Why is FIFA so successful?

  • The regular, annual releases of each version allow fans to build expectations and have them met. This series of met expectations can be comparable to the annual release of television shows and sporting events. When fans are allowed a sense of comfort and reliability, they often come back begging for more.
  • Soccer (or “football” in some places) has a huge international fan base and these games ride that wave. The demographics of those who watch sports and those who play video games are noticeably similar; there isn’t much of a leap between the two. Nostalgia, adrenaline and an inherent need to belong are definite factors to FIFA’s longevity.
  • The variety of choices, the freedom to choose any player from any team, are exciting to the fans. As an international sport, the target audience spans the entire globe. Between the choices in single-player mode and the option to delve into multiplayer game mode, no two matches are ever the same.


FIFA 14-- Brazil


FIFA 19 Preview

2. League of Legends

League of Legends Gameplay

Choose your champion, charge down your individual lane and wipe out your enemy’s nexus in either single- or multiplayer mode. Similar in some respects to DOTA 2, this is a game about strategy and battle management. With skills to improve your Champions, you can steadily progress through the game and earn your place among the hardest hitters.

This is what one might consider a Strategic RPG; with elements from both real-time strategy and RPGs, the new mixture of both has attracted the attention of many. With nearly countless options, there is always a way to crush your enemies. With each shift and patch that affects the underlying game play, there is always something new to earn on League.

Year Released: 2009
Total Copies Sold: It is safe to say that LoL has sold well over 100 million copies, however the numbers on this are unclear
Total Active Players: As of 2016, Riot reported 100 million monthly players.

What makes LoL so popular?

  • League has surprisingly quick matches compared to many MMOs on the market. A majority of games last 20 minutes; very few span over an hour. With the average match being 35 minutes, it is appealing for a “pick up and play” kind of atmosphere.
  • The rising eSports tournaments draw in quite the crowd; whether they are new competitors or spectators, many people find this game enthralling. ESports are an ever-growing phenomena that pits the best against the best. With all the options available, it is becoming increasingly similar to active sports such as football, basketball and soccer. League of Legends has become a frontrunner in this category, thereby adding to its appeal.
  • It might be said that a combination of factors, including the free-to-play model, is contributing to the game’s success. Riding on the market of the expanding Valve gaming company was one factor. Like investing in a stock, nobody truly knew at the time how epically successful the pairing would be. Whether it was luck, a random stroke of genius or an Illuminati plot, nobody can say. What is certain is the that Legends has fallen into a “league” of its own.


Engage in the intense battles that rage.


Immerse yourself in epic graphics.

1. Fortnite

Fortnite Gameplay

Like a few battle royale games on the market, you choose your starting zone from the giant party bus in the sky. From there, you have two minutes before the zone begins to shrink. Find equipment, metal, stone and wood, the latter three of which are used to build things such as walls and stairs. Gain advantage over your enemies with the coolest weapons, keep moving to avoid falling outside the”eye of the storm” and be the last man standing.

The bright colors and cartoonish style of the game is possibly one of the most attractive aspects of the game. The oversized weapons, the eye-catching landscapes and the whimsy of building through the air have certainly become Fortnite’s trademark. The art and style of the game was inspired by things like Looney Toons, Tim Burton and even Pixar, allowing for an exaggerated and ethereal feeling.

Year Released: 2017
Total Copies Sold: 200 million copies were sold as of November, 2018.
Total Active Players: 78.3 million monthly users were reported by developers in November 2018.

What makes Fortnite number one?

  • The innovative building feature is intuitive and quick, making its use in battle an amazing asset. In fact, those who build typically have huge advantages over players who don’t. Several battles end with towers that can tell a story of the epic violence; this ability to control and affect a player’s environment is one of the most enjoyable parts of playing.
  • Though many games aspire to the popularity and rapid growth of Fortnite, few can match its brilliance. With several aspects of the game encouraging collaboration, right down to the reactions to the weekly releases, both veteran and new players are allowed a sense of both inclusion and mystery. In addition, there are several elements of gameplay that spike a player’s adrenaline: the close sound of gunfire, the whistle of an approaching missile or simply seeing a massive brawl ensue before you… it is all heart-wrenching.
  • Never underestimate the power of “free” and the accessibility it grants to players. Nearly anyone can play this game: it is available on PC, console and even mobile devices. Despite the lack of up-front cost, over 68% of players spend some amount of money for healthy advantages. Epic Games encourage this behavior through their collaboration and consistent updates.
  • The beauty and whimsical nature of the battlefield is truly a marvel to behold. From the randomly generated avatars down to the fire hydrants, the world was built to attract attention. Utilizing inherent nostalgia from television and the dance floor, this game is even drawing in parents.


Get down and boogie.


Blow the competition away.

You may also be interested in:

The 11 Most Popular FPS Games in 2017 and 2018
A Look at Dota 2’s Prize Pools Since Its First “The International”
How League of Legends Has Changed Through Its Successes

Ejected from the Feywilds for never partying hard enough, Caldwell is an observer of the human condition. Where weirdness goes, he will follow; do you know the crossroads to the Abyss? -Clan Malkavian
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Fallout 4
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