"What are the most popular games in the world?” This is a much harder question than it may seem. In the past, we would have compared sales results to find an accurate answer, and that would be it. It's no longer a viable method, though. Among the most popular games in the world, there are console, computer, and mobile games, free or online, the sales of which are distributed over many years. That the game sold like hot cakes eigth years ago, doesn't mean it's still the case. The creators are often reluctant to share accurate data.
Still, we decided to name a dozen titles that can be considered the most popular games of recent times. Since the data on which we based the ranking were quite different – sometimes it was the number of downloads, sometimes – registered accounts, in other cases the maximum number of concurrent players – we are not listing these games in any particular order. But they all are played by countless legions of people.
Before you start reading about how many people are playing various popular games, we would like to throw a few figures at you – just to give you a sense of the scale.
- 92,268 – this this is the record figure for concurrent players for the Witcher 3 on Steam.
- 8,398,748 – the population of New York City.
- 38,430,000 – the population of Poland.
- 90,000,000 – number of unique users of Steam – for each month of 2018!
- 110,000,000 – about this many copies of GTA 5 hit store shelves around the world – about a quarter of the population of the USA.
- 151,600,000 – number of Netflix subscribers in Q2 2019.
How many players?
1 billion app downloads as of April 2019
In 2015, the mobile Pokémon were mostly a thing for the most devoted Nintendo fans. A year later, a wave of poke-craze made almost everyone with a smartfon go hunting for their own Pikachu. The relatively simple, and, in addition, full of technical shortcomings, application from Niantic is based on the use of GPS, and – to some extent – of augmented reality, and it stormed the whole world. Suddenly, it turned out that we all suppressed the need to "travel across the land, Searching far and wide (...) to understand the power that's inside" for years.
Pokémon Go within three months of the app's debut, in May 2016 it was already downloaded by half a billion people. Until February 2019, this figure was doubled. We can fully appreciate the astronomical scale of the game's success when we compare the sales with the number of the world's population – in 2018, it was 7.6 billion people. More than one in eight of Earth's inhabitants played Pokemon Go.
The biggest rage for the game happened in the first months of its life cycle. Over time, the monotonous pursuit of creatures and their painstaking preparation tired most players out. Today, we rarely see people hunting these creatures at every corner. But they're still out there, of course. Subsequent updates and improvements to Pokemon Go were enough to keep some players – the fanbase – though much smaller than at the beginning, it was still huge – the latest data comes from may 2018 and talk about 147 million active users per month.
In the case of Pokemon Go we have some reservations. First of all, the number of downloads is not the best way to measure popularity. First of all, many players could have download the game more than once, if only because they changed the phone or restored it to factory settings. Secondly, this number says nothing about how many people are still playing and whether they do it regularly. But it's still hard to have doubts about one thing – Pokemon Go is definitely a phenomenon.
- Learn more about playing Pokemon GO