While there’s been no shortage of games released over the past few years, you might be surprised to learn that majority of the most played games in 2021 are actually much older. Here we’re recapping the top 10, which we’ve based on data provided by publishers/developers, as well as various analytics sites.
While some longtime family favorites are still popular, violent video games like online multiplayer shooters are also dominant, which could be concerning for parents. That’s why each video game comes with an age and content rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, making it crucial for parents to educate themselves about these ratings, so they can decide which video games are appropriate for their child.
“Video games get a lot of scrutiny, but parents should also keep in mind the other places their kids might be exposed to violence like movies, TV, and the Internet. At the end of the day, parents have to make a call when it comes to their kids and violent video games,” says Umang Jain, co-founder of the ed tech gaming company SplashLearn.
Then what is the most played game 2021?
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
This first-person shooter game published by Activision is the 16th overall in the Call of Duty series. It came out in October 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The storyline follows a CIA officer and British forces who team up to try to save the fictional country of Urzikstan from invasion.
Love or hate Fortnite, it surely has to go down as among the most important video games ever made. Epic Games’ battle royale game has totally recalibrated what it means to build and support a successful “live” service-style video game.
Fortnite is a constantly shifting entity, remolding itself with different features and gimmicks as new trends emerge. It’s essentially a new game every month thanks to its battle pass content, and it’s also managed to embed itself into pop-culture by collaborating with musicians and celebrity figureheads to stay relevant.
This basketball simulation game, based on the National Basketball Association, is published by 2K Sports. It’s the 21st installment in the NBA 2K franchise, after (you guessed it) NBA 2K19.
The game came out in November 2019 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
PUBG is a very realistic online multiplayer battle royale game and is presently the most popular online games as well as most played in the world. This game is so unpredictable such that no two matches are alike, and thus has taken the internet with fire.
It is a player versus player shooting game in which up to a hundred players fight in a battle royale, a kind of large-scale last man standing deathmatch where players fight to remain alive till the end of the match.
At the end of each round, players gain in-game currency based on their performance, like silver fragments or gold coins. The currency is used to purchase military crates that contain cosmetic items, dressing attires for character or weapon customization.
Players can decide to enter a match solo, duo, or with a small team of up to four people. The last surviving player or team alive wins the match. It can be played both on a computer or mobile.
5. League of Legends
Earlier in this list, we cited DOTA 2’s continued popularity as proof that the MOBA genre is far from dead, but League of Legends’ numbers completely blow those out of the water. According to Riot Games, almost each and every single day, League of Legends is played by around 8 million people.
That is totally bonkers, and probably should see it top this list based purely on consistency, but we’ve set the metric as peak concurrent so we’ll resist the temptation…
Once again, a strong esports scene has helped League of Legends to hold onto its community, which routinely turn up in the millions to watch competitive tournaments online. The League of Legends World Championships 2019 broke Twitch’s concurrent viewership records with 1.7 million watching FunPlus Phoenix crush G2 Esports.
6. Apex Legends
Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It is a multiplayer mode game and is in its fourth season. In this game, up to 20 three-person squads land on an island and search for weapons and supplies to try to defeat all the other players in combat.
Each player has to keep moving to avoid being caught outside the play area. The last team alive wins the particular round. Apex Legends is set in the same science-fiction universe as Respawn Entertainment’sTitanfall and Titanfall 2. It is considered a worthy competitor to Fornite Battle Royale Play, a similar game that gained popularity last year.
7. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
This action-adventure game published by Electronic Arts came out for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in November 2019. The game takes place in the universe of Star Wars, following Jedi Padawan as he tries to complete his Jedi training and restore the Jedi Order — while action ensues. Fallen Order was the fastest-selling digital launch for any Star Wars game in its first two weeks on the market.
It’s likely that up until only fairly recently the majority of our readers wouldn’t have heard of one of the world’s most-played video games. Crossfire, a Counter-Strike clone, is an absolute beast over in Korea, and it’s set to make its mark over in the west soon.
Korean developer Smilegate Entertainment has recently struck a deal with Microsoft that’ll see a new version of the game called Crossfire X come to Microsoft platforms exclusively in 2021.
Quite whether that sequel will see the same concurrent figures, though, we’re not sure. It really would depend on whether the next iteration of the game sees a worldwide launch or whether it’s something being prepared specifically for the western market.
9. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
It is an objective-based multiplayer first-person shooter video game and is the fourth game in the Counter-strike series. It can be played both online and offline. The game contains two teams playing against each other: the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. Both sides have the aim to eliminate the other, along with completing separate missions. Terrorists’ Terrorists’ goal is to secure a location to plant a bomb and held hostages.
In contrast, Counter-Terrorists have to either prevent weapons from being planted or defuse it and rescue the hostages. At the end of each round, players are rewarded based on their performance in the form of game currency, which can be used to spend on other weapons or utility for the next rounds. Winning rounds rewards more money than losing does.
Completing objectives gives cash bonuses, and uncooperative actions like killing teammates result in a penalty. Professional competition like tournaments with prize pools is also held by the third party organizations and Valve cooperation.
10. Counter-Strike: GO
Counter-Strike: GO is the FPS that just won’t quit. April 2020 saw its highest-ever concurrent player numbers, topping 1.3 million. Not only is that a hugely impressive figure on its own, but the game been cranking out this sort of performance for eight years.
A strong esports presence and the brand-power of a franchise that’s been around since the late 1990s has kept CS: GO ahead of newer releases. The game remains especially in Europe, with countries like Russia contributing massively to the overall size of the active community.