What’s the Most Popular Game Around the World?
Whilst watching an Age of Empires streamer recently, I was interested to hear that the audience on the channel was primarily people living in two countries; the US and Germany.
Two countries, across two continents far apart from one another, speaking two different primary languages, in hugely differing timezones, with fairly unique cultures. Yet both — on a small scale at least — appear to share a mutual love for a very specific game (and in this case, a specific streamer, T90, that commonly does fun streams talking about low-level Age of Empires 2 strategy).
I wondered…are there other countries that share a passion for games that other places and cultures don’t?
There was only one way to answer this question: a totally unnecessary amount of research, data analysis and design.
I made it my mission to find out the most popular video game in every country on the planet.
Check out my findings below. Click to enlarge each image.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that the map is dominated by Minecraft, which is currently the most popular game in the world, but there are some interesting exceptions when you dig into specific continents.
Those interesting exceptions mainly fall outside of The Americas and Europe, though – as Minecraft is the most played game in the world – going as far as dominating entire continents, which we honestly didn’t expect.
Look at Africa, for example. Minecraft is almost nowhere to be seen — compared to its dominance shown above, at least.
Asia still retains a large Minecraft following, though we see more variation and a bigger preference for games developed within Asia.
Not much to see in Oceania, though…
I knew Minecraft was popular, but I had no idea it would be the most popular game in literally every state.
That one didn’t end up being as interesting as I’d hoped, but then again…it is kinda interesting, huh?
Minecraft comes out ahead of Fortnite, GTA V, Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Warzone in the US.
Also read: How to Get Better at Fortnite.
The comparisons between the most popular games get most interesting when we compare the Western World with the likes of Asia and Africa.
Genshin Impact came out on top as the most popular game in China. League of Legends was second, with Minecraft just behind in third. The list was rounded up with GTA V and Dota 2.
The likes of League of Legends and Dota 2 hardly make the top 5 of any other country in the world, despite their unbelievable popularity here.
And in India, things are quite different again:
In what might seem surprising to those in the US or Europe, PUBG is by far the most popular game in India according to our rankings.
PUBG was also the most popular game in 20 other countries, though not a single one of those was in North America, South America or Europe.
Things in the UK look quite similar to that of the US, which perhaps isn’t all that surprising:
The only difference between the UK and the US is that FIFA 21 replaces Genshin Impact, making it into third place in the country’s most popular games list.
As for Canada…
Canada’s top 5 list is identical to the US, with the only difference being the specific popularity scores of each game. Minecraft is more popular, relative to other games, in Canada.
Moving ‘down under’, Australia’s list is a mix of the US and the UK, with Genshin Impact and FIFA 21 both making the top 5 and Warzone narrowly missing out.
Hopping back across the world, Japan again highlights the gaming culture difference between Asia and The Americas and Europe.
Here, Fortnite comes out as slightly more popular than Minecraft. But that’s not too different when compared to the rest of the world.
What’s interesting about Japan is their 3rd, 4th and 5th most popular games; Genshin Impact, Apex Legends and League of Legends. This is quite a difference when compared to the vast majority of countries in the west.
Finally, we’ll take a look at Mexico’s top 5:
No real surprises here. Similar to the US, UK and Australia, but with Genshin Impact missing out this time in favor of FIFA 21 and Warzone.
This for-fun experiment used a two-step process to identify the most popular games around the world.
The first step relied on streaming data — the number of people watching games on streaming services — and the second relied on Google search data.
By using different sources in a two-step process, it meant we had a more varied judgement of overall ‘popularity’ that didn’t just look at sales data, which wouldn’t be very good at identifying games that were released a long time ago but are still popular, or games that are free.
The first thing we did was compile the 21 most-viewed games on live streams across Twitch and YouTube. Why 21? Well, why any other number? It was arbitrary but felt like enough.
We compiled the list twice, once in the morning and once at night, of streaming viewership on a random day early in May 2021. Pulling the figures twice helped us to account for varying time zones.
We excluded games if they only made the final list of 21 due to one large streamer playing a game as a one-off, with very little viewership in the game outside of that particular stream.
Our final list was, in no particular order: League of Legends, Grand Theft Auto V, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), FIFA 21, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, PUBG, Escape From Tarkov, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Sig Siege, Rocket League, Overwatch, Genshin Impact, NBA 2K21, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Valheim.
We then used the Google Trends API to run the list of our final 21 games across (almost) every country in the world. As the Trends API only allows 5 comparisons at a time, we used a single comparison term that remained in all searches to help us identify the most popular games by country. We then manually checked the Google Trends page — yes, for every country — to ensure figures were correct.
After streaming viewership defined our shortlist of games to choose from, Google search demand determined our popularity score. We used the average search demand over the last 90 days to ensure the data was up-to-date but also stretched far enough back to account for random popularity spikes.
Data was gathered in mid-May 2021.
Most importantly, this is just a bit of fun. When it comes to which game is played the most or has made the most money — two other good ways to identify the most popular game — well…we’ll leave that to someone else to work out.
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We welcome websites and journalists to share, re-use and repurpose our findings and images in any way you see fit. The only thing we ask is that you credit DiamondLobby.com with proper attribution so that we’re recognized fairly for our work.
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