Although video games are often lumped together in the mainstream press, there are significant differences in the kinds of videogames you can play these days.
As more and more games are developed and released to suit changing consumer tastes, new genres and sub-genres of videogames are emerging all the time. As a result, the videogame landscape is constantly changing to reflect the shifting tastes and preferences of players.
It should also be noted that there has increasingly been a degree of hybridisation going on with videogame genres. As game developers experiment with cross-overs between different types of games, the main genres have started to overlap. For this reason, the traditional genre labels of action games or sport games have become less useful.
With all that said, when it comes to identifying what the most popular game types are among gamers today, it can often be difficult to figure out how best to categorise them.
Notwithstanding this difficulty, however, with industry polling we can get a sense of the playing preferences of the average UK gamer, and perhaps most importantly, what the most popular video game types are.
Simulation and sports
Given the prominence of sports within the UK, it comes as no surprise that sports videogames are so popular.
Sports games have increased in popularity in recent years, thanks primarily to technological innovations that make gameplay more realistic. This creates a more immersive playing experience, which has boosted the popularity of sports games even though the popularity of real-life sports has remained relatively stable over the last few years.
Sports games have also increasingly added simulation and world-building elements, which allow you to manage your favourite sports teams in a virtual world.
The most popular sports games in a country tend to match whatever the most popular sport in that region is. In the UK, for example, the FIFA games tend to reign supreme above all others.
Often referred to as the hidden video game genre, casino games are among the most popular game types in the UK.
Within the casino industry, the last two decades have seen a substantial shift in the playing preferences of gamers, who have gradually shifted away from land-based, physical casinos to an increasingly digital environment.
Casino games generate a huge amount of revenue for the gaming industry as a whole and tend to attract players from all demographics.
Of all the game types available, slot games tend to be some of the most popular, although traditional card games such as blackjack and poker also have a strong following.
Players are drawn to this genre because it offers a gaming experience that is easy to access and much more casual in nature. Online casino games can typically be booted up within seconds of launching the app and are the perfect way to spend any few minutes that you have free. This easy-going, casual nature has made them a sleeper hit with fans.
FPS and TPS games
When you think of online multiplayer games, the first image that will pop into your head will likely be a first-person shooter game.
The shooter genre is one of the longest-standing game types, dating back to the earliest console games. These have branched out into first-person (FPS) and third-person (TPS) games, with both being equally popular among fans.
FPS and TPS games are particularly popular in an online setting because they are fast paced and action packed, and perfectly suited to a competitive online environment. For this reason, both FPS and TPS games have proved popular in the world of professional gaming, with high-profile tournaments held each year.
Some of the most popular FPS and TPS games are the well-established Call of Duty and Counterstrike franchises, as well as newer entrants including Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
Although a much newer genre than those mentioned above, the multiplayer online battle arena game type has exploded in popularity in recent years.
MOBA games blend elements of action, strategy and role-playing games to create an immersive playing experience that is high on action and competitiveness.
They provide top-down perspective to the player, who controls the action as a commander would on the battlefield. They typically involve real-time competition between players, with each vying to be the winner.
MOBA games are particularly popular in the professional multiplayer world, with Dota 2 and League of Legends being the most popular games. In fact, MOBA games are so popular that professional tournaments often draw in-person crowds that number in the tens of thousands.