Most popular games in 2021 are likely to have been around for a long time, even though there have been many new releases in recent years. Data from publishers/developers and numerous analytics sites were used to compile our list of the top 10.
Despite having a greater concurrent player count than Apex Legends, Valheim has been omitted from this list since the Apex stats do not include console gamers, and Valheim's current concurrent player count is below 100,000.
10. Apex Legends – 228,439 (Steam)
Apex Legends' stealth fell out of nowhere and quickly took over the battle royale genre. It demonstrated the ideal combination of exciting gameplay, AAA production quality, and a free-to-play business model, momentarily dethroning Fortnite and PUBG as the most played and viewed multiplayer games, respectively.
Although the numbers have decreased somewhat since the game's inaugural month, which saw a record 2 million concurrent players, despite the odd fall, its community has remained very sizable. Apex has effectively muscled its way into the genre and cemented its position for the foreseeable future.
Apex Legends has reached a peak of 228,439 players on Steam alone in 2021. With console figures included, we wouldn't be shocked if the total tipped the million mark on a good day.
9. PUBG – 458,778
PUBG, the game that sparked a craze that transformed the online gaming environment over the last four years, continues to attract a sizable following despite the battle royale genre becoming oversaturated with imitation titles.
Notably, it was cloned and subsequently surpassed by Epic Games' Fortnite. Due to PUBG's premium pricing and its slowness in coming on consoles, it immediately fell behind as Fortnite gained traction.
While PUBG no longer reigns supreme in the battle royale genre, it continues to provide a tactical military simulation experience unmatched by other games in the category. This, combined with the fact that its mobile version is also incredibly popular (numbers not included in the aforementioned statistic), should ensure that PUBG's community survives until 2021. PUBG's peak concurrent player count in 2021 has so far reached 458,778.
8. Dota 2 – 648,875
A long-held belief is that the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre is disappearing. While it is true that MOBA games are not growing at the same rate as they previously did, do not believe for a moment that they are not still extremely popular.
DOTA 2, the successor to the genre's forefather, continues to dominate the majority of the competition. It has consistently approached and occasionally exceeded a million continuous players over the last 12 months, despite being over a decade old. The 801, 121 figure used in this ranking is from April 2020.
As with CS: GO, its esports presence has fostered a devoted community of players who are not in a rush to move on to another IP. DOTA 2 is also making waves in the east, notably in China, where a sizable portion of its player population resides.
7. New World – 913,634
Amazon's initial entry into AAA MMORPGs, with the debut of New World in September, was a spectacular success. With high production values and a decent fighting system that seems extremely Souls-inspired, New World looks and plays very much like a 'next-gen' MMORPG, even if its concept isn't very new.
It was undeniably popular, with a player population that ballooned to tremendous proportions in the days after its introduction — or as much as the servers could manage, at any rate! At its height, approximately 1 million people were concurrently playing New World, propelling it to number four on our list.
6. Counter-Strike: GO – 1.2 Million
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the first-person shooter that refuses to die. April 2020 marked the largest concurrent player count in the game's history, surpassing 1.3 million. Not only is it a staggering sum on its own, but the game has been putting up numbers like this for eight years. Thus far this year, CS:GO has reached a high of 1,198,581.
CS: GO has remained ahead of recent releases due to a strong esports presence and the brand strength of a series that dates all the way back to the late 1990s. The game continues to thrive in Europe, with nations such as Russia significantly adding to the overall size of the active population.
5. Minecraft – 1.4 Million+
Minecraft is an unstoppable juggernaut, although we'll admit that we're significantly exaggerating our given stat here.
Technically, our data indicates that Minecraft should be ranked lower than Apex Legends. The point is, even though we only have statistics from 2015, we can say with certainty that Minecraft's user base has grown enormously over the last four years. You need simply look at its monthly active users (MAU) to see this.
To offer context for why we've elevated Minecraft in the absence of a more recent concurrent number, DOTA 2 had an estimated MAU of 11.9 million at the start of 2019. Minecraft boasts a tenfold increase in that number.
Our 1.4 million concurrent users figure comes from a 2015 Polygon article, when Minecraft's MAU was thought to be less than 40 million. It is not implausible that Minecraft now sees over three times that number of concurrent users on occasion.
Roblox's popularity has exploded to about 4 million users since its inception in 2006, particularly in the last five years or so. In 2016, CEO David Baszuski joyfully announced 700,000 continuous gamers and predicted the 1 million mark was not far away. Fast forward to 2020, when Roblox's 7th Annual Bloxy Awards attracted an incredible 4 million concurrent viewers in-game.
While the novelty of the event distorts the concurrent tally for the sake of this article, we are certain that Roblox deserves to be ranked fourth. Indeed, our understanding is that Roblox often sees over 1 million concurrent users throughout the year, even when big events are not taking place.
3. Crossfire – 8 Million
It's probable that the majority of our readers have never heard of one of the world's most popular video games. Crossfire, a Counter-Strike clone, is a monster in Korea and is about to make a splash in the west.
Smilegate Entertainment, a Korean developer, has inked a partnership with Microsoft to bring a new edition of the game dubbed Crossfire X to Microsoft platforms only in 2021.
We're not certain whether the sequel will feature the same concurrent stats. It truly depends on if the next generation of the game is released globally or whether anything is being developed exclusively for the western market.
It surely has a lot to live up to if it wishes to meet Smilegate's 8 million concurrent gamers claim. That is a statistic that has been pushed for a number of years, however, and as a result, the game's current community size is rather ambiguous.
2. Penalty Kick Online
With Penalty Kick Online, you may immediately immerse yourself in the action of a penalty shootout. Overcome obstacles, assume the position of kicker, or defend. Score goals and get the world's most coveted trophy! Swipe your finger over the screen to see the ball land directly beside the defender. Flick your finger to the side to control the ball's flight. Additionally, influencing the goalie is simple: simply swipe in the direction the ball is moving and lunge like a winner.
1. Fortnite – 12.3 Million
Whether you love or despise Fortnite, it has to rank among the most influential video games ever created. Epic Games' battle royale game has rewritten the rules for developing and supporting a successful "live" service-style video game.
Fortnite is a continually evolving creature, reshaping itself with new features and gimmicks in response to emerging trends. It's practically a new game every month, because to its battle pass content, and it's also managed to stay current by teaming with bands and celebrities figures.
Indeed, it was during the 2020 Astronomical Concert that Fortnite reached a peak of 12.3 million concurrent gamers, as players rushed to witness Travis Scott perform a new single.