In game development, success hinges on tuning into the shifting market preferences. That’s why in this article, we’ve prepared a detailed overview of the most popular game genres in 2023–2024. We're not just listing them, we're dissecting their nuances and appeal. This is about equipping developers with actionable, genre-specific insights and trends that are shaping player engagement.
Video game genres influence not just the mechanics but also the storytelling aspect of titles. With a vast global audience, now more than ever, they play a critical role in aligning a game with the preferences of over 3 billion players worldwide.
Our deep dive extends to the most popular gaming genres across PCs, consoles and mobile platforms. Whether you're a developer or a gaming enthusiast, this guide will provide valuable insights into the different genres that are thriving today and look set to continue their success into the near future.
Most popular video game genres in 2024:
At the start of 2024, it's instructive to look back at 2023 to understand the current trends in games genres. This retrospective view provides valuable insights for developers looking to align with the market's pulse. So, firstly, let’s explore the top genres on the major gaming platforms, according to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report 2023.
According to industry analysts, shooter games were a standout in 2023, capturing 14.1% of PC gaming revenues. Analysts forecast this genre to grow by 4.9% year-on-year, outpacing the overall PC market growth of 1.6%.
For developers in 2024, this signals a sustained demand for diverse shooter games. The success of titles like Valorant, CS:GO and CS 2 showcases the appeal of team-based character shooters, while Destiny 2 and Escape from Tarkov reflect the growing interest in looter and extraction shooters. This trend underscores the importance of innovating within sub-genres as a strategic approach for new PC game development.
An interesting point for PC gaming is the even distribution of revenue across its most popular genres, indicating a player base with diverse preferences. This is a crucial insight for developers, as it highlights the potential for success across various video game genres on PC.
On the console front, the leading genres by revenue were adventure, battle royale, sports, shooter, and role-playing. Notably, adventure games led the revenue charts, mainly due to exclusives like Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and God of War Ragnarök. With adventure games accounting for 17.1% of console revenues and expected to grow by +6.9%, developers should note the significance of engaging narratives and immersive experiences in this genre.
The prominence of sports games like NBA 2K23 and FIFA 23 indicates a stable and loyal fan base. For developers in 2024, sports games, particularly those with annual releases and strong brand recognition, continue to be a safe bet in the console market.
Role-playing, puzzle, adventure, strategy and idle games are at the forefront in the mobile sector. Role-playing games, in particular, account for 23% of mobile revenues, with their popularity in major markets like China, Japan and South Korea playing a crucial role.
However, the video game genre is seeing a -1.6% decline in revenue year-on-year, partly due to challenges in user acquisition following Apple's privacy changes. This is a critical insight for developers, as it underscores the evolving challenges in monetizing mobile games, especially those relying on a smaller, more dedicated player base.
The trends in video game genres we've highlighted provide vital insights for developers in 2024. Understanding these market shifts is key to predicting future trends and aligning development strategies with genres that are showing growth and resonance with audiences. But what sets these genres apart and what unique features do they offer? Our video game genres list will delve into these questions, offering a detailed look at the distinctive qualities that define each genre and its main sub-genres.
First, we'll dive into the most popular game genres of 2023-2024, the ones we've just highlighted: Shooter, Adventure, Role-Playing, Battle Royale, Strategy, Sports, Puzzle and Idle. Then, we'll expand our discussion to include other categories of games in the list, enriching our understanding of the diverse gaming landscape.
Shooter games remain a dominant force in the gaming industry — they’re the most popular genre of video games right now. These projects stand out with their emphasis on weapon-based combat and diverse environments. The shooter genre requires developers to intricately balance gameplay mechanics and visual storytelling, appealing to players' desire for both tactical depth and immediate, visceral action.
From the high-octane, first-person perspective in Call of Duty and Battlefield to the strategic, third-person viewpoint in Gears of War, shooter games demand a meticulous approach to level design, pacing and player engagement. These games challenge developers to innovate within the genre, crafting immersive and exhilarating experiences.
FPS games offer an intense, immersive experience, placing players directly in the protagonist's shoes. Developers in this space focus on refining mechanics like aiming, movement and environmental interaction to enhance realism and player immersion. Multiplayer elements, from co-op campaigns to competitive modes, are crucial in maintaining player engagement and replayability.
Titles: Doom, Halo, Counter-Strike
In TPS games, the camera perspective behind the character opens up tactical gameplay dimensions, such as spatial awareness and strategic cover usage. Developers in this sub-genre innovate by blending shooting mechanics with advanced character mobility and interactive environments, offering a balanced mix of action and strategy.
Titles: Gears of War, Fortnite, Uncharted
Adventure games, one of the key categories in different video game genres, excel in narrative depth, exploration and puzzle-solving. These games are a canvas for developers to weave complex stories, create immersive worlds and develop intricate gameplay mechanisms.
This video game genre has quests and adventures, emphasizing less on reflex-based challenges and more on story-driven experiences. Titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Monkey Island and Life is Strange illustrate the genre's ability to transport players into richly crafted narratives and worlds full of discovery and intrigue.
Point-and-click adventures represent a staple of narrative-driven gameplay, where the challenge lies in puzzle-solving and story unfolding via minimalist controls. For developers, the key is designing logical and creatively challenging puzzles seamlessly integrating them into the narrative.
Titles: The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Broken Sword
Visual novels focus heavily on stories, often using minimal gameplay mechanics. This sub-genre is about crafting compelling narratives and character arcs, with player choice often affecting story outcomes. Developers in this space prioritize scriptwriting and storyboarding, creating an interactive narrative experience.
Titles: Doki Doki Literature Club, Ace Attorney, Steins;Gate
Role-playing games, an essential part of the video game genres list, are known for their deep narrative engagement and intricate character development. In these games, players immerse themselves in rich, often fantastical worlds, assuming the roles of diverse characters.
Developers in roleplay genres focus on creating complex storylines and progression systems that allow players to shape their characters' abilities, skills and narratives. Titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Final Fantasy XV and Skyrim exemplify the roleplay genre, offering expansive worlds where players' decisions significantly impact their characters and the surrounding environment.
Action RPGs merge the real-time combat of action games with traditional RPGs' character progression and story depth. This sub-genre demands a balance between fast-paced combat and strategic development, creating a dynamic gameplay experience. Developers must finely tune combat mechanics and integrate them seamlessly with RPG elements to maintain a coherent and engaging game flow.
Titles: Diablo III, Dark Souls, Bloodborne
JRPGs are one of the roleplay genres, distinguished by their turn-based combat systems and elaborate narratives, often set in richly imagined worlds. These games challenge developers to weave compelling storylines and character development into the strategic gameplay structure. Emphasizing linear storylines and well-developed characters, JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Persona 5, and Dragon Quest XI provide developers with opportunities to explore narrative depth and intricate world-building within the framework of the RPG genre.
Titles: Chrono Trigger, Persona 5, Dragon Quest XI
This sub-genre combines traditional RPGs with procedural generation and permadeath. Developers face the challenge of creating unpredictable, replayable experiences while balancing character growth and narrative depth. The key lies in providing engaging, varied gameplay and strategic decision-making, ensuring permadeath enhances rather than detracts from the player’s experience.
Titles: Hades, Darkest Dungeon
Battle Royale games are a rapidly growing sector within different game genres revolving around survival, strategy and adaptability. These games present unique development challenges and opportunities, such as balancing large-scale maps, ensuring fair player encounters and maintaining server stability for numerous simultaneous players.
The essence of its popularity lies in the thrilling blend of intense action and strategic gameplay, attracting a wide array of players. Balancing the excitement of direct combat with nuanced survival strategies is key to creating a successful title in this genre.
As a sub-genre of Battle Royale, hero shooters focus on characters with distinct abilities, emphasizing team dynamics and player roles. This blend offers developers a chance to explore character design and team-based gameplay within the high-stakes context of a Battle Royale. Balancing character abilities and ensuring diverse playstyles are key development considerations.
Titles: Apex Legends
Military shooters in the Battle Royale context focus on tactical and realistic gameplay. Developers in this sub-genre deal with challenges like creating authentic military scenarios, balancing realism with playability and designing expansive, detailed environments. These titles attract players interested in tactical depth, realism and a more serious approach to the Battle Royale formula.
Titles: Call of Duty: Warzone, Escape from Tarkov, ARMA 3
Among the diverse game genres, strategy games present players with challenges like planning, resource management and tactical decision-making. This genre presents unique opportunities for developers to create deep, intricate systems that test the players' ability to think ahead, manage resources and adapt to changing scenarios.
The appeal of strategy games lies in their cerebral nature, where success is often determined by strategic foresight, careful planning and tactical execution. These games range from turn-based grand strategy titles, where players control entire civilizations, to real-time strategy games that demand quick decision-making and adaptability.
Real-time strategy games are characterized by their dynamic, continuous gameplay, where players must make decisions on the fly and react to evolving scenarios. Balancing resource management, unit production and battlefield tactics in real-time is a key challenge for developers in this sub-genre. Titles like StarCraft, Age of Empires and Command & Conquer exemplify the RTS genre's demand for strategic thinking and quick reflexes.
Titles: StarCraft, Age of Empires, Command & Conquer
Turn-based strategy games offer a more measured approach to strategy, where players can take their time planning moves and considering their options. In this sub-genre, developers focus on creating games where strategic depth and long-term planning are paramount. Popular examples include Civilization VI, XCOM 2 and Total War: Shogun 2, where players engage in complex decision-making and strategic planning.
Titles: Civilization VI, XCOM 2, Total War: Shogun 2
Sports titles are an essential game category, replicating the experience of various sports, ranging from team-based games like football and basketball to individual sports like tennis and golf. Developers in this genre focus on accurately simulating the mechanics, rules and spirit of real-world sports. This includes the physical aspects of the sports and the strategy and team management components. These games appeal to sports enthusiasts and gamers, offering various modes like career, tournament and quick play, allowing players to experience their favourite sports virtually.
Titles: FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA 2K
Puzzle games captivate with their blend of mental stimulation and inventive gameplay. These games are essential in the game types spectrum, inviting players to delve into challenges that require keen logic, pattern recognition and creative problem-solving. The hallmark of a great puzzle game lies in its progression from straightforward to complex challenges, engaging players in a cerebral journey. This genre appeals to a diverse audience, offering everything from traditional jigsaw puzzles to modern physics-based conundrums.
In this space, developers constantly push the boundaries, experimenting with various puzzle formats. Some games intertwine storytelling, where puzzles are integral to the narrative progression, adding an immersive layer to the gameplay. Others focus exclusively on the mechanics, offering a pure, undiluted puzzle-solving experience.
Titles: Tetris, Portal, The Witness
Idle is a unique games category, designed for casual, passive engagement, often requiring minimal player interaction. These games are centered around automated progression systems where the game evolves and grows even when the player is not actively engaged. Developers in this genre focus on creating compelling reward systems and progression mechanics that incentivize players to return and check on their progress. The appeal of idle games lies in their simplicity and the sense of continuous achievement they offer.
Titles: Cookie Clicker, Adventure Capitalist, Clicker Heroes
Racing games is an exhilarating category in the video game categories, offering players the thrill of high-speed competition. These games simulate the excitement of racing sports, combining elements of speed, skill and strategy. Developers in this genre focus on creating realistic physics, detailed environments and dynamic vehicle handling to emulate the experience of real-world racing. The genre appeals to a broad audience, from casual gamers enjoying arcade-style racers to enthusiasts seeking highly realistic simulations.
In racing games, the blend of accessible gameplay with in-depth vehicle customization and track variety plays a key role. Whether it’s navigating tight corners in a street race or managing tire wear in a professional circuit, these games capture the essence of racing, offering both immersive experiences and adrenaline-fueled excitement.
Titles: Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, Mario Kart
Simulation games are a broad and diverse genre, encompassing a range of game types that replicate real-life activities and scenarios. These games challenge players with tasks that require strategic planning, resource management and decision-making, mirroring the complexities of real-world occupations or environments. From running a city to piloting an aircraft, simulation games offer players a chance to experience a slice of life they might not otherwise encounter.
Flight simulators provide an authentic experience of piloting aircraft, focusing on realistic flight mechanics and controls. These games demand precision and skill, offering a detailed representation of aviation.
Titles: Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, Ace Combat
Vehicle simulations specialize in the realistic representation of driving various vehicles, from cars and trucks to buses and beyond. These games focus on accurately simulating the driving experience, combining realistic vehicle physics with immersive environments.
Titles: Euro Truck Simulator, Assetto Corsa, Forza Horizon
Life simulations allow players to engage in everyday activities and routines, often in a sandbox environment. These games emphasize creativity, decision-making, and the simulation of daily life.
Titles: The Sims, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley
Fighting games are a dynamic and skill-focused category in the list of game genres, revolving around close-quarters combat between characters. These games emphasize player skill, timing and strategic understanding of character abilities. Developers in this genre concentrate on creating responsive and balanced combat systems, where precision and quick decision-making are critical. The appeal of fighting games lies in their competitive nature, offering intense one-on-one battles that test reflexes and strategic thinking.
Fighting games often feature diverse characters with unique fighting styles and special moves. This diversity allows players to find a character that matches their playstyle, encouraging mastery and an in-depth understanding of the game mechanics. From arcade-style, flashy combos to more grounded, realistic brawls, fighting games provide diverse combat experiences.
Titles: Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat
Horror games focus on delivering suspenseful and frightening experiences to players. This video game genre often uses narrative, atmosphere and gameplay mechanics to create feelings of tension and fear. Developers in the horror genre expertly craft environments and storylines that build suspense, often incorporating elements of surprise and the unknown to heighten the sense of dread.
Horror games vary in approach, from psychological horror that plays with the player's mind to survival horror that combines resource management and combat with fear-inducing scenarios. The key to a successful horror game is maintaining a balance between fear and engagement, ensuring players are scared but still motivated to continue the game.
Titles: Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Outlast
Survival games, a genre growing in popularity within all game genres, challenge players to endure in often hostile environments with limited resources. These games typically combine elements of exploration, resource gathering and crafting, with an emphasis on sustaining the player's life through careful management of supplies and environmental awareness. Developers in this genre create immersive worlds where threats can come from the environment, wildlife, or even other players, making survival a constant challenge.
In survival games, the player's ingenuity and adaptability are tested. Crafting systems, environmental hazards and a persistent threat of danger keep players engaged in a continual struggle for survival. The appeal lies in the sense of accomplishment from overcoming harsh conditions and the thrill of unpredictable encounters in the game world.
Titles: Rust, The Long Dark, ARK: Survival Evolved
MOBA games focus on team-based strategy and player-versus-player combat, standing out in the list of video game genres. In a typical MOBA, two teams of players control individual characters, known as "heroes" or "champions," each with unique abilities and roles. The objective is to destroy the opposing team's main structure with the aid of periodically spawned computer-controlled units that march forward along set paths.
MOBA games require players to engage in complex strategic planning, quick decision-making and cooperative team play. Balancing the heroes and creating dynamic maps are crucial challenges for developers in this genre. The popularity of MOBAs has grown significantly, partly due to their appeal in the competitive gaming scene, where they've become a staple in eSports tournaments.
Titles: League of Legends, Dota 2, SMITE
Card games have evolved into a prominent category within the different gaming genres, offering strategic depth and replayability. These games often replicate traditional card-playing experiences or innovate with new mechanics and card interactions. Developers in this genre concentrate on creating engaging gameplay loops, balancing card abilities, and ensuring a fair yet challenging experience for players. The appeal of digital card games lies in their strategic complexity, the thrill of collecting and the satisfaction of building a powerful deck.
In card games, the key for developers is to maintain an engaging metagame where new cards and strategies can continually emerge. This dynamic keeps the game fresh and engaging for both new and veteran players. Whether based on traditional card games or entirely new concepts, these games offer a rich and strategic gaming experience.
Titles: Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering Arena, GWENT
Exploring the myriad video game genres reveals a diverse and dynamic landscape, each with unique challenges and appeal. From the cerebral challenges of puzzle games to the strategic depths of MOBAs, the adrenaline rush of racing games, or the survival instincts honed in survival games, there's a genre for every type of player and developer.
At the heart of this diverse world is the art of game development, where creativity, technology and storytelling converge to create immersive and engaging experiences. No matter the genre, the key to a successful game lies in its ability to captivate and engage players, offering them new worlds to explore, challenges to overcome and stories to experience.
As you embark on your next gaming project, regardless of the genre, remember that compelling game art is crucial to bringing your vision to life. Whether it's crafting the eerie atmosphere of a horror game, the vibrant world of an action game or the intricate designs of a card game, our team is ready and skilled to create game art that resonates with your audience and elevates your project. Let's collaborate to make your gaming vision a reality!