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Top 50 Most Popular Online Games in 2018

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Online games are everywhere in the video games industry nowadays, to the point that many might have small numbers of players still checking them out. Well, fear not. Here are the top 50 most popular online games in 2018.

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Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Fortnite Battle Royale

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You know we had to start our list for the most popular online games in 2018 with this one.

With more than 3.4 million concurrent players across all major platforms, Fortnite’s battle royale mode has become the world’s most popular online game in less than a year since its release.

Originally released as a paid early access zombie-survival title on Steam, which received moderately-positive reviews, the game went from something fairly interesting to a global phenomenon that won’t soon be forgotten,

Plus, it’s free-to-play with an admirable lack of pay-to-win systems and low system requirements, making it a no-brainer for the more financially- or hardware-challenged gamer.

Looking for easier to run online games in 2018 for PC like Fortnite, by the way? Why not check out these 10 shooters that’ll run on that toaster you call a PC?

 

This post was originally written by Wiehahn Diederichs.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (aka PUBG)

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Naturally, since we had the last one, this one needed to make it among the most popular online games of 2018.

The Battle Royale scene (and Fortnite for that matter) would not enjoy the success it does today without PUBG setting the original benchmark for the genre.

If you’re keen to jump into the Battle Royale craze but you’re not feeling Fortnite’s cartoony look or base-building mechanics, then PUBG’s gritty style and more-mature approach should be right up your alley.

While every game in existence is now aiming to add their take on the genre, PUBG will forever remain one of the true OGs of Battle Royale and, with over 2 million concurrent players on Steam alone (it’s available on PC, Xbox One, Android and iOS).

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

League of Legends

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Another perennial powerhouse, especially in a list of the most popular online games of 2018, League of Legends (aka LoL) is a tactically-focused free-to-play MOBA that puts you into control of your very own unique “champion” and pits you against other player-controlled or computer-controlled champions.

Since its release in 2009 the game’s audience has grown to over a staggering 7 million concurrent players and more than 100 million active players and is one of the most-streamed games on Twitch.

That’s a pretty decent achievement considering the game is only playable via PC and has been around for quite a while now, right?

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Splatoon 2

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Splatoon 2 is a quirky team-based shooter available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch and is sequel to the original award-winning Splatoon. It’s certainly among the most populous online games for the Switch.

The game puts you in control of an ‘Inkling’, a cute albeit temperate little creature that can shapeshift between a humanoid and squid form.

While at a quick glance the game might seem like a colorful and PG-rated shooter clone, it actually boasts very unique mechanics.

Gameplay revolves around attacking players with Ink-guns, which are also used to gain territory that players of the same color can then use to hide themselves.

If you’re on the Switch and want to play some light-hearted shooter fun, Splatoon 2 definitely should be your first stop.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Hearthstone

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Hearthstone is Blizzard’s first foray into the digital collectible card game sphere and, even though similar games have preceded it, it is one of the first games to truly become globally successful and widely popular in the genre.

The title is based on and builds upon the Warcraft series’ lore with its massive catalog of characters and heroes all being inspired or taken from Blizzard’s classic RTS.

As of May 2017, the game has over 70 million active players and has become one of the staples of the esports scene with some of its tournaments offering its winners up to $1 million in prize money, and if you’re looking for one of the most popular online games in 2018, card game or not, you should give it a look.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Overwatch

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Loosely inspired by Valve’s Team Fortress 2, this team-based arena FPS has, since its release a mere two years ago, garnered over 35 million registered users across PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Currently, it is also Blizzard’s fourth biggest franchise, making it one of the most successful gaming titles in history.

Beyond its avid player base, it also boasts an extremely active competitive scene as one of the biggest games in esports.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

World of Warcraft

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World of Warcraft (aka WoW) is a highly addictive MMORPG released in 2004 and another of Blizzard’s critically acclaimed creations. In addition, it’s also one of the biggest MMORPG of all-time in terms of players.

While it might be hard to deduce WoW’s current player base ever since Blizzard stopped releasing its player figures, it’s last reported player count was over 5.5 million players in October 2015.

Now considering its range of expansions released over the last few years, such as Legion (2016), and the upcoming and highly-anticipated Battle for Azeroth expansion, it’s safe to say that WoW still boasts a multi-million-strong player base.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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The Counter-Strike series is undeniably one of history’s most prolific and timeless online shooter franchises, with CS:GO being the latest addition to the pack.

Even though its player count has fluctuated considerably since its release about six years ago, it still remains one of the most popular online games around, sporting an average of 442,193 concurrent players.

Originally released as a simple fan-made mod for Half-Life in 1999, Counter-Strike has now become one of history’s most iconic gaming franchises.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Final Fantasy XIV

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Final Fantasy XIV had a bit of a rough start when it was originally released in 2010 due to a wide-range of problems such as broken gameplay, an unintuitive interface, and just a general perception of the game feeling unfinished.

The game’s fate as a failure seemed to be sealed but with some hard work (and presumably a fair amount of prayers to the gods of gaming), Square Enix managed to resurrect the game from its still-smoldering ashes.

After implementing a host of improvements such as a new game engine, upgraded server structure and revamped gameplay, the game was re-released in 2013 as Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn and as of August 2017 enjoys more than 10 million subscribed players, undeniably making it one of the most popular MMORPGs in existence.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

FIFA 19

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No other sports game franchise has even come close to the reverence and success of the FIFA series of games, and because of this, it’s one of the most popular online games in 2019 still.

Starting its unrivaled winning-streak with FIFA International in 1993 (the best-selling video game of that year), the FIFA franchise has seen nothing but immense growth in its rapidly and ever-increasing player base.

FIFA 19, the latest addition to the series, boasted more than 1.6 million concurrent players on the first weekend after its release.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Minecraft

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Minecraft is a multi-award-winning sandbox video game originally developed by Swedish programmer Markus ‘Notch’ Person.

It took the world by storm when it was originally released in 2009 and, with no publisher backing to market it, the game’s popularity simply grew via word-of-mouth and a few references in relatively obscure publications (it grossed over $33 million by April 2011) before it was eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for a staggering $2.5 billion.

Today it is one of the most recognizable games on the planet and, with more than 144 million copies sold, it is also one of the best-selling games of all time.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Rocket League

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Fancy playing soccer with a rocket-boosted supercar? Well then I present to you Rocket League, a game about… uh… playing soccer with rocket-boosted supercars.

If you’re into team-based or sports-themed games (or both), then you should thoroughly enjoy this title.

With more than 270,000 concurrent players at the time of this writing, Rocket League has come far since the franchise’s beginning as a relatively obscure 2008 PS3 title called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars We think the name change might have helped a bit.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Dota 2

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Very few games can claim to share the same reverence and demand the same devotion from its players as Defense of the Ancients 2 (popularly known as DotA 2), and as a result, it’s one of the most popular online games in 2018.

This free-to-play MOBA, inspired by a fan-made mod of Warcraft, has over 800,000 concurrent players on Steam alone with its extreme popularity also being one of the biggest contributing factors to the thriving success the esports scene enjoys today.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Team Fortress 2

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Team Fortress 2 is a wonderfully eccentric team-based shooter developed by Valve, and undoubtedly one of the most popular online games in 2018, boasting more than 56,000 concurrent players on Steam alone.

This free-to-play classic features solid and fast-paced gameplay, regular updates, and provides detailed player statistics and a colossal range of both official and community-made maps.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

CrossFire

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While Crossfire might not be as internationally renowned as its monolithic FPS cousins such as Counter-Strike or Call of Duty, it is currently one of the most popular online games in 2018, especially in Asia, with a peak of over 8 million concurrent players and a staggering 650 million registered users (and that number is steadily growing as it gradually attracts more Western players on a daily basis).

This tactical FPS has grossed more than $6.8 billion as of 2016, making it one of the highest-grossing games of all time.

As a free-to-play game though, CrossFire does include some annoying pay-to-win elements such as upgraded weapons that can only be bought with monetary currency.

With that being said, many players have noted that the game is still enjoyable even if you don’t spend a dime. That’s got to count for something, right?

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

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Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical multiplayer first-person shooter inspired by prolific author Tom Clancy’s range of military fiction books (which also inspired games such as Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon).

The game features no single-player campaign (although it does offer some solo missions) and heavily emphasizes strategic team-focused gameplay.

While it has always boasted a relatively large player base, with each passing expansion, its number of concurrent players continues to increase.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Warframe

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Warframe is a third-person co-operative shooter in which players control members of the Tenno, a race that has awoken from cryo-sleep to find themselves in the middle of a war.

Alongside the solid shooting mechanics, there’s RPG elements, including a deep gear system, and it’s one of the most popular games in 2018 for both consoles and PC.

While it is free-to-play, there’s plenty of opportunities to purchase in-game items, and it’s due to come to the Nintendo Switch by 2018’s end as well.

If you’re after an online game, but don’t want to pay anything, Warframe is a good option.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Destiny 2

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Destiny 2 was one of the most popular games of 2017, after its huge launch in September, but it continues to be popular in 2018.

Some fans have grown frustrated at the underwhelming expansions, but the gameplay is still solid, and the online modes are deep and re-playable.

Plus, the recent Forsaken expansion fixed a lot of the issues players had. You and your fellow Guardians can take on huge Raids, explore the planets for loot, and even take on other players in the Crucible PvP mode.

Because of the wealth of content players have to choose from Destiny 2 remains of the most popular online games in 2018.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Monster Hunter: World

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Taking the late January release date spot that has proved very popular over the past few years was Monster Hunter: World. It was a smart choice, because it’s now one of the most popular online games in 2018.

Bringing longtime fans of the series back, and introducing many new players, World features the same monster slaying gameplay, only more beautiful than it has been before.

There’s more creatures to slay than ever before, as well as loads of deep systems to get to grips with, but with more and more being added to the game over the last few months, there’s still plenty to return for in Capcom’s game. 

Also, all of your monster hunting exploits can be done alongside some friends for added fun.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Grand Theft Auto V

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Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto games have always been popular, but the fifth numbered title took that popularity to a whole new level, and much of that was down to the new GTA Online mode.

The game released in 2013, but it still appears on the monthly top ten sales lists because people want to jump into the online heists, races, and shootouts with their friends.

You can earn money, buy houses and cars, and go crazy in Los Santos to your heart’s content, all with your friends in tow.

Also, with content being added all the time, and events happening every few weeks, there’s always a reason to jump back in to see what is new.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Ark: Survival Evolved

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The action survival game, Ark: Survival Evolved, sees you try to stay alive on a map that is filled with dinosaurs and other terrifying creatures. There are not that many games like it on the market, and this unique angle has helped it remain one of the most popular online games in 2018.

You can explore with friends, completing tasks and missions, fight and ride the dinosaurs, and take on other teams of players.

You can also build structures to protect you and your squad, and you can upgrade your character to give you a better fighting chance against the likes of the T-Rex. Whatever you do within the gream, it’s a whole lot of fun with friends.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Far Cry 5

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The multiplayer options in Far Cry games have differed over the last few years. Far Cry 2 and 3 had standard shooter modes, trying to match the popularity of the likes of Call of Duty and other very popular online games in 2018, and there was some co-op action in a few of the games that was separate to the other modes.

Unfortunately, none of those options were as good as the single-player, so the obvious answer was to make the whole campaign co-op. Well, that’s what happened for Far Cry 5.

You can explore Hope County, taking on the Seed family, all with someone else by your side and that has certainly boosted its status in the eyes of co-op fans.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Mario Tennis Aces

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Mario has been trying his hand at sports for years. Whether is be soccer, golf, or every single event at the Olympics, he knows what he is doing. However, he’s probably more familiar with tennis than anything else.

In Aces, the Switch’s iteration of the game, the main campaign is a little dull, but that means the multiplayer is more active than it might otherwise be and it helps make it one of the most popular online games in 2018, especially on the Switch of course.

With this being one of the most popular games on the Switch, you should have no problem finding a match, and the variety of characters and courts makes for more dramatic and varied matches.

Pick your favorite character, master the special moves, and jump online for a game.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

State of Decay 2

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The first State of Decay game was quite buggy, but a fun multiplayer zombie survival game nonetheless.

The sequel, released earlier in 2018, builds on everything that was great about the original, ironing out some of the issues, too, and because of that, it’s one of the most popular online games in 2018.

Alongside some friends, you can head out to grab some supplies and complete missions so that you can expand your base and look after your gang of survivors.

Once your characters die, you cannot bring them back to life, so you need to take your zombie killing exploits seriously. 

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Sea of Thieves

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There were some issues with the actual content part of Seas of Thieves, with there being little to do aside from sail the high seas, attacking other ships and plundering for treasure, but the world captured the imagination of a lot of players, and thus, it’s still one of the most popular online games in 2018.

With it being available part as part of Xbox Game Pass, you can also play for a small monthly fee.

Kitting out your ship and exploring the islands with your friends in tow makes for great fun, apart from when you lose all your loot when someone else attacks you, even then though, it’s hung onto enough dedicating fans.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

No Man’s Sky

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If you’d seen No Man’s Sky on this list even half way through 2018, you would have been shocked. After a disaster of a release, no one was playing Hello Games’ space exploration game, but the new NEXT update changed all that.

You are now able to play online with your friends, explore the procedurally generated planets, and completing missions however you’d like.

The update has proved so popular that the game has even returned to Steam’s top 10 concurrent players charts.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Madden NFL 19

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Every year, the Madden NFL games are immensely popular. With the incredible number of players jumping into Franchise and Ultimate Team mode, you’ll have no issue finding a game.

You can choose to play head to head with NFL teams, or bring your own handcrafted Ultimate team online to compete in tournaments and other online events.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Quake Champions

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It’s still only in Early Access on Steam, but Quake Champions is still one of the most popular online games in 2018. Much like the original Quake games, you try to take out other players on well-designed maps, using your huge weapons.

Champions features a load of unique characters, each of which has their own powers and weapons, and the action is extremely fast paced.

It’s due to release fully later in 2018, but jumping in now is still a great option if you want to get a head start on one of the most popular online games of 2018.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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One of the Nintendo Switch’s most popular online games came out just a couple of months after the system itself and was a port of a Wii U game. That’s a testament to the power of Mario Kart, though.

With new DLC still being added, on top of the previously included DLC tracks and karts, it’s still going strong.

You’ll probably come up against a lot of very good players online now, but it’s still great fun and a good way to test yourself before you play against friends.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Overcooked 2

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Arguably the biggest issue with the first Overcooked game was its lack of online multiplayer options. Since the game is so reliant on co-op action, you needed someone alongside you in the kitchen, but that wasn’t possible for everyone.

Now, however, the sequel has just released and you can jump online to cause chaos in the kitchen with three other chefs. It’s just released, so finding a game will be very easy, and doing so is insane amounts of fun, especially with communication being harder with people online.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ Deluxe Edition

An immensely entertaining fighting game as well as one of the best Dragon Ball games of all time, it’s little surprise Dragon Ball FighterZ has become one of the most popular online games of the year.

Flush with characters from across the series that each has their own combos and techniques to master, FighterZ provides plenty of content for players to explore as they compete against online opponents.

The different strengths and weaknesses of each character, as well as how they match up against certain characters, makes for matches that are both exciting to play and see in motion, taking on the appearance of a battle from the iconic anime series.

That’s to say nothing of the easy to grasp combo system, which allows for almost anyone to get in on the fun whenever they’d like.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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It may have only released at the end of the year, but that hasn’t stopped Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from skyrocketing toward being one of the most played online games.

Pitting players from across the world against one another with a fan favorite-packed roster of video game characters, the title is easy to jump into but difficult to master with a simple control scheme belying hidden mechanics and character quirks to uncover.

It also helps that the game’s diverse cast bolsters the amount of gameplay to explore. From Nintendo mainstays like Mario and Donkey Kong to third-party icons like Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud and Bayonetta, each character offers their own moves and abilities to explore and use against other characters.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

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Say what you will about the multiplayer mode at its launch, but it can’t be denied that Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has earned its fanbase over the course of 2018.

Enjoying continued support and updates from developer Bandai Namco Entertainment, its online multiplayer modes have been polished and refined enough to resemble its intended design.

As their own created character or most any character from across the Dragon Ball series, players can take part in raids or clash with one another whenever they wish. It can be a little difficult to grasp the game’s combo systems at first, but once one does, it’s easy to sink hours into playing alongside the welcoming community built around the game.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Super Mario Party

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The Nintendo Switch has only continued to climb in popularity, and Super Mario Party marks yet another great online title helping to establish the console’s hold online.

Offering the usual array of mini-games and board game feel the series is known for, the game’s online functionality allows friends new and old to connect from anywhere for a fun-filled match. This is all the more fun thanks to new features the title provides, like amassing allies to improve your chances for good rolls as you travel across the game board.

Throw in some charming new characters to play as, and you’ve got an entry in the series players can’t help but fall in love with.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Forza Horizon 4

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The devil is in the details for why Forza Horizon 4 has proven a standout online racer in 2018.

Boasting an impressively massive array of graphically jaw-dropping vehicles for players to get behind the wheel of, there’s plenty of chances to mix things up from race to race. One could hop into a top of the line sports car for one competition, swap out for a custom classic the next and then start up whatever they think looks fun in another.

Then there are the new features the sequel brings to the table, key among them the seasons mechanic. The game world progresses through the four seasons as players play the game, with the change in weather impacting courses and their terrain.

Mastering the use of different vehicles in each season, and the resulting eye candy of different tracks seen throughout the year serves as yet another reason players keep coming back to the game, and likely will for months to come.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Magic The Gathering: Arena

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After Blizzard’s Hearthstone made the digital collectible card game genre popular, we’ve seen other developers move to get in on the action. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the fantasy card game that started it all is following suit with its own digital version.

Magic: The Gathering Arena translates the iconic 90s trading card game to a digital format. Although only still in beta, it’s very much a meaty package that virtually represents a finished product. There’s even an esports league soon to kick off.

The game follows the same rules as the original physical version, in which players battle other players using a selected deck, with the goal of reducing the opponent’s health to zero before their opponent can do the same to them.

Arena is a free-to-play game that features microtransactions to purchase and build new decks.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

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It’s not surprising that a new Call of Duty is popular among online gamers, but it’s still worth noting that the game’s transition to multiplayer only hasn’t slowed the series down one bit.

Featuring the usual multiplayer and zombie modes, the game has everything longtime fans of the series would expect. Gameplay is tight and precise, and there’s more than enough weaponry to keep players experimenting with different load outs as they try to climb the ranks.

Alongside these standbys is the new battle royale mode. Taking the design of Fortnite and PUBG, and then applying them to the series’ AAA first-person shooter aesthetic, it shows potential to become the next go-to title for fans of the genre.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Soulcalibur VI

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There’s a lot to love about Soulcalibur VI, the latest entry in the long-running fighting game series.

A revamp of the series’ story and roster, VI takes fan favorites from across the franchise and drops them into a new version of the first game’s events. As a result, each character has a new array of encounters and story beats to uncover, testing their skill and steel against other warriors all the while.

The title’s gameplay is top notch, with inputs and commands that players can spend hours mastering. The game’s diverse cast is likewise a source of high replayability, with guest characters expanding upon it every few months.

And of course, there’s the bonkers character customization system which allows players to create just about any type of fighter that they could imagine.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Fallout 76

Fallout 76 NPCs

A rough launch and shoddy communication from Bethesda aside, Fallout 76 has already amassed quite the player base since its release in November.

Fallout 76 lets players loose in a wasteland ripe for scavenging, and there’s plenty of activities for players to sink their teeth in. From working together to rebuild Appalachia following the nuclear apocalypse to engaging in PvP action, Fallout 76 takes the series’ traditions and expands its scope with a multiplayer experience.

There are still all the threats one would expect from a Fallout game: Feral Ghouls, Super Mutants, and all-new monstrosities like the Scorch Beast.

Surviving the wasteland can sometimes be frustrating, but with some help from others, it’s still an entertaining package.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Artifact

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Just like CD Project Red and Wizards of the Coast, developer Valve has also jumped onto the digital card game bandwagon with its own spin on the genre. Artifact takes the popular characters and lore from the DOTA universe. The game was actually designed by Magic the Gathering creator Richard Garfield.

Artifact’s gameplay differs from other digital card games in that it uses three “lanes” guarded by a tower at the end. Each lane has its own independent board. The victor is the first person to either destroy a structure called the “Ancient”, which appears after a tower has been destroyed or the first to destroy two towers in total.

The game has a struggled slightly with mixed reviews and a falling player count, but it still made Steam’s list of 2018’s best games and enjoys a substantial community of players. We expect Valve to continue supporting Artifact with new content and updates moving forward.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Civilization 6

Civilization VI

While the title may have launched on PC a few years back, Civilization VI truly came into the forefront in 2018 thanks to its Switch port and continued updates from developer Fireaxis.

Like past entries, players are tasked with building up their own civilization from scratch. As one of several historic rulers, they’ll need to amass territory, uncover scientific discoveries and create a country capable of bringing the human race into the next stage of progress.

They’ll have to do so while competing with other players, though; and seeing as how only one civilization can be crowned the most advanced, it’s easy to get lost in the scuffle for superiority and survival.

Each match can carry hours of fun through careful strategizing and deciding on how best to advance your civilization past your opponent’s. This has only been bolstered by the portability the new Switch port offers, allowing players to continue their march toward greatness wherever they go.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Tekken 7

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A pillar of the fighting game genre, Tekken showed no signs of fading in relevance as it made its way through 2018.

Boasting silky smooth graphics and a combat system that can be jaw-droppingly intense in motion, the game continued to provide the gameplay fans new and old alike were drawn in by last year. Each character had their own combos to master, and with constant tweaks to balancing by Bandai Namco Entertainment, there’s almost always something new to learn about for each roster member.

Along with the usual array of characters though, several new DLC combatants have made their way to the game in recent months. Some of these have been characters from past entries, but others have been out-of-nowhere guest characters like The Walking Dead’s Negan.

Though strange on paper, these new combatants have only improved upon the roster, delivering something different for players to mess around with against others online.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Battlefield V

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With every major release in the series, Battlefield has always become one of the most popular online multiplayer games of its time. The latest installment, Battlefield V is no exception, despite some shaky review scores that didn’t earn quite as much critical acclaim as its predecessor.

Battlefield V continues in the same vein as the well-received Battlefield I, which took action back to a historical setting rather than the contemporary and near-future premises that had previously dominated the entire FPS genre for the past few years.

It uses the same vignette-style War Stories — segmented single-player missions across different theatres of WW2 to tell poignant tales of solider and civilian struggles during the war. And, of course, there are all the typical multiplayer modes you’d expect from the series, too.

Is Battlefield V as good as its predecessor? Probably not, but it’s still a brilliant shooter with a thriving community of players that’s well worth checking out.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

The Witcher franchise has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity since the launch of the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The open-world RPG was lauded for its detailed world-design and lore, as well as its compelling narrative.

Gwent, the mini-game within Wild Hunt was also a big takeaway for lots of players — so big, in fact, that it has gone on to spawn its own standalone card game.

We’ve seen digital collectible card games rise in popularity in recent times, but it’s a genre that has been dominated by Blizzard’s Hearthstone. CD Project Red now aims to break the monopoly with Gwent, a card game that leverages the popularity of The Witcher universe.

Gwent has actually been available in beta for over a year, but it’s just recently been released as a full version in combination with Thronebreaker, a standalone single-player experience.

If you’re into card games and looking for something with a point of difference, it might be worth checking out Gwent. 

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

For Honor

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The popularity of Ubisoft’s melee multiplayer game For Honor has been a bit of a rollercoaster since its launch back in 2017. After mixed reviews and waning interest from its player-base, Ubisoft has pulled out all the stops to keep the game afloat. Thankfully for them, it’s worked.

Indeed, For Honor has seen its player-count spike several times over the past twelve months. Most notably, after a free-to-own promotion that saw concurrent numbers hit all-new heights and permanently boost player numbers for the year.

Exciting new content and crossover events have since kept players interested in the fighting game in 2018, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

That’s a good thing, too, because although this melee fighting experience won’t be for everyone, For Honor offers a point of difference from other popular multiplayer games in terms of its gameplay. It’s well worth trying.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

No Man’s Sky

no man's sky, frigates

It’s great that we can finally include No Man’s Sky on a list of popular online games. Having released without the multiplayer component many gamers had been expecting, two years later it’s finally delivered on that vision.

Developer Hello Games has really turned No Man’s Sky around, and each new update has seen player numbers spike as returning and all-new players jumped into the game to check out the changes. But the concurrent numbers totally exploded when the updated titled NEXT introduced online play for the first time.

No Man’s Sky went from around 2000 monthly players to over 90,000 following NEXT’s launch, making it easily one of the most popular online games in 2018.

No Man’s Sky Next allows up to four players to journey across the galaxy together, discovering new planets and building new bases in a bid to survive and explore the galaxy.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Football Manager 2019

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One for the football (soccer) fanatics, the Football Manager series allows players to take control of the world’s best teams and implement their know-how of the game to guide them to glory.

There’s no actual gameplay other than the strategy of managing teams and observing their performance according to your changes. That might sound somewhat niche at first glance, but the sheer popularity of football as a sport has made Football Manager a consistently popular game over the years.

The recently released 2019 edition of the game is no exception, recording concurrent player numbers consistently in Steam’s top 10. 

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Rust

Rust

Survival games have long been popular in the online scene, and Rust has dominated the genre for some time. This multiplayer experience tasks players with the sole goal of survival as they wrestle with dangerous animals, adverse conditions, and the looming threat of other players.

Rust’s concurrent player numbers have been consistently strong throughout its five years (since the initial early access), and 2018 has shown no signs of that slowing down.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Dead by Daylight

Dead by Daylight

Despite mixed reviews at launch which lamented a lack of content and technical glitches, Dead by Daylight has remained hugely popular this year. The unique 1v4 gameplay that tasks four players with surviving against a marauding solo player-antagonist has proven a winning formula.

Dead by Daylight captures perfectly the style and tone of classic horror movies and it marries that to a gameplay experience that feels as though you’re in the midst of a slasher flick.

It’s just a whole lot of fun, and the consistently impressive concurrent player numbers throughout 2018 defy its mediocre review scores.

Most Popular Online Games in 2018

Paladins

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Paladins is an online shooter with gameplay that demands team coordination and strategy. It’s proved a real winner since its early access launch on PC back in 2016, with concurrent player counts remaining consistent over the past two years.

Now available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch as a full version this year, Paladins has emerged as one of the most popular online games of the year.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Overwatch and you enjoyed games like Team Fortress 2, Paladins is well worth a shot. It features all the same sorts of objective-based gameplay modes, as well as the whimsical art direction and colorful hero designs.

That does it for the most popular online games in 2018! Which ones do you play and contribute to the numbers for? Let us know down below!

About the author

Chris Jecks

Chris Jecks has been covering the games industry for over eight years. He typically covers new releases, FIFA, Fortnite, any good shooters, and loves nothing more than a good Pro Clubs session with the lads. Chris has a History degree from the University of Central Lancashire. He spends his days eagerly awaiting the release of BioShock 4.

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