Image Source: Wargaming; Activision; Bungie; EA Sports; NetEase via Twinfinite

Most Played Games Ever, Ranked by Peak Concurrent Players

Some serious hours have been spent in these games!

Editor’s note: The peak concurrent figures listed in this article have been pulled from publicly available information that, in some cases, is limited to a single platform. Where the article denotes a plus symbol, the figure does not include player numbers on a platform that likely would have added to its total substantially (i.e. PS4 and Xbox One), or because it was stated that the actual number exceeded the figure stated. These are the most popular games – or most played games – of all time, ranked by peak concurrent players.

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20) Hogwarts Legacy – 879,308+

Hogwarts Legacy promo shot
Image Source: Portkey Games

There wasn’t any doubt that this single-player action RPG set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be anything less than a goliath hit, but it’s safe to say that Hogwarts Legacy exceeded even those lofty expectations.

As this number of 879,308 only factors in concurrent player numbers from Steam, the true number of people playing Hogwarts Legacy during the first month of its February 2023 launch would have been significantly higher.

Hogwart’s Legacy is proving that it has legs too. Almost a year after its release the game is still consistently climbing back to the number one spot in the UK physical sales charts, indicating that this truly is the wizarding fantasy that Harry Potter fans had been waiting for.

19) New World – 913,634

New World promo shot
Image Source: Amazon Game Studios

After a solid few years of no big budget MMO releases, New World came along at just the right time to take the gaming world by storm. Releasing in September 2021 after years of delays, Amazon Game Studios’ action MMO combined elements of survival gameplay with a mysterious world of myth and legend.

This is a rare case of a game where exact figures are available to the public. Thus far only available to download and play on PC via Steam, New World’s meteoric climb up the Steam charts was tracked in real time as the number just kept on rising despite server issues and gameplay bugs. That number topped out at 913,634 shortly after launching.

New World’s concurrent numbers may have dwindled significantly since then, but it’s now found itself a respectable foothold in the MMO market. A few months later, Amazon followed New World’s success with another game further down this list. Quite a feat for a new studio, even if they do have Amazon’s endless resources.

18) Elden Ring  – 953,426+

Elden Ring promo shot
Image Source: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Who would’ve believed that a studio notorious for creating some of the hardest game’s of all time would have a hit this big? It seems there are a lot of glutton’s for punishment out there, as Elden Ring‘s popularity couldn’t be stopped when it launched to near perfect reviews in February 2022.

Peaking at just under a million concurrent players on Steam, the true number of players exploring the Lands Between at any given time across PC, Xbox, and PlayStation platforms would have been a lot higher.

Elden Ring’s success with critics and fans alike felt like the culmination of years of hard work from the Dark Souls developer. Could anybody really have doubted that a collaboration between FromSoftware’s resident mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki and Game of Thrones maestro George R. R. Martin would do anything but become an instantly beloved mega hit?

17) Minecraft – 998,000+

Minecraft Key Art
Image Source: Mojang Studios

A true gaming phenomenon, Minecraft has held the world in its pixelated thrall for more than a decade with no signs of letting up. So what the heck is it doing here at number 17?

The truth is, we’ve never really been given anything like a solid figure of just how many players been logged into Minecraft at one time across all of its many iterations and servers. The closest thing we have to a hard number is a tweet from Minecraft Game Designer and Technical Director Nathan Adams, who revealed that 998,000 players were playing at once on one random Friday back in January 2015.

With Microsoft reporting that the game was being played by over 140 million people every month as of 2021, there’s absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Minecraft regularly hosts concurrent player numbers way in excess of the relatively scant figure we know of.

16) Cyberpunk 2077 – 1,054,388+

3 cyborgs in Cyberpunk 2077
Image Source: CD Projekt

The first game on this list to definitively top the 1 million concurrent player milestone is CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077. Notoriously underbaked upon its arrival back in December 2020, players still flocked to play this futuristic RPG from the makers of the Witcher series.

The highest ranked single player game on this list, Cyberpunk 2077’s achievement of 1,054,388 concurrent players on Steam alone is something truly remarkable. As you’d expect, player numbers dropped off quite a bit in the months after the game’s launch, but each new update has brought players flocking back to check out how much Night City has improved.

With the arrival of the exceptional Phantom Liberty expansion and the game’s 2.0 update, Cyberpunk 2077 can safely claim its place as an all time RPG classic. The only question now is whether the next Witcher game can beat this record number.

15) Call of Duty: Black Ops – 1,100,000+

Character with gun wearing a bandana hides behind a corner from 2 enemies in Call of Duty Black Ops
Image Source: Activision

Another case of a defining game series appearing unusually low down in this list. 2010’s Black Ops is the last time we ever got any hard numbers regarding Call of Duty‘s simultaneous players, but we can only guess that they’ve gone way higher than this with more recent installments in the series.

This is still a huge number, with Black Ops hitting consoles and PC at the very height of the original Modern Warfare trilogy’s popularity. Did the following year’s conclusion to the trilogy, Modern Warfare 3, manage to topple these numbers? Quite possibly, but we don’t know for certain.

The 1.1+ million figure quoted here represents the combination of 1 million concurrent players recorded on Xbox Live and 140,000 on Steam. For the record, CoD Warzone’s peak concurrent player figure on Steam is 491,670. Considering that this isn’t even the game’s primary platform on PC, it’s numbers across all consoles and PC launchers must really be something to behold.

14) World of Tanks – 1,114,000+

2 tanks in World of Tanks
Image Source: Wargaming.net

Russia loves tanks. Perhaps it started with the iconic T-34 thwarting the Germans in WW2. Or maybe the columns of tanks parading up and down Red Square every year since have made them a household favorite?

Either way, the country’s love of tanks has woven itself into the DNA of its video gaming industry.

World of Tanks is the free-to-play tank warfare simulator that has taken the world by storm. Well… mostly Russia, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with on a global scale too.

Wargaming revealed that the game had pulled in 160 million players as of 2020, while the 1.1 million peak concurrent players were recorded on a Russian server in 2014.

13) Destiny 2 – 1,200,000

4 characters shooting at each other in Destiny 2
Image Source: Bungie

Despite some of the teething problems the original title battled with, Bungie’s sequel was hotly anticipated when it launched on consoles in 2017.

The wider scope of its narrative, the promise of even more content, and the lessons learned from the first game ensured that excitement for Destiny 2 would be through the roof. The studio’s hard work would pay off as within two weeks of its launch, Bungie announced the game had been played by 1.2 million users at the same time. A number that would likely have been far higher had the PC version been released in unison with console editions.

Fans still can’t get enough of Destiny 2’s unrivaled gunplay, and with the game’s final expansion, The Final Shape, due to launch in 2024, there could still be records left to break.

12) Dota 2 – 1,295,114

Cropped promo screenshot of DOTA 2
Image Source: Valve

Unsurprisingly, Valve’s MOBA has only ever been made available to play through their Steam platform, so this is another rare case where we have a solid number to go on.

The original Dota was responsible for spawning the entire genre, so there’s little wonder that this big budget follow-up from the folks at Valve has proven a worthy rival to the upstart League of Legends.

Though numbers have been unstable since recording its peak of 1.29 million concurrent players back in January 2016, you’ll still find Dota 2 commanding a regular spot on Steam’s most-played list. If nothing else, you can always count on Valve’s continued support of the game in the esports arena to reinvigorate interest in Dota 2.

11) Lost Ark – 1,325,305+

A dragon facing players in Lost Ark
Image Source: Amazon Game Studios

After years of success in the Asian and Russian markets, Lost Ark finally made its way to the West in 2022. The game climbed the Steam charts at a wild rate.

Combining MMO elements with the ARPG combat you’d find in games like Diablo, Lost Ark would attract a wide playerbase with its modern shine on tried and true gameplay mechanics and visuals. Its initial success was no doubt owed to a huge marketing push across Twitch and YouTube, but while it worked out in the short term with 1,325,305 peak concurrent players, Lost Ark’s numbers swiftly dropped off a cliff.

Many would question the legitimacy of these numbers at all due to the rampant bot issues that have plagued the game since launch. Regardless, you only need to factor in the game’s continued overseas success to cast aside any doubts that Lost Ark is one of the most played games of all time.

10) Fantasy Westward Journey – 1,600,000

Fantasy Westward Journey Cast Illustration
Image Source: NetEase

Here’s one you may not have heard of. Fantasy Westward Journey is a long-running MMO that has been going strong in its native China since 2003. Despite being based on the hugely influential classic novel Journey to the West, the game has never managed to well, make the journey… to the West.

Fantasy Westward Journey would achieve it’s jaw-dropping peak concurrent playerbase in 2015 after being ported from the PC to mobile devices. Developer and publisher NetEase (who were until recently responsible for handling Blizzard’s games over in China) reported the 1.6 million concurrent player number shortly after the mobile version launched.

That announcement came alongside a statement claiming that NetEase would be bringing their most successful games to North America, but that never seems to have come to fruition.

9) FIFA 18 – 1,600,000

Ronaldo celebrates in FIFA 18
Image Source: EA Sports

FIFA is EA’s most popular video game franchise and perhaps the most globally played video game in the world.

Each year a new version typically brings only minor upgrades and tweaks to performance and gameplay, but that doesn’t stop the game flying off the shelves at launch. On its opening weekend, EA’s Twitter account posted a video revealing 2017s installment had hit 1.6 million simultaneous players across all platforms.

Does that mean the series peaked back in the last decade? Almost certainly not. Unfortunately, EA hasn’t revealed any concurrent numbers in the years since. Considering FIFA 23 was touted as a record-breaking title with 10.3 million players putting on their boots for a digital kickaround in the first week alone, we’re going to hazard a guess that 1.6 million figure hasn’t stood the test of time.

8) Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – 1,818,773

2 terrorists in Counter Strike Global Offensive
Image Source: Valve

One of the oldest franchises in this list, Valve’s iconic tactical shooter has gone through multiple iterations, each one commanding its own loyal following.

None, however, have reached the same level of FPS dominance as Global Offensive. More than just a generational glow up, Global Offensive added a progression system that radically altered the nature of player engagement in the series.

Its free-to-play structure has also proven a big winner and cosmetic microtransactions have given rise to some of the most absurdly priced digital loot ever seen in gaming.

Whether you consider that a positive thing or not, at its core, Global Offensive is still the unrivaled champion of the tactical FPS for good reason – it just feels good to play. It’s something quite astonishing that all these years later you can still log onto Steam at any given time and see CS:GO sitting pretty at the top of the charts.

7) Adopt Me (Roblox) – 1,920,000

Roblox and dog in Adopt Me
Image Source: Uplift Games; Roblox Corporation via Twinfinite

How do you even begin to contend with something on the scale of Roblox? There are no official stats for the total number of players across all Roblox experiences at any given time, but if there were there’s a very strong possibility that it might be sitting at number 1 on this list.

Instead we’ve chosen to place Adopt Me here at number 7. With almost 2 million concurrent players at it’s peak, Adopt Me is one of only four games on the metaverse platform to have exceeded 1 million total concurrent players as of March 2023. The other three being Pet Simulator X, Blox Fruits, and Brookhaven RP.

With Roblox set to expand to PlayStation consoles and Meta VR headsets, who knows what players could dream up next. Could a single Roblox game one day achieve the number 1 spot on this list alone? We wouldn’t count it out.

6) Lineage M – 2,100,000

Lineage M promo shot
Image Source: NCSoft

A huge franchise in its native South Korea, the Lineage games are some of the most popular MMOs of all time. Like Fantasy Westward Journey however it didn’t hit its full stride until the game was ported to mobile.

Lineage M was released in 2017 and quickly achieved a whopping peak of 2.1 million simultaneous players. Not bad for a game that looks as though it hasn’t changed one bit since the original PC version launched back in 2008.

Naturally, Lineage M 2 followed along with a handful of other hugely successful Lineage mobile titles. Although the series has never had much of an impact stateside, Amazon’s announcement that it will be taking on publishing responsibilities for Throne and Liberty (aka Lineage 3), could turn all that around.

5) Dungeon Fighter Online – 3,000,000

Fighting multiple enemies in Dungeon Fighter Online
Image Source: Nexon via Twinfinite

Now we’re getting into some truly obscene numbers. You may have only heard of Dungeon Fighter Online in passing, but this single game alone has reportedly grossed more than the entirety of other media franchises including Mario, Dragon Ball, and the Avengers.

It’s no surprise then, that publisher Nexon boasted that the game had reached 3 million concurrent players in China back in 2012.

Again, this is another case of a game never having caught on anywhere near as much overseas, even though the game has been available for many years. 2022 did however see the successful worldwide release of DNF Duel, a fighting game based on the franchise, so don’t be surprised to see future installments making waves over here too.

4) PUBG: Battlegrounds – 3,257,248+

A player shooting another player in a truck in PUBG
Image Source: Bluehole Studio

Still the ultimate battle royale experience for many, PUBG basically took over the competitive multiplayer scene in 2017, eclipsing even some of the most established games for peak concurrent players.

PUBG was created by Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene, known for his contribution to H1Z1’s popular King of the Hill modes. This was his attempt to build his vision of a military simulation battle royale title from the ground up, and the rest, they say, is history.

In less than a year, the game had completely transformed the landscape of multiplayer gaming, forcing every other FPS franchise to frantically hobble together their over battle royale mode.

Six years after the game hit its peak concurrency figure of 3,257,248 players, PUBG still sits pretty at the top of Steam’s all-time concurrent player list. It should be noted this figure did not include Xbox One figures, which we know had a 3 million strong pool of players at this time.

3) League of Legends – 8,000,000

League of Legends Promo Shot
Image Source: Riot Games

Taking the MOBA gameplay loop established by titles like the original DOTA, League of Legends streamlined the experience into a faster and more accessible package. The MOBA genre’s growth was explosive in its wake, practically transforming the face of competitive gaming overnight.

LoL remains the king all these years after its 2009 launch, with esports competitions still raking in millions of viewers and offering huge prize pools. Crushing record after record, its peak concurrent playerbase cracked 8 million the last time it was reported back in 2019.

There’s no wonder that Riot games have been so quick to expand the franchise with more games and an anime. Don’t expect the world of Runeterra to stop growing anytime soon.

2) CrossFire – 8,000,000 +

4 characters aiming guns in CrossFire
Image Source: NEOWIZ

When thinking of popular FPS titles, Call of Duty, Destiny, and Halo probably spring to mind. You’re certainly unlikely to think of CrossFire, an astronomically popular South Korean shooter that has slowly gained traction on a global scale.

Unbelievably the game topped 8 million concurrent players sometime around 2020, but you’ll still rarely hear it mentioned in general conversation stateside.

The free-to-play tactical shooter plays a little like Counter-Strike, in which players chose from two separate Mercenary Groups and play in different game modes. Traditional modes such as team deathmatch and bomb defusal are joined by various horde modes.

It’s hard to place a finger on what exactly makes CrossFire so appealing. Several sequels and spin-offs have been published to limited success, but with a film adaptation under development we surely haven’t seen the last of the CrossFire name.

1) Fortnite Battle Royale – 8.3 million

Fortnite Promo Shot
Image Source: Epic Games

Surely one of the biggest comeback stories in video gaming history, Fortnite’s original PvE experience was met with a middling reception and enjoyed only a modest community of players.

Then, everything changed. With the clever release of a battle royale mode akin to the massively popular PUBG – which was itself recording biblical player counts at the time – developer Epic Games transformed Fornite into one of the world’s most popular titles in the space of fewer than six months.

The free-to-play game features the same last-man-standing gameplay as its rival, in which players parachute onto an island, scavenge for weapons and resources, and then duke it out to the death.

The big twist is that the base game’s building mechanics remain intact, adding a fresh spin to the formula. It’s proven a winning formula, with its 8.3 million concurrent player number wrestling the record away from its rival PUBG in 2018.

That does it for the most popular games, ranked by peak concurrent players. That makes these among the most played games ever.


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Author
James Crosby
James was a freelance writer for Twinfinite, typically covering new releases.
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.