The Most Popular Video Game Themes and Genres

The video game industry is set to reach a valuation of more than $280 billion by the end of 2024. That level of success, of course, is no accident. It’s the culmination of a lot of industry work that ensures everyone can find a game that they enjoy, regardless of their interests. Today, there are all kinds of game genres, including niche selections such as ‘walking simulator,’ in which players just walk around, and ‘ideal game,’ in which players complete mundane actions such as clicking their mouse. Those genres have not contributed massively to the video game industry’s high valuation.

Others, however, have. Let’s take a look at some of the key genres and styles of game that you’ll find over and over again, including sports games, candy-inspired titles, and battle royale games.

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games are huge, particularly with hardcore gamers. You can argue that they represent the best that the video game world has to offer since they typically feature in-depth characters, outstanding storylines, engaging gameplay, and world-class soundtracks. There are plenty of role-playing games, but given the level of effort required to create such an in-depth world, the number of such games is lower than other types. Still, despite accounting for a smaller percentage of the gaming world, they’re responsible for a huge chunk of the industry’s revenue. For instance, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, one of the greatest RPGs ever made, made more than $1 billion in its first thirty days of release.

Sports Games

Sports games have been popular ever since the beginning of the video game industry. You could even argue that Pong, the first video game that held mass appeal, was a sports game — or, at least, sports-inspired. Since then, the genre has progressed significantly. Today’s sports games have largely the same gameplay as the ones of twenty years ago, but the graphics and effects are significantly better.


Just three games, NBA2k4, FIFA, and Rocket League, account for the majority of sports game popularity. Driving games, which are related to sports games, are also popular.

Sweet Games

Is ‘candy’ a theme? Not traditionally, but given the number of candy-inspired games that are available, we’d have to say that it’s well on its way! You’ll find candy imagery used in a wide range of games, including Candy Crush, which is the 6th highest-grossing mobile game of all time. Candy also forms a big part of Sweet Bonanza, one of the most popular slot games of recent years; while there are fruit symbols in the game, it’s the candies that bring the biggest rewards. Mario Kart 8 also sees extensive use of candy in its imagery, with cookies, gingerbread, and other sweets all present.

Battle Royale

Battle Royale games seemingly came out of nowhere. Even by 2010, the genre had not yet been invented. Over a five-year period between 2015 and 2020, the genre exploded to the point where it’s now one of the most played game types in the world.


Apex Legends, Fortnite, and PUBG: Battlegrounds are three of the most popular games in any genre, not just in the battle royale world. The genre’s sudden rise to the top of the industry is attributed to the engaging gameplay and free-to-play model, which means anyone with a smartphone can play.

Solving Puzzles

Puzzle games have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in large part to improvements in smartphone technology. The vast majority of puzzle games are designed exclusively for smartphones rather than video game consoles. Some of the most downloaded ‘casual’ puzzle games include Wood Nuts & Bolts, Tomb of the Mask, and the aforementioned Candy Crush. More complex puzzle games are also available, including The Room Two, which is a horror-inspired, escape-room-style game, and Gorogoa, a gorgeous puzzle that pushed the genre forward.

With more than 10,000 games released a year on Steam alone, there’s no shortage of game types out there, but it’s the ones we’ve outlined above that you’ll see time and time again.