The 20 Most Popular Video Games of 2020


Most Popular Video Games of 2020

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If you’re connected at all to the gaming world — either through your kids or as a gaming fan yourself — you probably already know about some of the most popular trends in video games right now. But if not, the American market research company the NPD recently released its list of the best-selling video games of 2020 so far. The company looks at digital and retail sales to determine what games people are buying.

While some longtime family favorites are still popular, violent video games like online multiplayer shooters are also dominant, which could be concerning for parents. That’s why each video game comes with an age and content rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, making it crucial for parents to educate themselves about these ratings, so they can decide which video games are appropriate for their child. “Video games get a lot of scrutiny, but parents should also keep in mind the other places their kids might be exposed to violence like movies, TV, and the Internet. At the end of the day, parents have to make a call when it comes to their kids and violent video games,” says Umang Jain, co-founder of the ed tech gaming company SplashLearn.

We’ve looked a NPD’s list, as well as a list of the best-selling games of all time from IGN, a popular video game site, to determine the best video games on the market right now. We’ve included their ratings so you can make an informed purchase if you decide to gift one of these to the gamer in your life.

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1

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Activision
playstation.com

$63.99

Rating: Mature, 17+

This first-person shooter game published by Activision is the 16th overall in the Call of Duty series. It came out in October 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The storyline follows a CIA officer and British forces who team up to try to save the fictional country of Urzikstan from invasion. 

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3

Madden NFL 20

Electronic Arts
gamestop.com

$59.99

Rating: Everyone

This football simulation game published by Electronic Arts is based on the National Football League. This version, which came out in August 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, is the latest in the Madden NFL series.  

4

Borderlands 3

Rating: Mature, 17+

Released in September 2019 from publisher 2K Games, Borderlands 3 is a first-person shooter action game; it shipped more than 5 million copies in its first five days. It’s the sequel to Borderlands 2, which came out in 2012, and is the fourth in the Borderlands series overall.  

5

Mortal Kombat 11

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
amazon.com

Rating: Mature, 17+

This fighting game published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment came out in April 2019 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s the 11th overall installment in the Mortal Kombat series, following Mortal Kombat X, which came out in 2015.

6

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Electronic Arts
amazon.com

Rating: Teen

This action-adventure game published by Electronic Arts came out for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in November 2019. The game takes place in the universe of Star Wars, following Jedi Padawan as he tries to complete his Jedi training and restore the Jedi Order — while action ensues. Fallen Order was the fastest-selling digital launch for any Star Wars game in its first two weeks on the market.

7

Super Smash Bros

Nintendo
amazon.com

$62.94

Rating: Everyone

Released in 2018, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fifth game released in the Super Smash Bros. series. By September 2019, it had sold nearly 16 million copies worldwide — making it the best-selling fighting game ever. In this game, you pick a character and attempt to knock your opponent out of an arena. 

8

Kingdom Hearts III

Rating: Everyone

Released in 2019 by Square Enix for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Kingdom Hearts III is set against various Disney and Pixar worlds. It’s the 12th installment in the Kingdom Hearts series, meant to wrap up the narrative arc that began with the first game. It sold more than 5 million copies in its first week, making it both the fastest-selling and also the best-selling installment in the series. 

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9

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

RatingMature, 17+

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online action game published by Ubisoft in March 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The sequel to 2016’s The Division, this game is set in Washington D.C. as smallpox has decimated the city.  

10

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Rating: Everyone

As its name suggests, Mario Kart 8 is a kart-racing video game and the eighth installment in the series. Published by Nintendo for Wii U in 2014, this game was followed up by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, released in 2017 for the Switch. By the end of 2019, it had sold more than 22 million copies around the world, making it the system’s best-selling game ever. 

11

Fortnite

Rating: Teen

Developed by Epic Games and released in 2017, Fortnite remains one of the most popular video games of 2020. (It won the best multiplayer/competitive game at the 2019 Webby awards.) It has three different modes: Battle Royale, Save the World, and Creative. Because it’s an online active shooter game, it can be controversial among parents.

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13

Roblox

Rating: Everyone, 10+

Roblox is a massively popular multiplayer online game in which players build their own virtual worlds. It was released back in 2006, and as of 2019 data, it had more than 100 million active users.

14

Super Mario Odyssey

Rating: Everyone, 10+

Super Mario Odyssey is Nintendo’s platform game published and released in 2017 — when it scooped up various Game of the Year honors. The game follows the characters Mario and his hat spirit, Cappy, on their adventures in attempts to save Princess Peach.

16

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Sony Interactive Entertainment
amazon.com

Rating: Teen

Based on Marvel Comics’ famous super hero, Spider-Man is an action-adventure game published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2018 for PlayStation 4. The game follows the story of both the Peter Parker and Spider-Man sides of the character — fighting evil while navigating civilian life.

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17

Rocket League

Rating: Everyone 

Rocket League is a soccer-like game in which the players are actually cars powered by rockets. First released in 2015, this game is a sequel to Psyonix’s Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars — but it became far more popular than the original version ever did.

18

League of Legends

Rating: Teen

The multiplayer online battle game League of Legends came out in 2009 — and its popularity has only soared since, gaining viral strength. A full decade later, an estimated 115 million players are playing League of Legends annually.

19

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Rating: Everyone, 10+

This action-adventure game from Nintendo for the Switch and Wii U consoles came out in 2017. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes place at the end of the Zelda storyline: The player controls Link, who wakes up from a 100-year sleep and tries to save the kingdom of Hyrule from Calamity Ganon. This version sold nearly 18 million copies by 2019, to make it the best-selling Zelda game.

20

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Rating: Mature, 17+

Published by Activision in 2018, Call of Duty Black Ops IV is a multiplayer first-person shooter game. It’s the 15th in the Call of Duty series, following up as the sequel to 2015’s Black Ops III. It was Activision’s top digital launch when it came out, grossing more than $500 million worldwide in just the first three days.

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