Geographic Trends in Gaming: Who Plays What, Where?

October 10, 2016

Gaming, often touted as being larger than Hollywood, is an international phenomenon, with a sprawling YouTube community. We’ve been publishing a monthly list of the games trending globally for some time, but recently got to wondering: are there distinct geographic quirks to gaming on YouTube? Is everyone, everywhere, watching Minecraft videos? Or do some countries have a preference for a unique title?

To find out, we selected the 251 countries with the highest gaming viewership by watchtime on YouTube in 2016. Then, we examined which games consistently made the top 25 most-popular games in each country. Here’s what we found:

  • To no one’s surprise, there are only two games that appear on the most-popular lists of all 25 countries: Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto V.
  • Of the two, Minecraft is the more popular, at #1 everywhere apart from Vietnam and Thailand. Even there, it only slips so far as #2.
  • There are also two games that are popular in nearly every country’s top 25: Pokemon Go, which makes the most-watched list everywhere apart from Russia, and Five Nights at Freddy’s, which is popular in every country we looked at apart from Taiwan and Japan.

We also examined games that were uniquely popular in each country — that is, which games appeared on the most-popular list of one country, but not others? Ten games, which you can see below, made the cut:

  • Due to the tremendous popularity of football in North America, Madden NFL ‘16 takes the #1 spot in the U.S. It’s also the only sports game on the list.
  • Three of the games had strong RPG elements (e.g., Puzzles & Dragons in Japan, Tower of Saviors in Taiwan, Dofus in France).

-- Posted by the YouTube Culture & Trends Team

1 Countries included: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain, Indonesia, India, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Taiwan, Ukraine, United States, Vietnam