First-person shooters Every year, games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Valorant break records for how many people play them. Also, Let’s Play Streams, which show FPS games, are the most popular things to watch on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. So the question is, why are FPS games so popular? Let’s find out!
Most people like First-Person Shooter or FPS games because they are easy to play and can be controlled with a mouse, keyboard, or game controller. Many first-person shooters are easy for new players to pick up and play, but also hard for more experienced players. FPS is one of the most popular types of games because it lets you play with or against other people.
There are some other reasons as well. So let’s get out the magnifying glass and look closer. But first, let me tell you what FPS games are first!
What Exactly Are FPS Games?
The First-person Shooter, or FPS, is a subgenre of action-packed shooter games that are usually about fighting with guns and other weapons that fire projectiles from a first-person perspective.
Games like the Call of Duty and Halo franchises, which are huge hits on both consoles and PCs, or games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which has kept its huge fan base and popularity over the past ten years and thrived as an Esport, are often used as a way to get into video games. But why are these games so well-liked?
First-person shooters are great for people who like the thrill of shooting guns and getting into a virtual battleground. FPS games are not just for gun fans, though. They test your “gamer instincts.” To win, you’ll need to have quick reflexes, be aware of your surroundings, and work well with your team.
Why Are FPS Games So Popular?
Below are the complete reasons why FPS games are so popular. Let’s check them all out!
Visual And Audio
Since Wolfenstein 3D, the graphics and everything else have gotten so much better that the first games in the sports genre are almost as good as TV broadcasts.
As long as your computer has the right graphics performance, computer games, especially first-person shooters, have the same visual quality as movies. In recent years, game consoles have repeatedly raised the bar for how good graphics should be.
In Escape from Tarkov, a raid at dusk or PUBG, looking at the vast, snowy landscapes of Vikendi will make us feel like we’re in a different world for a long time.
Along with the graphics, the sound quality has also gotten better and better. Because our senses are fooled so well, first-person shooters are a treat for the eyes and ears.
When sound and video are added to the game principle, the experience is always made stronger. In many FPS games, you have to worry about your own life. When someone dies, they often lose things, time, and the hard-worked-on game figure.
Players not only don’t want to lose the game, but they also really care about the digital objects they’ve collected.
In some first-person shooters, mission goals are not put at risk by things like sneaking up on people or getting rid of enemies as quietly as possible.
And playing as a team adds more emotional pressure, especially in multiplayer shooters. Who wants to look like a fool and be the one to blame if the whole team dies?
Depending on how the game works, there may also be a time element on top of that.
In Battle Royale games, the playable game area gets more crowded, which forces the players or teams to work together. At some point, the player will not be able to avoid a fight.
All of these things lead to stress, tension, and emotional highs and lows. First-person shooters have everything, from giving up in frustration to beating hundreds of opponents and winning in a blaze of glory.
Best For Streaming
Even though not every gamer likes first-person shooters, it can be very hard to stop watching games like Counterstrike or Valorant on a stream.
“Watching” has been perfected by the makers. In observer mode, the camera moves automatically, there is information about how much health and equipment is left, and there is a live strategic overview of the whole game situation. This makes it very easy for new viewers to keep up with the game.
Beginners can also learn a lot about the game, the players, and the teams from streamers or professional commentators.
In the meantime, it is possible to cheer along like in traditional sports at the stadium or on TV.
Almost all first-person shooter games try to be playable on multiple platforms. All players are included, no matter if they use a PC, a console, or a mobile device.
This is better for some games. Not at all for some.
Just being able to play a first-person shooter on a phone or tablet makes the genre more popular than other types of games that can’t be played on the go because they aren’t easy to use (e.g., flight simulations).
Easy To Learn, Hard To Master
First-person shooters are the easiest to play with a mouse and keyboard on a computer. With a console, it’s even easier to use.
Many players already know how to type and click with the keyboard and mouse. In the end, these are the same kinds of movements that regular computer users make, like when they use a word processing program.
In a first-person shooter, it’s very easy to get off to a good start. At first, anyone can join.
But, depending on how hard the game is, you have to learn and remember a lot of little things to become a top player.
Using the mouse to click around and move through hallways or the open landscape seems so easy. But anyone who has played a first-person shooter game for more than a few hours knows that skills can always be better, even after tens of thousands of hours of play.
Like in classic sports like basketball, where the game itself looks very simple, you have a lot of respect for the NBA players. This is like how the best FPS players do it.
In a first-person shooter, it’s easy to tell the difference between a high-killer and a casual gamer by how well they time their moves, aim, and play the game.
For example, a lot of people watch “Shroud,” a streamer and former pro gamer, play FPS games. Every day, he amazes his audience with amazing game situations, which are more common in FPS games than in other types.
No one has to play by themselves any more. Okay, a small rule: there should be a way to connect to the internet.
Especially in FPS games, working as a team is very important. So putting together a team of two, four, or five people to complete a mission or win a match has become the norm.
As a first-person shooter player, you can’t avoid talking to other players, whether they are friends or strangers, in your language or in a different language.
So, the social factor in this genre is very high and very important, which makes it more popular.
There are many competitive game modes in FPS games. So, a scene quickly turns into a competition between teams of actors, some of whom are very experienced. If the company also advertises the sport with tournaments, leagues, and cash prizes, like they did with Fortnite, the first-person shooter game becomes an instant draw.
If you look at the prize money for the big computer game competitions right now, first-person shooters are at the very top. So, players can find many small tournaments and leagues and play for smaller prize pools, even at lower levels, on competitive platforms like FACEIT or ESL.
This makes both the game and the genre more interesting. Simply put, more money is moving around in the ecosystem because of first-person shooters than any other genre.
Let’s compare an old game like Tetris to a new game like PUBG, which is a first-person shooter. Not possible? We can, yes.
Okay, the games don’t have much in common, but there is one thing I want to talk about: the ways you can tune them.
You can’t change anything in Tetris. It doesn’t even matter what keyboard you use.
On the other hand, PUBG starts to be tuned from the first minute.
What is the best way to set the graphics? How can I get my system to make more frames per second? Which mouse will help me aim the most? How do I adjust the sound settings so I can hear the steps of enemies as well as possible? And the list goes on and on.
So first-person shooters can be a lot of fun to talk about. And whenever something is talked about in a very controversial way, the number of people interested in it always goes up. On the other hand, there isn’t much to talk about when you play a flight simulator or Tetris.
No Extra Equipment
First-person shooter games can be played right away on a PC, a console, or a smartphone. There’s no need for weird extras. You can use a mouse, keyboard, or game controller.
So, there aren’t many barriers to getting started, which helps to explain why it’s so popular.
But it’s nice that a player can get better at FPS games by spending money on hardware. For example, getting a heart rate monitor with a higher reading can help aiming a lot. Or, the choice of mousepad affects how well the mouse works.
Once more: Easy to learn how to play, but you need a lot of experience to get good at it. Many players are very interested in this.
How Many Gamers Around The World Play FPS Games?
It’s almost impossible to know how many people are playing. Most studies talk about sales or downloads of games from big platforms like Steam. But all browser games and games made by small companies are not counted, so these numbers can only give an idea.
Also, genres are not always separated, partly because many games have elements of more than one genre and partly because you can’t look at every sub-genre.
Still, they can be used to get rough measurements.
Based on the 2019 NewZoo Global Games Market Report and a recent study by DFC Intelligence, we can assume that 3 billion people on this planet are now playing some kind of video game.
3 billion!!! About 450 million of them live in the United States.
Again, we can only guess how many people play a certain type of game, since most gamers like many different types of games.
In 2018, Statista released a report about the sales of video games around the world. First-person shooters made up 20.9% of sales. About one-third of all gamers like to play first-person shooters, according to other sources.
Math is a winner!
About 1 billion FPS players make up one-third of the 3 billion gamers in the world.
Multiple sources say that one billion gamers around the world play first-person shooters.
So the whole cake is huge, and the FPS piece is still huge.
It makes sense that companies like Riot Games, Tencent, and Activision spend a lot of money making FPS games and building a community around them.
How Big Is The FPS Industry?
Statista says that the world’s sales of video games will reach 160 billion dollars in 2020.
Compared to the movie business (which is worth about $45 billion) or the music business as a whole, video games have been the most popular form of entertainment for a long time (approx. 100 billion dollars).
Statista says that about 20.9% of games sold are first-person shooters.
About $32 billion, or one-fifth of the market, is a nice sum.
Only action games have a bigger share of the market, with just under 27%, or about $43 billion.
So it’s safe to say that FPS games are a big deal in the gaming world.
If you want to know more about how the gaming industry compares to other forms of entertainment, take a look here:
How Have FPS Games Evolved And What Is The Future Of It?
FPS games have become a mainstay of the gaming world, and for a good reason. There are a lot of different reasons why people like to play them, like wanting to shoot guns, playing with friends, or getting into a flow state and making their shots.
Every year, more and more first-person shooter (FPS) games come out, and popular series like Halo, Call of Duty, and even the latest Quake game, Quake Champions, have a lot of fans.
FPS games have changed a lot over the years, and as technology has gotten better, the games have gotten more complicated. Early First-Person-Shooter (FPS) games were made for low-powered computers that didn’t have graphic cards or drives or even know what they were.
Graphics did get better over time, and there were some changes in the 1970s and 1980s, but in 1999, Nvidia released the GeForce 256, which was the first of a long line of GPUs that broke new ground. If you want to see how graphics have changed over time, this might help.
As both hardware and software got better, FPS games got more complicated, both in terms of how they work and how they look. The fast inverse square root algorithm is a great example of this. It was used most often in Quake III Arena, which was one of the first FPS games to use 3D graphics a lot. This lets the computer calculate lighting and shading angles very quickly, which cuts down on the time it takes to render.
The genre has become even more flexible as new ideas have been added, such as using AI in games. In a number of games, AI-powered bots help players practice and get better at shooting. In fact, 2005’s F.E.A.R. by Monolith Production is still remembered for being one of the first FPS games with smart AI (First Encounter Assault Recon.)
The AI that the player faces is what makes it different from other FPS games at the time. It makes decisions quickly and takes into account even the smallest things the player does. For example, if a player hides behind a barricade in the game, the enemy AI quickly figures out what the player did and throws a grenade to kill the player.
To be fair, many first-person shooter games have become more focused on multiplayer in the past few years (single-player campaigns are still going strong though). Because of this, the AIs that are used are pretty simple and are mostly used for training.
Every few years, there are big improvements in graphics, like more powerful graphics cards or better code, which makes FPS games look more polished. In fact, more and more strong narrative-focused FPS games are being released, mostly single-player, where a key selling point is the strength of the graphics.
Games like Halo Infinite, Metro Exodus, and the Far Cry series were hugely popular because they had great characters, touching stories, and, of course, beautiful graphics.
FPS games often mix mechanics to keep people interested. A lot of the first games were shooters where you had to run and shoot. Apex Legends is another example of an FPS game with more than one subgenre. It is mostly a First-Person Shooter game, but it is also a Hero Shooter and a Battle Royale.
Valorant is a First-Person Shooter (FPS), but it’s also a Hero Shooter and relies more on teamwork and strategy than other FPS games. Both of these games are also free to play, which is a trend we’re seeing more and more of as more games come out as GaaS and choose to make money through microtransactions and in-app purchases.
As for FPS games in the future, that will depend on what kinds of technological advances are made. It seems like VR shooter games have a lot of potential. Half-Life With Alyx, you can feel like you’re really holding your guns because each one is assigned to a single hand.
You’ll also jump in and out of cover when you’re fighting, which forces you to use your whole body and gives you an experience that has never been done before. Other innovations, like cloud gaming, can make it easier to play single-player shooters that focus on story: they can make detailed and beautiful graphic worlds without requiring players to buy expensive gaming hardware.
Which Genres Are Popular Aside From FPS Games?
A Statista report shows how popular each type of music will be in the US in 2020. From this, we can get a basic idea of how popular music will be in the US.
Most action games, like martial arts games, are more popular than first-person shooter games. Mortal Kombat or Tekken are great magnets for consoles. Games that are quick, easy, and fun to look at, and where you can win or lose directly against another player.
After that, there are action-adventure stories like the “Assassin’s Creed” series, which are a mix of two popular types of stories. Like a good book, a story can pull the player in. Cyberpunk 2077 by CD Project is a great example of a book with action and adventure. You could say that there is still action, but you have to use your brain a little more.
Strategy gamers are even better at planning and looking ahead than other gamers. Even in this area, there are game series that have been very popular for a long time. Some games that come to mind are Civilizations, Total War, Starcraft, and many more.
Many gamers play what are called “casual” games, which are small browser games that can’t really be put into a genre.
First-person shooters and adventure games are both popular, according to sales data. This genre includes games like God of War, Far Cry, and even Grand Theft Auto.
Let’s look at the last column in the table. First, some genres aren’t as popular as others, but you can still find a few bestsellers in those genres.
Role-playing, sports, and simulation games are still big niches. Sports games are good for a wide range of people and can be played by the whole family, but not all sports can be played digitally.
More and more people are playing sports games in the living room. Using motion-capture techniques, the consoles of today are even better at putting the movements of classic sports into the digital world. So soon, going bowling with the family could be just as fun as going somewhere live.
Is there anything else?
MMO, MMORPG, and MOBA add a new element to the above genres: competition against any number of other people on this planet. Not in the sense of a leaderboard, but in the sense of living in the same digital world.
From these numbers, it looks like “Massive Multiplayer Online” (MMO) games are not very popular. There is, of course, a much bigger problem with spending a lot of time and sometimes money on a game.
The player builds a life or an empire in most MMO games. There is a lot of communication and complex diplomatic relationships are simulated. At the same time, many different types of resources are taken care of. So, it took a lot of work to have a lot of fun.
This is on the opposite end of the spectrum from an action game like “Mortal Kombat.”
But maybe these numbers are a little low because most MMO games are free and the company that makes them makes money by selling things inside the game.
FPS games are so popular because of the innovation developers have made. Every gaming company has their own set of ideas that most gamers love. I don’t think that the FPS industry will die soon.