Entertainment

Gen Z’s Favorite Video Games: ‘Minecraft,’ and Then Everything Else

The sandbox game has a bigger fandom among Gen Z Americans than do ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Fortnite,’ per Morning Consult data

Graphic conveying Gen Z's favorite video games, including Minecraft
Seventy-one percent of Gen Zers said they are fans of "Minecraft," making it the most popular video game franchise among the generation, according to Morning Consult data. (Nintendo, Unsplash / Morning Consult artwork by Chloe Phan)

Gen Zers are no longer a mere fascination: They now wield serious purchasing power and cultural capital as they put their imprints on the global economy. Morning Consult surveyed Americans between the ages of 13 and 25 about their media tastes and habits, relationships with brands and interest in sports in order to better understand where, exactly, the youngest adult generation is now taking us.

Read Our Gen Z Coverage: Gen Z and Sports | Favorite Pro Leagues | Favorite Athletes | Sports Influencer Q&A | Favorite Celebrities | Social Media Usage | Preferred Online Content | Opinion on Advertising | Movie Marketing Trends | Favorite Film Franchises | Favorite Genres | Preferred Entertainment LengthSurprising Tidbits

You might think a video game like “Fortnite” — the cartoonish, free-to-play battle royale released in 2017 and aimed at younger consumers — would be the title of choice among Gen Z gamers. But it’s actually an older and far more intricate game that has emerged as the generation’s overwhelming favorite.

“Minecraft,” the 3D sandbox survival game that debuted in 2011, has a bigger fandom among Gen Z than any other video game, according to a new Morning Consult survey of Americans between the ages of 13 and 25. Nearly 3 in 4 Gen Zers (71%) identified as fans of “Minecraft,” compared with just 32% of the general population who said the same.

Following “Minecraft” in popularity among Gen Z was the “Grand Theft Auto” series (63%) and the “Call of Duty” franchise (58%). “Fortnite” finished in a tie for sixth, with 44% of the generation identifying as fans of the game. (The Morning Consult survey did not include sports franchises, such as FIFA and Madden.)

‘Minecraft’ Tops List of Gen Z’s Favorite Video Games

The shares of respondents who said they are fans of the following video game franchises:

Survey conducted Nov. 2-8, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 25, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-3 percentage points. A separate survey was conducted Nov. 2-4, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,210 adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

It’s “Minecraft’s” world, Gen Z’s just building in it

  • The gap between the Gen Z “Minecraft” fan base (71%) and that of the general population (32%) was the widest of any game included in the survey.
  • “Among Us,” a game in which users figure out who among their party is a saboteur that became a massive hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, ranked fourth among Gen Z at 54% — more than double the support from the general population (26%).
  • Only three game franchises included in the survey were more popular among the general population than with Gen Z: “Final Fantasy,” “League of Legends” and “World of Warcraft.”
  • “The Last of Us,” which will receive a TV series adaptation on HBO in January, counted a third of Gen Zers and a quarter of the general population as fans.

What makes “Minecraft” so popular with Gen Z

Unlike more straightforward shooter games like “Halo” or “Apex Legends,” “Minecraft” creates a unique experience for every user. Players can explore, modify and fight in procedurally generated 3D worlds with infinite terrain across several different game modes. It’s more than just a game to play — it’s a virtual space in which to hang out. Other games with similar capabilities, like “Roblox,” also ranked highly among Gen Zers.

That’s chiefly where Gen Z differs from their older counterparts. The cohort uses video games not just for competition, but also as a primary means of socializing. Morning Consult research found that Gen Zers actually spend more time interacting with their peers inside video games than they do at school or at work. Much of those social interactions, it would appear, are taking place in “Minecraft.” Who needs the outside world when you have a virtual one entirely of you and your friends’ creation?

The Nov. 2-8, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 25, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. A separate Nov. 2-4, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.