In brief: What do you think was the most-played game of this year so far? Elden Ring comes to mind, given its huge popularity, but it only managed twentieth place on the list, beaten by numerous classics. Interestingly, half the top ten games didn't even launch this decade, while the three most recent titles were released last year.
The statistics come from The NPD Group's PlayerPulse and were shared by the company's Executive Director (and video game industry advisor) Mat Piscatella. He notes that the list is in chronological order, so while Minecraft's 2009 release makes it the oldest, it wasn't necessarily the most-played game last year.
Here are the top 10 most played games of Q1 2022 in the U.S. ranked by year of initial release. (Source: The NPD Group's PlayerPulse)— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) May 24, 2022
Half of the top 10 weren't launched this decade. Elden Ring ranked 20th. Ahead of it were games like Rocket League, World of Warcraft and Skyrim. pic.twitter.com/eWXKVMFHZj
Half the games in the top ten were released before 2020: Minecraft, GTA V, The Sims 4, Fortnite, and Among Us. The rest of the list comprises Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Warzone, Madden NFL 22, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and NBA 2K22. The most-played game itself wasn't revealed, but it's hard to imagine it being something other than GTA V, Call of Duty: Warzone, or Minecraft.
Piscatella notes that evergreen titles and huge live service games will always attract a lot of players' time, attention, and spending, making it hard for new titles to break through. Strong social communities also keep players engaged. He added that services like Game Pass and PlayStation Plus also play an important part, and that more AAA titles should be available on subscription services the same day they launch, thereby helping them get funded and take on evergreen titles.
Elden Ring, which sold 13.4 million copies as of April, was the twentieth most-played game, sitting behind older titles such as Rocket League, World of Warcraft, and Skyrim. But it's important to remember that the list is for Q1. This period is usually recorded as January to the end of March, so Elden Ring would have only been out for one month when the data was collected.