Online gaming has exploded in popularity over the past 15 years, giving us some of our fondest experiences to date and helping us cultivate friendships from across the world.
There are so many online games across various genres, from sports to shooters, battle royale games, and even ones that let you get creative — all with your friends.
It's impossible to break down a definitive list of the best online games, but we can certainly discuss some of our favorites. There are nearly endless options for the best online games you can play depending on what you like, so here are a few to get you started. These are 15 fun online games you can play with friends.
15 Fun Online Games to Play With Friends
Let's start things off with Fortnite, one of the most influential games of the past five years. This game popularized the Battle Pass and battle royale mode, with an emphasis on team play that keeps you coming back for more. It's great for kids and since it's free on a slew of platforms, you can't really go wrong…even if your aim isn't very good.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Nintendo has a rich history of beloved characters and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a culmination of that, paying homage to famous stars like Link, Mega Man, Pikachu, and of course, Mario himself. With over 80 fighters to choose from, a ton of stages, and various modes to try, it's easy to see why this is one of the most popular fighting games of all time.
Call of Duty: Warzone
While Fortnite certainly brought the battle royale mode to the forefront, Call of Duty: Warzone capitalized on that, giving shooter fans a much more mature multiplayer experience. It features the same premise of being the last team standing, but with a more intricate weapon system, a ton of in-game objectives to complete, and more — all in the beloved Call of Duty: Modern Warfare engine.
The original version of Destiny 2 wasn't much to write home about, but it has since become one of the most famous gear-based online shooters in history. It appeals to a dedicated audience of millions of players and features tons to do — with an emphasis on collecting the best gear possible. It also just feels good to play. There are a lot of gear-based shooters out there, but few come close to Destiny 2.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Perhaps you're looking for something a bit more casual. If so, you should check out Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. This is also a battle royale game, but very different from the ones we've mentioned above. Instead, it's a party game that leans into platforming with a party game vibe. You'll need to run through the obstacle courses to be the last person standing in this game.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has evolved tremendously since its early days and is now one of the most popular competitive shooters out there. It features a more tactical spin, with round-based modes that do not feature respawns, raising the stakes when compared to more casual games. It features a slew of weapons and cosmetics, along with an in-game economy that makes it hard to put down.
What's great about Rocket League is that it's still fun, even if you're bad at it. The premise? Soccer with cars — and it's just as silly as you'd expect. The physics add to the fun, leading to some hilarious moments that keep you coming back for more. The nice thing is that you can play it competitively or casually, so it's great for all skill levels.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
What more can be said about Animal Crossing: New Horizons? It's a game that — for many of us — helped us get through some trying times during 2020, partially due to being able to explore your friends' islands online. There's something so relaxing about hanging out on your island, especially when you're joined by your friends. During a time when we can't do much traveling in real life, Animal Crossing allows us to take a virtual vacation to exotic places and we love it for that.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo is something special and while the series has ebbed and flowed in quality over the years, The Master Chief Collection allows you to play the best parts all in one convenient place. Whether you want to play in competitively or cooperatively, this collection features Halo 1 – 4, along with ODST and Reach, with all the multiplayer maps from each game. It's a remarkable compilation that doesn't' get enough credit.
Diablo III takes the loot-based formula but features a classic dungeon-crawling system that is still popular to this day. The best is when you've got a group of friends to blast through dungeons with, as you help each other take down bosses and defeat enemies. The various classes help keep this game fresh, each with their own unique abilities and playstyles. If you're into classic hack ‘n slash dungeon crawlers, this is the game for you.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV is one of the best turnaround stories in video game history. When it first launched in 2010, it was an absolute mess, but has since gone on to become one of the most successful MMORPGs ever — even outranking the likes of World of Warcraft. After 10 major expansions, this game has reached over 20 million registered players, and it's easy to see why. It's home to satisfying raids, fantastic gameplay, and an engaging narrative.
Sometimes, you just want to mess around with your friends online. That's where GTA Online comes into play. In this game, you've got a massive open world to explore with the goal of earning as much cash as possible. You can do so in many ways like heists or missions, but ultimately every player wants to live their best life in the world of GTA Online. Whether you want lots of properties, yachts, planes, or cars, there's no shortage of things to buy.
Much like Fortnite, Minecraft is incredibly important. It helped foster a way for young players to express their creativity, giving them an approachable way to build anything they could think of. But even if you aren't the creative type, you can still have fun exploring the creations your friends have made, or you can try to survive against the deadly creatures that roam each world. If you decide to host a Minecraft server with your friends, you can play the game entirely by your rules.
Among Us is unique because it's a game that's almost as fun to watch as it is to play. It's a sleuthing game wherein you must determine which of your crewmates is the Impostor — or perhaps you're the Impostor yourself. It's a highly social game that requires its players to study one another to determine who's “sus” and who's not. What's awesome is that it's great for younger players and more mature audiences alike.
Sea of Thieves
Finally, let's discuss Sea of Thieves. This is a pirate game that features many of the loot-based mechanics we've mentioned above. In it, you and your crew must sail across the ocean, visiting islands and collecting as much treasure as you can. You're a pirate after all. Once you've got enough experience, you can take on harder quests, and even a deadly Kraken that loves to destroy pirate ships.
Those are just some of the best online games out there. The beauty of the medium is that there are so many options, from racing games to MMORPGs, huge mobile games like Rise of Kingdoms, space exploration games, and shooters. This list will probably have something for everyone, but there are plenty of other games out there that might appeal to you, as well.
Joseph loves Nintendo and horror games. When he's not writing about video games he can usually be found petting his cats and listening to some Progressive Metal. He thinks Meshuggah is tight.