Top 7 Programming Languages for Game Development

10 Jan 2021

Do you know how many gamers there are worldwide? There are over 2.7 billion gamers as of 2020, and the number is consistently increasing. There are different categories of games such as:

  • 2D
  • 3D
  • Console
  • PC
  • Flash
  • Online
  • Mobile

VR and AR gaming are in trend, and 48% of gaming studios specifically focus on these areas. This statistical data clearly shows that game development is still a viable skill to learn in 2020, and there is a lot of room for new developers as well.

Moreover, the gaming industry is expected to grow by 12% CAGR from 2020-2025, which will create even more opportunities for game developers.

Gaming Stats
Source: Newzoo

There are several programming languages used for game development, but not all of them can provide you with opportunities for growth. Here are our top 7 game development languages to help you choose your best option:

1. C++

C++ is the most popular programming language used by game developers. Many popular games such as Counter-Strike and Warcraft are made using C++. The language provides developers with direct control over the graphical and hardware process.

This object-oriented programming language is a little difficult to learn for newbie developers, but the code in C++ is organized in reusable blocks with specified classes and objects.

The uses of C++ are not just limited to game development. It is also a reliable language for the development of operating systems, browsers, GUI-based systems, and banking applications.

Many modern 3D engines, such as Unreal Engine, are developed using C++. The language supports a range of engines and frameworks for game development such as:

  • Unreal Engine
  • Godot
  • CryEngine
  • Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL)
  • Simple and Fast Media Library (SFML)

If you are new to programming, then C++ might be your best choice because it teaches you root concepts related to object-oriented programming.

C++ is also considered as one of the top languages for PC development, and it will give you an extra edge. You can start your learning journey by choosing one of the best C++ courses to learn basic to advanced level concepts.

Languages Share
Source: Scand

2. Java

Java is an object-oriented programming language that was created in 1995. Java relates to C++ as well, because both of these are object-oriented languages with multiple applications. This language is extensively used to develop cross-platform applications and it has a range of other uses as well.

Java is used to develop both desktop and mobile games, but it is more concentrated on the Android platform. It is also capable of using multi-threading technology, which is good for optimized gaming performance.

Java needs a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) environment to run its applications and games. If JVM is available on any platform, then all Java applications will be capable of running there. The same rule applies to Linux systems as well.

Java is also considered a strong language for backend and server development, which makes it a reliable option for multiplayer game development without the need for any excessive libraries. Some of the popular Java engines and frameworks are:

  • jMonkeyEngine
  • Lightweight Java Game Library (LWJGL)
  • libGDX
  • LITIengine

If you already know the concepts of object-oriented programming, then Java will be easier to learn. Otherwise you can choose any of the best Java courses to start from the basics.

3. JavaScript

JavaScript first appeared in 1995 and since then it has had an integral role in web development and design. The language is used in combination with HTML and CSS to make pages more responsive and attractive.

HTML forms the basic layout of a page, CSS controls the design side, and JavaScript adds responsiveness to our webpages.

The uses of JavaScript are not just limited to web-development, and it is also being used to develop web-based games with the help of HTML5.

Flash is now being completely obsolete, which is creating a new opportunity for JavaScript developers to create web-based games with HTML5. JavaScript is capable of developing interactive games due to its object-oriented and event-driven system.

JavaScript is also a viable language for creating mobile games. Many JavaScript-based frameworks and libraries such as Express and Node.js are extremely reliable for multiplayer game development. Other popular frameworks and engines include:

  • Phaser
  • Babylon.js
  • PixiJS
  • GDevelop
  • ImpactJS

If you want to learn the language concepts, make sure to choose one of JavaScript courses that are focused on game development.

4. C#

Microsoft created C# as a general-purpose language in 2000. The main goal of this language was to support .NET frameworks. Java and C++ are both popular game-development languages, but their object-oriented language concepts are a little difficult to learn.

C# provides you with the best out of both the Java and C++ worlds. The concepts of the language are easier to learn for newbie developers, and the wide applications of C# also make it a versatile option.

C# is the base of many popular game development engines. The language is known for its efficiency and scalability. The popular Unity Engine also uses C# as the default programming language and comes loaded with modern Unity libraries.

A large percentage of game developers already use Unity Engine for high-end games by using a default language, which makes C# a reliable option for new developers. Many game engines support C# language including:

  • Unity
  • Godot
  • CryEngine
  • Microsoft XNA Game Studio
  • Stride

If you want to develop games with Unity Engine, then choose from the best C# courses to cover the basics that will improve your game development skills.

5. Python

Python is a versatile language that is comparatively easy to learn due to its simple syntax. The uses of Python include:

The syntax of Python might be simple, but the language itself is extremely powerful. Python supports Object-Oriented Programming just like Java and C++.

A Pygame framework for Python game development is also becoming popular. This framework allows developers to design game prototypes faster than any other language. Python is capable of creating simple games, but its frameworks are still not powerful enough to support complex gaming concepts.

Java and C++ frameworks allow developers to efficiently work on game development, while this isn’t the case with Python. These are some Python frameworks for game development:

  • Pygame
  • PyKyra
  • Pyglet
  • PyOpenGL
  • Kivy

If you are interested in learning Python for game development, then choose the best Python course to learn the concepts, then move to any of its frameworks.

If you want to learn game development in general, there are some awesome courses for game development available to guide you through different language options, frameworks, and basic concepts.

6. Lua

The Lua language was created in 1993 with the purpose of regulating data configuration operations. The language was inspired by two other languages named SOL and DEL.

The Lua language also became the inspiration for the development of other popular languages such as JavaScript, Ruby, and C++. The uses of the Lua language include:

  • industrial applications
  • embedded systems
  • game development

Lua is still a good option for game developers due to its simplicity, ease of use, and syntax. The language has a basic structure and easily understandable syntax. The language itself is very flexible as it can be used in combination with other languages to develop top-level games and engines. These engines include:

  • Corona
  • Stingray
  • CryEngine
  • Defold

There are hundreds of popular multiplayer and offline games that are made with Lua languages including:

  • Dota 2
  • Crysis
  • Far Cry
  • Roblox
  • Dark Souls

If you want to start from the basics then pick a course for the Lua language and start practicing with your favorite engines.

7. Swift

Swift is considered one of the top languages for mobile development. The language was developed by Apple in 2014 for its own iOS and other platforms. Swift has already surpassed Objective-C in terms of popularity because of its functionality.

The language will soon become an industry-standard for iOS development. The uses of the Swift language are not just limited to desktop or mobile iOS application development, and it is also widely used for developing iOS mobile games.

Swift is especially popular for its features like type safety, automatic memory management, and pointer security. These functionalities are not seen in other popular industry standard languages like Objective-C. The following engines are used for Swift game development:

  • OpenGL
  • Box2D

If you want to be an iOS developer, then Swift is the most considerable option due to its special features. Make sure to check out the best Swift courses to set you on your iOS development journey.


A programming language is a prerequisite if you want to get into game development. You need to have a stronger grasp of gaming engines that are compatible with the language you learn.

If you want to master Unity engine, then C# is the most considerable option. Python and Lua are two other great choices that support a number of gaming engines.

In order to dominate the iOS gaming platform, you can never go wrong with Swift. If you want to learn game development for a specific platform, here are your options:

  • Mobile Game Development: Java
  • Console Game Development: C++
  • Windows Game Development: C#
  • iOS Game Development: Swift
  • Browser Game Development: HTLM5, JavaScript
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