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10 Best US Hubs for Gamers: Where Does Your City Rank?

Michael Dinich
10 Best US Cities for Gamers: Where Does Your Hometown Rank?
Growing up in the 90s, playing video games was something you did in your spare time or at a sleepover with your pals.

Perhaps you grabbed your N64 3-pronged controller and sprinted to a friend’s house to play Mario Kart after school, or you stayed up all night playing Goldeneye. Needless to say, as the popularity of video games made its quick ascent to becoming a $151 billion industry by 2020, the video game culture emerged. 

Video game stores popped up everywhere, online streaming with your friends became almost a right of passage for many, and all of this led to where we are today: writing articles about the top 10 cities for gamers! 

From download speeds to how many video games are in each city, we will help you identify the top 10 gamer cities:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Irvine, CA
  4. New York, NY
  5. Austin, TX
  6. Atlanta, GA
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Los Angeles, CA
  9. Raleigh, NC
  10. Denver, CO

Note: Internet quality is a composite score based on access to broadband internet and download speeds. Overall gamer environment took into consideration factors such as video game stores, meet-up possibilities, age of residents, and percentage of residents with smartphones. Lastly, other factors included in our rankings were the overall culture, jobs within the video game industry, and college programs. 

Primary Source for Data: Wallet Hub

1. Seattle, WA

Seattle takes the cake as the number 1 video game city in the United States, which is most likely not too surprising. With the presence of big tech all across the west coast and a company called Microsoft, Seattle comes in at number 1 as far as gamer and development opportunities are concerned. 

Of course, to develop, you have to have fast internet, which only falls behind Virginia Beach (the internet is fast there for military purposes). The overall gaming environment ranks in the top 5. 

The rainy weather doesn’t hurt either, as people are more inclined to play video games when they’re stuck inside.

Internet Quality:

Overall Gamer Environment: 5

Good to Know: 16,500 gaming employees work for an astonishing 300+ gaming companies located in Seattle.

2. Orlando, FL

Blame it on Mickey Mouse and Disney, but as we head into 2021, Orlando has quickly become one of the best gamer destinations in the country. Perhaps it has something to do with the Disney culture, but Orlando is no longer just reserved for being known as the place where Mickey and Snoopy live—it’s a video gamer’s delight too! 

While Orlando might need to improve its internet, the culture is top-notch when it comes to opportunities within the video game community (thanks again, Disney) as it pertains to jobs and gamer development, which is why it comes in number 2 on the list! 

Internet Quality: 35

Overall Gamer Environment: 2

Video Game Stores: 21

Good to Know: Orlando boasts the most arcades per capita.

3. Irvine, CA

While Orlando has more gamer opportunities as far as work goes, Irvine takes the cake when it comes to the overall gamer environment. Electronic stores, arcades, and many video game stores make it ideal if you’re a gamer. 

The sunny weather might distract you some from your gaming, but with its proximity to Disneyland, Irvine has the very best gamer environment out there.

Internet Quality: 17

Overall Gamer Environment: 1

Good to Know: A quick search on Indeed will net a developer over 100 job opportunities!

4. New York City, NY

What doesn’t New Your City have? The Big Apple ranks number 4 on our list of top video game cities primarily because it offers some of the fastest internet connections in the country while also promoting a thriving gamer culture. 

Also, there’s no shortage of opportunity in the video game sector as far as schooling and development go, thanks to the city simply being among the biggest. 

Internet Quality: 6

Overall Gamer Environment: 6

Good to Know: NYC has some of the most original gamer stores including Gotham City Games and J&L Games.

5. Austin, TX

It’s probably not much of a surprise that Austin, TX rounds out the top 5 video game cities, considering it happens to be home to one of the largest personal computer companies, Dell. 

While Matthew McConaughey gives Austin instant credibility, the fact that Dell and other large tech firms call Austin home too makes it a desirable city for gamers. As far as development opportunities go, Austin promotes an overall gamer environment in the top 10. The internet quality is just shy of the top 10 status.

Internet Quality: 11

Overall Gamer Environment: 9

Good to Know: Nearly half of residents (43.7%) are aged 18-44.

6. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta is quickly becoming the Los Angeles of the East Coast as far as the entertainment industry is concerned, meaning it’ not just a rapper's delight, it’s a gamer's paradise!

The gaming environment Atlanta promotes is number 3, and the opportunities are also there. The only thing Atlanta needs to figure out is the internet. Atlanta’s internet situation is good enough, but not good enough to register in our top 5.

Internet Quality: 71

Overall Gamer Environment: 3

Good to Know: One of the “hubs” for eSports, it’s the city where SoaR was founded!

7. Las Vegas, NV

When you think of video games, you most likely don’t think of nightlife. But when you think of nightlife, you almost always think of Las Vegas. That said, nightlife and video games go hand in hand, and when you consider the characters on the Vegas Strip, it all makes sense! 

Vegas really excels as far as tournaments, video game meet-ups, and events go. The city is known to host huge video game conferences and tournaments, thanks to its large gambling culture and overall fun environment. 

Internet Quality: 28

Overall Gamer Environment: 13

Good to Know: Hosting the Global Gaming Expo in 2021.

8. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is one of the top 5 cities for opportunities within the gamer lifestyle, which is why it makes our top 10. That said, you would think the internet would be a little faster, but it’s fast enough. The low ranking has more to do with the number of people who don’t have internet. 

That said, with the opportunity for gamer development, fast enough internet, and a top 25 environment, Los Angeles is still worthy of a number 8 ranking.

Internet Quality: 27

Overall Gamer Environment: 22

Good to Know: Over 30 video game stores including a Vintage Arcade Game Store.

9. Raleigh, NC

Perhaps one of the lesser-known cities on this list. If you live on the east coast, you probably are aware of the quick rise Raleigh, NC has gone through, and a lot of that has to do with its IBM roots. 

Raleigh is one of the biggest tech sectors on the east coast, making it a place with fast internet and more of the video gamer type occupants. In fact, the internet is in the top 3 best. So if you like your PC games, Raleigh might be your spot. 

Internet Quality: 3

Overall Gamer Environment: 16

Good to Know: Raleigh ranks as the 4th fastest city in the U.S. with a fixed download speed of 137.70 megabits per second.

10. Denver, CO

Okay, we know what you’re thinking… Denver… video games. Yeah, we thought the same, but according to the Denver Post, the state as a whole leads the nation in daily video game players.

While perhaps it has something to do with the cold and snowy winters, Denver checks in at number 10 in the final spot on our list. The easy-going, laid-back atmosphere Denver carries, coupled with the presence of the aerospace industry, makes it an ideal gamer city. 

Internet Quality: 8

Overall Gamer Environment: 25

Good to Know: Over 30+ Gamer Meetup places.

The Verdict 

Big tech or big nightlife means big gamer city. What immediately jumps out to you when you look at this list of the top 10 cities for video gamers is that each has either a big tech sector (Seattle, Irvine, Austin, Raleigh) or it’s also known for entertainment in general (Orlando, Atlanta, Vegas).

Either way, if you’re a gamer who makes decisions as to where you live based on playing video games, hopefully this list will help you in your future moves!

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Michael Dinich
Michael writes for Top10.com and has worked in personal finance since 1999. He shares unique insights on how to save money, increase income and prepare for retirement. Michael is a sought-after expert in the areas of taxation, personal finance, and health insurance planning.