Originally coined as a marketing term for Westwood Studios’ Dune II, real-time strategy games were around for years before most players knew what the genre was. Thanks to their enduring popularity and the growth of new sub-genres, RTS games remain a conspicuous part of the video game landscape.
In the archetypal RTS title, Dune II human and AI players control different factions and compete against each other simultaneously in “real time” hence the term “real-time strategy,” as opposed to turn-based strategy. These games typically include resource and map management, and they often feature a top-down view.
WarcraftAge of Empires, and Command & Conquer are among the most popular RTS titles, but the list doesn’t stop there. And when it comes to turn-based strategy games, enthusiasts tout the Civilization series and other notable franchises. There are also titles that deliberately blend elements of both styles for mixed gameplay, like the Total War franchise. To find out about more titles, check out our list of the best RTS games.
RTS examples
  • Warcraft
  • Age of Empires
  • Command & Conquer