Why Is C++ the Most Popular Coding Option Among Game Developers?

When developers set out to make a new game, they face a dilemma as to which programming language they choose to use. The balance of technical proficiency combined with creative work means that the choice of language will influence the process and outcome of the project.

Every language has its pros and cons and every game requires a high degree of customisation depending on graphics, size, speed, logic, and interface, so some languages will be better suited to development than others. The choice of language also determines the game engine and framework of the game. Although arguably any language can be used for game development, C++ is the most common choice. But is it the best choice?

History of C++

The programming language C++ was developed in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup, a Danish computer scientist. The language was designed as an extension of the C programming language, first known as  C with classes. Classes are extensible program-code-templates for creating objects, creating C++ as a superset of the C language. As well as classes, Stourstrup’s language contains additional features such as default function arguments, references, constants, type-safe free-store memory allocation (new/delete), and type checking.

C++ was named as such in 1983 and licensed as a product in 1985. The language has gone through considerable revisions and developments in the subsequent years.

Why Use C++ for Game Development?

Although C++ is among the hardest coding languages to learn, it has a wealth of benefits when it comes to game development. Although comparable to other languages such as C# or Java, it does have some obvious advantages. As C++ is an object-oriented programming language (OOP). This means that, when dealing with games, it breaks the parts of the game down into logical pieces or “objects”. Each piece of the code is referred to as an object, meaning that the code is easy to understand and can be easily reused.

Data and functions are bound together when using OOP, meaning only the function can access the required data. OOP makes programming games faster and easier and gives more direct control over the hardware and graphical processes – a very important factor in the gaming industry.

Performance and Memory Management

The user experience of any game is a critical factor, and with video games becoming more immersive each year, C++ can be used extremely effectively. Modern video games call for resource-intensive and performance-critical software. C++ is a good fit because it allows for greater control over parameters and memory management, and requires low resource usage and good optimisation in databases and system programming.

Also, C++ can handle a level of complexity that supersedes C, and supports reference variables – all of this means that the user experience can be enhanced via the code.

Popular Game Engines Developed With C++

There are many games written using the C++ programming language. A game engine refers to the software framework to build and create video games. They provide features from animation to artificial intelligence, they are responsible for rendering graphics, collision detection, memory management, and many more options – and the engine is what is created using C++.

Some popular titles created this way include the well-liked Assassin’s Creed series including  Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, IV: Black Flag, and Assassin’s Creed Rogue; then, wartime shooter Medal of Honour; classic shoot em ups Doom and Doom II, Half-Life 2 Portal, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, and The Witcher, amongst thousands of others.

Many online casino games also fall into this category, with game developers taking advantage of numerous benefits that come with C++. Even if we take as an example a simple game of online roulette, designing has gone from simplistic graphics and gameplay to using some of the most cutting edge graphics, gameplay, and interfaces available, making the user experience more impressive and immersive. How this works in practice can be seen on the online roulette page on casinos.co.za, where customers can play a free game using the embedded iframe. On top of that the reviews of the best online roulette options on the market are all equipped with high-end features and smooth design solutions.

Alternate Programming Languages

Of course, many other programming languages are used in game development, with different advantages and weaknesses to C++. But depending on the type of game – and the type of developer! – some make more sense to use than C++.


One of the best and most versatile languages for games, Java uses the same OOP principle utilised by C++ but offers a broader range of systems. Code written in Java can be rendered as generic code and thus can be run on any other system.


A hugely popular language for web development, JavaScript has become a frequently used game coding language due to its ease of use and stability. It isn’t heavy on resource use, and many games have been developed for mobile platforms using it. Although compatible with HTML5, it suffers from slowness and limited 3D graphical capabilities.


Easy to learn and widely applicable, C# is a popular and general-purpose coding language, combining the functions of C++ and Java. As it uses a set of tools and runtime environment by Microsoft, it is 3particularly suited for the development of games for Windows or Xbox. Efficiency, scalability, and advanced security features are big pluses, but it primarily works on Microsoft’s .NET and isn’t quite as efficient as either Java or C++.


The vast majority of mobile games you’ll come across will have been programmed using HTML5. Easy to learn, even for those without a coding background or knowledge of complex algorithms, which explains its wide usage and notable success for fresh new games.


This language’s primary application, and the reason it was designed, was to run the back end of highly complex and customisable databases. But in recent years more functionality has been added, making it possible to use in game development, namely new languages, libraries, frameworks, especially with AR, VR, graphics, physics, and gameplay. There are an array of programming languages used for video game development. C++ is the most widely used, but as times and games change, this may not always be the case.