What Screen Resolution Is Best to Design For? (2006 Statistics)

Screen resolution is important for those who make 2D games – they often need to figure out which minimum resolution they should support. Here’s some statistical information which might help out making decisions regarding screen resolutions (this might come handy also when you design a website…). It looks like 1024×768 screen resolution as the minimum is a good choice – and there’s no point considering 640×480.

Out of almost 90 000 visits roughly 97% percent of visitors had bigger screen resolution than 800×600. Only 2.77% had 800×600 and only 0.04% visits were made using 640×480 resolution (that’s 40 visits out of 90 000 using 640×480 – which sounds very small to me). There were some tens of visits made using bit more strange resolutions like 480×272 or 240×160, but the great majority supported bigger screens.

Here’s an image about the situation.

While it’s true that there are some considerations (like the fact that I’ve designed the site for screens wider than 800 and that those people who have smaller screens might visit more often if the website was designed to suit their screens better) I must point out that the stats looked quite similar when my site design was made for 800×600 screens. The small number of those resolutions made me decide to use wider layout.

Anyway, this is only one piece of stat, and I recommend checking out some other statistics (from year 2006 – not any older) from other sources if you have trouble making the decision. But – to me – it looks like 1024×768 as a minimum should cater for most people. If you are planning your 2D game, it looks like there’s no need to plan for 640×480 resolutions. 1024×768 should be fine, and 800×600 as a minimum is definitely okay.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Please, PLEASE design games with widescreen or various other sizings available. I hate seeing a nice indie game fixed to 800×600, stretched and blurred across a widescreen display.

    Some gamers do know what these settings do!

  2. For websites, I’d personally like to use potato in a sock to adjust views of those who design fixed width sites using minimum width of about 1000 pixels or more… Making fluid layout is not really that hard.

    As for games 800×600 is good for fullscreen or windowed…

  3. Also remember that not many will visit sites using a maximized browser window. I know I never do..

  4. Thanks for the stats. For now I’ll stick with 800×600 as a) in full-screen it will be quite fast and obviously supported in 32-bit colour mode on most PCs and b) in windowed mode, if the res is higher than 800×600 it looks good as there is a border or desktop round it. As for an 800×600 window on and 800×600 desktop, believe it or not, for my first two Bonus games the windowed mode was slightly smaller so the window (and title bar etc) all fitted on-screen perfectly. But this was a hassle to code for and everyone thought I was mad so I didn’t bother for my latest games.

  5. Thank you for sharing these stats, but I believe that they are not a fundamental piece of information a game designer could take for its descision for which resolution he is designing for – except he is doing websites, flash games or windowed games or such stuff.

    Especially when it comes to fullscreen games the reasons for certain resolutions are a bit different. For our current (3D-) title we decided to support a 1024×768 screen as a resolution (for our 2D parts) we designed for, because we think – because its a casual game – most people will run it in this mode. For AAA titles I guess it is even more important, because most people will run -intuitively- in a lower resolution because of the performance of a game. So even I use in windows a general resolution of > 1024x.., I prefer 1024×768 as a common video resolution when playing fullscreen.

  6. Yes, as said – I recommend checking out other sources as well. Depending how long the development time is (like if people are just starting out it might take 1 or 2 years to finish that 2D game. By that time… 1024×768 might get even more popular). Anyway, 800×600 should be pretty safe choice and I still think 1024×768 should be considered.

  7. Thanks for posting those stats. However, I’d like to point out that a game-developer oriented site isn’t very good measure for typical screen resolution of typical gamers screen resolutions, especially when a typical casual gamer is concerned. I believe many of those may still run on 800×600. And even if the desktop resolution is 1024×768, running a windowed game with same resolution looks bad as the window will be a bit oversized. So if running game in windowed mode is taken into account, one might want to pick smaller reference resolution for game than the desktop resolution. Anyway, I agree that 800×600 as a minimum is definitely okay.

    One “new” problem for 2D games is also the fact that new displays are increasingly using widescreen resolutions, which means that games trying to run in fullscreen with some traditional resolution (e.g. 800×600) may become horizontally stretched (or in worst case the mode may not be supported at all in some setups which are hopefully rare).

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