Idle games are mostly persistent titles that continue in the player's absence, without player interaction or when the game is closed entirely. They usually contain optional or minimal interaction. They are often closely related to Incremental games such as clicker games (PC) or tap games (mobile), but they only receive Idle as a genre when there is progress without user interaction.

Most of these games are based around grinding: there is incremental gameplay or exponential growth where an in-game currency or meter increases at a steady rate or progress is made steadily without player interaction.

Goals are provided by reaching certain milestones or achievements. Some games allow the players to play indefinitely, while others feature endings after a certain amount of progress is made.

Optional player interaction is often based around clicking to gather items or speed up the progress, selecting or activating items or abilities, or spending a currency on upgrades.

The first idle game is attributed to Progress Quest (2002) by Eric Fredriksen.


  • Games with a strong focus on social elements and time-limited events set in a persistent universe are not considered idle games when there is a lot of interaction (e.g. MMORPGs, live service games or titles with seasonal content).

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