Microsoft Solitaire is more popular in NZ than almost any other country on the game's 30th anniversary

Microsoft Solitaire is more popular in New Zealand than almost any other country on the game's 30th anniversary.
Microsoft Solitaire was first released on May 22, 1990. Photo credit: Microsoft

New Zealanders are the fifth-most enthusiastic Solitaire players in the world, Microsoft has announced.

Despite the popularity of games like Fortnite and Minecraft, Kiwis are apparently still very keen on the digital version of the solo card game, which is also referred to as Patience or Klondike.

The only nations that play more Microsoft Solitaire per capita than Aotearoa are the Cocos Islands, Anguilla, Vatican City and Barbados, in order of first to fourth - and New Zealand's population is vastly greater than that of all four other countries in the top five combined.

The news comes on National Solitaire Day in the US, which Microsoft founded on May 22 in 2018.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Solitaire which was added to Windows 3.0 in 1990 after being developed by intern Wes Cherry.

From those humble beginnings, the game has become extremely popular and is said to currently shuffle up and deal out over 100 million hands around the world every single day.

While Microsoft might have only had modest goals for the game three decades ago, the company is heaping enormously lavish praise on it now.

"It's Microsoft Solitaire's unmatched familiarity and availability that’s contributed to its unending popularity, with more than half a billion players in the past decade alone, which no doubt added to the game being inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2019," the latest Xbox Wire post states.

"It really is something special that a game called Microsoft Solitaire has brought together so many people for so many years.

"Whether you play to take a break and relax or to test your brain for a challenge, we offer you, our players, a sincere round of applause for your passion and dedication."

Microsoft is inviting players to download Microsoft Solitaire Collection for free on PC, iOS and Android devices as it tries to break the record of most games completed in one day.

The company is also selling Microsoft Solitaire branded T-shirts and coffee mugs for passionate fans.