Gaming search trends revealed by Google study

Google is sitting on a rather large repository of search data. From time to time, it slices and dices that data to give us a look at larger trends. The latest product of those efforts is Understanding the Modern Gamer, a whitepaper that details game-related search behavior for the last two years. The paper is based on hundreds of millions of searches related to the top 20 selling games, so it should be fairly representative of the hardcore crowd.

Game-specific statistics aren’t provided. However, it’s clear that more folks are searching for game-related content than ever before. Between 2010 and 2011, there was a 20% increase in searches for games conducted on desktop systems. Game searches on mobile devices surged 168% in the same period. In fact, mobile devices made up 10% of all game-related searches in 2011, doubling their share from the previous year.

Search volume predictably follows a Bell curve that peaks around the game’s launch date. Interestingly, pre-launch searches are growing at a faster rate than those conducted during and after the launch period. Hype works, apparently. For "marquee franchise titles," there’s also some overlap between post-launch searches related to the current title and pre-launch inquiries about the its successor.

During the pre-launch period, release dates and trailers are the most popular search items. Tips and reviews take the top search spots in the month surrounding the launch. After that, tips remain popular but DLC slides into the number-two spot. What’s really interesting about the results is how popular mobile devices have become for tip searches. About a quarter of all tip searches for the launch and post-launch periods were made with mobile devices. Some of those are mine, by the way. The tablet resting on my coffee table has tracked down more than a couple of walk-throughs when I’ve been gaming on the big screen. Thanks to Kotaku for the tip.

Comments closed
    • SoM
    • 7 years ago

    wouldn’t it be better if G ran SETI instead ?

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Neat stats… one of the most important figures and I think really should be higlighted is the report says 84% of game sales can be predicted by mouse clicks. This is good, but also can be very bad if people start doing stupid shit where they start making a game specifically to get certain clicks – Read as CoD clones.

    Actual report is only 7 pages with well laid out text and supporting graphs. I haven’t read it, but I will do later.

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 7 years ago

    Most popular video game related search: “nude asari”

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Asari are ridiculously hot.

    • Laykun
    • 7 years ago

    Gamer Search trends :

    Borderlands 2 guide
    Natural Selection 2 release date
    Triple deep hardcore midget
    GTA V trailer

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      I kinda want the softcore version of the midget flick.

        • Rand
        • 7 years ago

        I want the hardcore midget flick with Mario.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    Ati driver fix (insert game)
    Which catalyst version works with (insert game)
    Crossfire blue screen (insert game)

    6870×2 owner here btw. I’ve made similar searches as above for a while now.

    • blip2
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder what the post-release ‘search curve’ is like for “gamename walkthrough”

    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Google is sitting on a rather large repository of search data. From time to time, it slices and dices that data to give us a look at larger trends.[/quote<] And don't forget porn. That's the reason they invented image recognition software so they could scan through their porn stash to weed out dupes.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t search for trailers, dlc, or release dates, and instead wait for proper reviews and lower prices, although I do search tips and walkthroughs while alt-tabbing with the game. I get my launch news from RPS and TR, not searching individually through google.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] About a quarter of all tip searches for the launch and post-launch periods were made with mobile devices.[/quote<] Makes sense - sitting at the couch or even at the PC with your phone or tablet so you don't have to get up or alt+tab out, respectively.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Of course Ubisoft would say “sure but all those search terms were accompanied by the words ‘torrent’ or ‘crack'”.

      • ClickClick5
      • 7 years ago

      And Deanjo wins the ZING for the day!

      • albundy
      • 7 years ago

      true dat! dont forget about my fav. no-cd search. easier to get the exe for the legit game you got. its the best way to game these days without the ubi-steam bs!

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 7 years ago

      They’d probably be right too since a lot of people would search “is Ubisoft on crack?”

        • ClickClick5
        • 7 years ago

        You can clearly see “ubisoft” and “crack” in the same sentence.

      • kvndoom
      • 7 years ago

      …and they’d probably be right.

    • south side sammy
    • 7 years ago

    just what exactly are they searching for. I’m sure some are for the games themselves. I search for other things. any breakdown on this ?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Amazingly enough, if you click the link there’s a detailed pdf of the results.

        • south side sammy
        • 7 years ago

        not going to read through 75 miles of horse manure. should have been a run down here. How’s about you. want to shed some insight ? or did you just post to bust my chops ?

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          It says that 3% of gamers couldn’t be bothered to read reports.

            • Helmore
            • 7 years ago

            lol, I had to laugh at that one :D.

          • Helmore
          • 7 years ago

          It’s a 7 page report that’s pretty neatly laid out with clear graphs. Just read it, or skip to the relevant part. It has a lot less text than the average TechReport review I believe.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Just want to bust your chops honestly. If you really want to know, why not find out for yourself instead of expecting someone else to read all the info and tell you?

            • shaq_mobile
            • 7 years ago

            is there a sparknotes for that article?

            • south side sammy
            • 7 years ago

            why post the thread anyway ?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            I posted because there was a chance you hadn’t clicked the link and didn’t know the brief study summary was readily available. I just can’t help but do so sarcastically 🙂

            • south side sammy
            • 7 years ago

            sorry man, somebody forgot to feed me today.

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