Google has released some interesting data on how the internet has changed video game launches. While those of us who cover new games often obsess with their initial launches and then largely forget about them afterward, search statistics show that games remain largely relevant for up to a year after launch.
The company summed up its findings in a blog post earlier this week and has also released the full study, “Understanding the Modern Gamer.” As Google says, “video game information continues to be in high demand up to four months after a title’s release. Undecided buyers seek reviews, while purchasers search for ways to enhance their gaming experience, like downloadable extension content.”
Moreover, searches for games are steadily increasing, about 20 per cent on desktops year over year and 168 per cent on mobile. I’m partially responsible for that second stat – I’ll often whip out my phone while at Gamespot to see if a game is any good before getting it.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Google info if there wasn’t something in there for advertisers. As the company points out, smart game makers are taking advantage of this lengthening search trend by providing more and more marketing content before and after a game’s launch. While Google singles out EA as doing a good job of this, I can’t say I’ve seen a better example than Ubisoft’s run-up to Assassin’s Creed III, which releases at the end of October.
Ubisoft has been cranking out so much preview content, I’m almost worried that there’ll be no surprises left in the game when it’s released. I’m sure I’m wrong, of course.
The release of Google’s study also came with some interesting timing, coming on Monday as it did. That was the same day I made my (re)debut writing about games for The Globe and Mail, moving over from MSN. The Globe is where I got my start in games writing, something like 12 years ago. It’s funny how things come full circle (and how old I am).
I’ll also have some more thoughts on the changing nature of games journalism next week.