Google: Searches can predict 84% of game sales

New paper, Understanding the Modern Gamer, offers insights from the search engine

A new study by Google, Understanding the Modern Gamer, has revealed changes in the digital behaviours in its game loving users, and concludes that a large portion of sales can be predicted by searches.

"Our data demonstrates that 84 per cent of sales can be predicted by all clicks during the 10 month launch cycle," it reported.

"We used the regression coefficient from our analysis to create a predictive model and found that if a game accrues 250,000 clicks in the 10 months around launch, it will likely sell between 2 and 4 million units in the first four months after release."

It also found that the number of searches happening before a game is even released are up, last year 4 in 10 game searches happened in the 6 months before launch. In this period they're mainly hunting down screenshots and video from the publishers. At launch tips become more popular, followed by searches concerning DLC after that.

"Reviews continue to be in demand even 4 months after release week as some gamers remain undecided."

Even how people are searching is changing, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone with a smartphone. Mobile searches for triple-A titles were up 168 per cent in 2011 compared to the previous year.

"We discovered that 23 per cent of all tips-related searches during launch month and 27 per cent of all tips-related searches during post-launch take place on mobile. Thus, gamers are using mobile devices to locate tips, cheats, hints, and walkthroughs while they are actually playing video games."

The paper points out that its data is valid because not only do million of gamers use search engines, gamers tend to be more internet savvy, so their searches show an "extraordinarily high level of intention."

"Digital tools, such as search, offer gamers the unique ability to directly reach out to publishers and retailers," the paper concluded.

"Publishers and retailers, in turn, have a tremendous opportunity to drive even stronger results by reaching back to gamers. Retailers can maximise game sales, from pre-orders to DLC, by delivering key content to gamers at the right moments across multiple devices. The publisher of the future can successfully grow their brands by controlling and facilitating meaningful, ongoing conversations with their fans from announce to launch, and beyond."

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Latest comments (5)

Nick Parker Consultant 5 years ago
Interesting analysis and one dear to the heart of Google as it's share price enjoys some vitality to a record high on firmer ad revenues as Facebook retracts - it's all about ad income.
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Right on the mark. We've all seen game distribution (and games) shift online - consoles, PC & mobile are all there. And gamers look to search engines and their social networks to choose the games they buy. So there's a lot very interesting things self-publishing developers (and publishers) can do to get noticed and engage gamers. From funding right through to after-sales support. It's a great time to be a gamer. And a game developer :)
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
I find the fact that 1/4 of gamers are looking up things on their phones while playing games. This, to me, is yet more evidence of the demand for second-screen gaming.
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Barry Scott Software Design 5 years ago
It is not evidence of a need for 2 screen gaming.
I for one use my iPad to look for hints or keep notes while playing on Xbox or Steam.
How would having two screens on my Xbox help with this use case?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Barry Scott on 27th September 2012 6:05pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Barry, I don't know about the next Xbox but on the Wii U, you can run the web browser on the tablet during a game.

In fact, when you bring up the web browser while playing a game, it will automatically bring up results based on the game you are currently playing.
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