Google has released its statistics on the biggest search trends of 2014, and the video game category in particular reveals some very interesting (and occasionally surprising) insights into what the community was buzzing about this year.
Destiny is probably the least surprising entry on this list, given it was the most successful new gaming franchise launch of all time. That being said, for a new IP to garner that much interest so quickly is very impressive. Reaction to the game post-launch has been mixed, but there’s no doubting that a huge number of people were buzzing about the game in the months leading up to it.
Titanfall was meant to be a major console-mover for the Xbox One, and Microsoft gave the game its full marketing support. In the first few months of 2014, you couldn’t stick your head out a window without being blasted by a promotional campaign, and apparently it worked. Titanfall was the second most-searched video game of the year, although EA has yet to release any figures on how well that translated into sales.
Watch_Dogs got a huge amount of hype at three E3’s in a row, which no doubt helped to get the ball rolling on interest in the game. The final product wasn’t the genre-defining masterpiece that the hype-train made it out to be, but a general air of controversy that followed it post-release likely helped to keep the game in the spotlight.
Beating some huge names on the top 10 was an MMO called ArchAge. The game was released back in early 2013, but didn’t get a launch in North America or Europe until a few months ago. I had heard about the game during its initial western release, but had no idea it was this big. It’s apparently a huge hit in Asia already though, which no doubt helped to bolster the number of Google searches on the game.
5. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Of course Call of Duty showed up on this list, how could it not? Entries in the series sells incredibly well no matter what, so it didn’t hurt that Activision really pumped up their marketing efforts for Advanced Warfare in a bid to better compete with Titanfall and Destiny. The fact that it’s the best reviewed Call of Duty game in a while probably didn’t hurt either.
6. Madden 15
The annualized Madden games tend to get ignored in the bigger game-community discussions, so it’s easy to forget that it has a massive audience. Many people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves to be fans of video games buy consoles just to play Madden, giving it a surprisingly large fanbase online.
7. Mario Kart 8
Nintendo is hitting back hard this year, with Mario Kart 8 finally giving the Wii U the shot of adrenaline it needed to stay competitive. The fact that Nintendo eased up on its streaming and YouTube restrictions certainly helped as well, and paved the way for widespread coverage of things like the Luigi Death Stare.
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition
The Dragon Age series has slowly but surely become a huge hit for EA, and the latest entry received widespread acclaim from both reviewers and fans. Winning Game of the Year at the first annual Game Awards couldn’t have hurt either.
9. Battlefield Hardline
Battlefield Hardline is definitely a notable entry on the list given that it was the only game that didn’t get released this year. Instead, much of the online interest was driven by a big E3 reveal that, more importantly, included a very public and heavily publicized open beta.
10. League of Angels
If you’re wondering if browser-based games are still a thing, this should answer your question. League of Angels is a F2P browser-based MMO that’s not exactly about to win any Game of the Year awards. So why is it frequently searched? Well it’s a pretty big game in Asia, where online games are much bigger than traditional console releases, and the marketing for this game is… well, let’s just say it’s provocative.
Out of everything missing on this list, I’m most surprised that neither the new Pokemon games nor Super Smash Bros. made it. I guess the 3DS isn’t getting enough love.