Google is Understanding the Modern Gamer

Google is Understanding the Modern Gamer

Today Google published a whitepaper called Understanding the Modern Gamer. It’s a really interesting read, and doesn’t contain the subtle racism of a Nielsen report on the same topic.

I was first caught by this quote from the second paragraph:

Search data analysis is representative of gamer behavior for 2 reasons: (1) millions of gamers use search engines, providing us with an unparalleled data set and, (2) gamers are incredibly savvy Internet users whose searches reveal an extraordinarily high level of intention.

I hadn’t really thought about it, but I guess my searches are pretty focused. I also don’t talk to Google the way my mom does – there’s no way I’d search “How do I jump in the video game Halo 2?” So the immediate recognition of a demographic’s style of interaction with technology says a lot about the thought put into this.

BTW – this report tells us Nielsen’s definition of a gamer, something I didn’t see in Nielsen’s own report:

Nielsen gamer defined as 18+ male / female who (owns Xbox 360 OR PlayStation 3 OR Wii) AND (purchased a video game online / offline in past 6 months).

I think I’m OK with that.

Anyway, there’s a bunch of interesting info in the report, but what it boils down to is what we basically know already: gamers want a ton of info to inform their gaming, both pre- and post-release.

And if you read it right, the report also gives you a paint-by numbers guide to doing game coverage that (at least statistically) provides the most audience for the least work:

  1. In the 6 months leading up to game launch, post nothing but publisher-provided content. It costs you nothing and that’s what 7/10 searches are for anyway.
  2. Right when the game launches, post a review (obvious).
  3. For the next month, post walkthroughs and cover any DLC news.
  4. For the next 3 months, continue to do the same, but ramp up the DLC stuff a bit.
  5. Throughout all of this, make your site perfect on mobile, especially the walkthrough content.
  6. Ignore straight gameplay, nobody’s searching for it.

Anyway, go read the full report, it’s an interesting look at the industry from probably the biggest source of raw data in the world.