The PlayStation 5 Future of Gaming reveal event wasn’t lacking in new games and big unveilings, but a few select games were always going to loom high over the rest of the crowd. This isn’t to ignore that some games had a better debut than others, but, inevitably its the big names known to the Sony brand that brings in eyes and page views. Somehow I don’t think you’ll be shocked to know which games drew the most attention. An online pricing start-up in Thailand gathered the Google trends search data found that Horizon Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales were the most searched games from the PlayStation 5 reveal event on Google by English and Japanese audiences among exclusive titles, while Resident Evil Village—also accounting for searches for Resident Evil 8—was the overwhelming winner of most-searched non-exclusive.
Most Searched Games PlayStation 5 Event
The data gathered by iPrice Thailand and later shared by NikoPartners industry analyst Daniel Ahmad reveal some interesting, if obvious trends from the PS5 livestream event. It’s not shocking at all to see Horizon Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales at the top of the most searched list for June 12, though it is wild to see that Horizon specifically received more search volume than the eight least searched games. Especially interesting is that the bottom eight includes Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. A dark horse in this data has to be Demon’s Souls, which not only breaks the top-three but also beats out the beloved, stalwart Sony racing franchise Gran Turismo.
A positive sign from the reveal is that three brand new IPs passed by some known series for most searched, with Project Athia, Godfall, and Deathloop all piquing interest and ranking higher than the likes of Sackboy, Astro’s Playroom, and Ratchet and Clank. Perhaps this more has to do with public interest in platformers than it does a lack of interest in some of Sony’s longest-running mascots. After all, Ratchet and Clank is coming off a generally poor showing in the world of cinema thanks to a quality-devoid feature film and LittleBigPlanet hasn’t been in the limelight since the PlayStation 3. More to the point: Deathloop, Athia, and Godfall are all stylistic showcases from beloved developers in popular genres that all appear to highlight the potential graphical power of the PlayStation 5.
The non-exclusives list tell a much more definitive tale than the exclusives chart. Resident Evil Village is far and away the most searched non-Sony game from the showcase and it isn’t even close at a whopping 55% of the total volume. This isn’t a shock, as the Resident Evil franchise has experienced a renaissance in the past few years. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard brought the series back to survival-horror glory and two remakes of past, beloved franchise entries all signify that Capcom is putting its weight behind Resident Evil once more. The combination of next-generation power, familiar characters, and a mysterious new setting is a recipe for intrigue and it clearly meant major Google search numbers for Resident Evil and Capcom.
The rest of the non-exclusives list is sort of a race to the bottom, as no other game performed particularly well. It’s honestly a shock to see that a new Hitman didn’t get a higher percentage of search volume, given the game’s cult of personality surrounding the past few entries, but perhaps that speaks to its niche appeal rather than widespread adoration. Plus it was up against Resident Evil Village. It is worth mentioning that two major indie games in Little Devil Inside and Bugsnax (Whoa-oh-oh, it’s Bugsnax) managed to pull in a respectable number despite being relative unknowns.
All of this data is well and good, but what does any of this tell us about the potential trends of the PlayStation 5 as we slouch closer towards launch? The biggest takeaway for now appears to be that first-party games and exclusives are what people are showing up to the PlayStation party for, as the non-exclusives search trends are incredibly lop-sided. This is a no-brainer given that one of the biggest strengths of the PlayStation 4 era for Sony were exclusives and first-party development, with the likes of God of War, Horizon, Uncharted, and more being a major draw to the hardware.
However, it also highlights that third-party, non-exclusive titles aren’t going to necessarily be a draw to the hardware, or to any hardware specifically if we’re to include Microsoft in this conversation. The thing that draws players to a specific console is still and will likely always be those exclusives, even as the market gravitates more towards a homogenous industry where more games appear on all devices. And yet, exclusives still win over viewers and search engine results, which is good news for Sony and the PlayStation 5. (Though notably, this data is not specfically comparing or asking about console features, ecosystems, etc. so we are unable to draw firm conclusions from the data.) So far that appears to be the strongest avenue for the company in regards to winning over consumers, but we’ll have to see how the marketing paths for Microsoft and Sony continue to diverge.
It will be interesting to see how these numbers change throughout the course of 2020 and the release of the PlayStation 5 grows near. One thing to consider is the number of games that may very well be coming to the PlayStation 5 as cross-generation titles, or even as games that have already been announced but now seem to be aligning with a PS5 launch date such as Cyberpunk. Regardless, we’ve learned from these numbers that games are still king and the PlayStation 5’s exclusives will continue to bring consumers back for another generation of gaming.