Two major first-person shooter titles that are releasing in November – Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront – are destined to battle it out in a war to capture the interest of FPS gamers worldwide. Search and trend data show that these two games will be fairly neck-to-neck in the race to win the love of gamers.
In countries where most gaming revenue is generated – the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia – Black Ops 3 seems to have garnered the attention of the majority of gamers. Data provided by Google Trends shows that while Battlefront has gained ground, it’s mostly in countries such as Hungary. BO3, on the other hand, seems to be holding majority interest in the US, Australia, and the UK.
Google Trends isn’t exactly the most definitive or accurate tool to gauge true interest, though. The numbers provided there are all relative. So, even if actual search interest is declining, the graphs will still read higher numbers.
Another tool provided by Google paints a more accurate picture – Keyword Planner. This is primarily used as an advertising tool to determine the search potential of any given word or phrase. Typing in the phrase “Star Wars Battlefront”, for example, gives data relative to the total number of searches that phrase gets month to month.
It seems that search volumes for Battlefront exceed those of Black Ops 3. This suggests that more people are interested in and looking up information for the new Star Wars FPS than those that are searching for Black Ops 3.
This isn’t 100% accurate either.
Why? Well, the new title from DICE isn’t the only Battlefront game. The series actually dates back to 2004. Back in 2004 we saw the release of the original Battlefront. Then, in 2005, a sequel was released – Star Wars Battlefront II. Plus, there are a few mobile games with the name attached as well.
Why does any of this matter? Well, Google is smart, but it’s not that smart.
The Keyword Planner tool actually incorporates searches for the previous titles into the total search volume for the entire “Star Wars Battlefront” phrase because it is incapable of differentiating between a person looking for the 2004-2006 games versus someone looking up the 2015 edition.
So, for this particular game, the data isn’t 100% accurate. But, we can somewhat correct this data ourselves by looking at the historical data for the search term.
Black Ops 3 vs Star Wars Battlefront
Prior to the spring of 2015 (when information was first being released about the upcoming Battlefront game) search volumes for the phrase “Star Wars Battlefront” hovered around 135,000 searches monthly.
In the past 6 months searches for this same phrase have been as high as 1.8 million. On average, the term got around 1.2 million per month between April and September (data for October isn’t available yet). Take away the 135,000 searches that are most likely related to older titles and that still leaves an average of 1 million searches per month for the 2015 title.
How does that stack up against Black Ops 3?
Well, Black Ops 3 is a bit more straightforward since, well, Treyarch’s latest project is the only game with that title. That being said, this game has been getting an average of roughly 1.4 million searches per month within the same time frame (April to September) – only slightly edging out the competition.
Now obviously search interest does not always equate to actual buyer interest. So, overall sales could still go in favor of either game. But, based on trends and search data, it does seem like DICE could be stealing a good portion of the FPS gaming community away from Call of Duty this year.
One of the key factors that may determine the “winner” of this FPS battle is the fact that Black Ops 3 is releasing on more platforms (including last-gen consoles) whereas Battlefront is only coming out on the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.