The country might be opening up, but some popular video games still keep gamers locked indoors. The video game industry is booming, and great games manage to keep people’s minds captivated for months—if not years—after their release. So, which games are the most on people’s minds at the moment? We analysed trends on Google Search to find out.
By far, the most searched game in the UK is Fifa 21 – and has been since its release more than 8 months ago. During its release, interest in Fifa 21 was 50 times greater than in the next most searched game of the time, Animal Crossing. Search interest in Fifa 21 peaked around the launch date (9 October 2020), dropped sharply in the following month and has been slowly declining since. Still, in May 2021, Fifa 21 remains 443% (or five times) as searched as the next most popular game.
After Fifa 21, and quite a few empty spaces, next in line of popularity is Grand Theft Auto V, which has been leading the pack for the better part of the past year. Following GTA V, we have another Fifa—this time the 2020 version.
Perhaps an odd one out is the social simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons by Nintendo. As the game’s release coincided with the start of the first UK lockdown, Animal Crossing’s popularity boomed in March 2020. Interest has waned since then, although the festive season (and the looming second lockdown) brought a second spike in interest. Searches for Animal Crossing: New Horizons doubled in volume in December 2020. Now, in May, searches are at their low point compared to the past year.
As search interest in Animal Crossing has been declining, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare by Activision (and developed by Infinity Ward) has been catching up in popularity. Although, looking at the past year, Call of Duty hasn’t had the best time. Differently from other popular games, it missed out on the festive season spike. GTA, FIFA 20 and Animal Crossing all saw a confident uptick of interest in December, but search volume for CoD remained steady. Considering how CoD: Modern Warfare came out in 2019, it is still doing very well to be competing with newer games for search interest in May 2021.
Interest in Assassin’s Creed is currently low compared to other popular games, as it has been since the start of the year. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed reached peak popularity last Nov-Dec, and hasn’t picked up gamers’ interest since.
Looking at the publishers and developers of the most searched video games, it is interesting to note the variety represented. Only EA with it’s massively popular FIFA series has managed to get two games on the list of most searched games in May 2021.
The study analysed yearly UK search trends for a pre-determined list of video games, comparing the most recent month’s (May 2021) average search volumes to find the most popular games of the moment.
The pre-determined list was based on 2020 UK video game sales and included: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Grand Theft Auto V, Fifa 20, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Last of Us Part II, NBA 2K20, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.