Google Autocomplete is a handy little thing that will show you the most popular terms relating to the phrase you’re currently typing into the search bar. But not only does it save you a few seconds and quickly direct you to a relevant set of results, it also offers quite the insight into what everyone’s thinking about things. So we decided to see what the internet is thinking when it comes to PC games.
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The most commonly asked question on Google in regards to EA’s combined-arms online shooter is “Why is Battlefield 4 so cheap”. Now, BF4 has been out for a few years now, and currently retails at £14.99 on Origin, but that isn’t that cheap. So we can only come to the conclusion that “cheap” refers to the cool youth slang use of the word, which Urban Dictionary reliably informs me means “An individual who uses the same tactic/tactics to win”.
Now it makes sense, because yes: Battlefield 4 is totally cheap. People constantly spam areas with guided missiles and grenades for easy kills.
But wait, what if searchers are actually talking about BF4 itself? Because Battlefield is cheap; it uses the same money-making tactics - map packs, battlepacks, and Premium scheme - as EA have used the past few years. Yup, that’ll be it.
Call of Duty
Despite the astonishing number of copies Call of Duty manages to sell each year, the internet is still convinced and adamant that the FPS series is garbage. Google Autocomplete confirms this feeling twice, picking on the franchise as a whole and singling out Ghosts as the baddest of the bad. Turns out not even a dog can save you from internet scorn.
Of course, these two facts have you all confused, so no wonder you’re asking Google why Call of Duty is so popular. I mean, why would countless millions of people play a bad shooter year-in-year-out? I mean, you couldn’t be wrong about it, surely?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Topping the search queries for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the deep question of why the game’s so damn hard. It’s a question that can be quite easily answered by simply playing the game, but why do that when you can trawl through forums of people calling each other n00bs and insisting CS is easy?
Further down the list there’s the inevitable search for a CSGO betting website, or more specifically the question as to why nefarious CSGOShuffle has been blocked in the UK. The answer is because Shuffle is scared it’ll be prosecuted by UK law due to its strong stance on gambling. Not that the block will deter you from doing it someplace else, right?
Another double query on why a game is bad, this time for bug-a-thon DayZ. Other questions involve wondering why the game suffers so much from lag, and why everything’s a bit blurry.
So far, so DayZ, but it does show there’s a distinct pattern in search: people want to know why everything’s bad. All four games on this list so far have the same question: “why is x bad?”. The question can of course come from two places: either wanting to know just how this hot garbage happened, or being perplexed that everyone seems to hate a game you’ve decided is quite good. Not that the latter applies in this example; everyone knows DayZ is awful, of course.
Breaking the prior established pattern of “why is x so bad?” is Diablo 3, which has people scratching their heads over why it is so fun and addictive. Perhaps it’s because, as query one points out, Diablo 3 is easy, and therefore simple enough to keep playing. It’s certainly something I’ve thought, just moments after screaming violently into the abyss due to my character perma-dying on the third boss fight. Goddamn you Diablo, why were you so easy?
Among the usual confusion over popularity and performance issues, Doom’s autocomplete returns an unusually specific question: “Why is Doom guy in a tomb?”. To which I’d say: look, no one cares a jot about Doom’s lore and narrative. That’s why it barely exists. You’d find more worthwhile answers in questions like “How heavy is the COD man’s ammo bag?” and “Why is Gordon Freeman’s suit orange?” Just get on with the shooting and jaw-snapping and leave the hard questions for the abyss, okay?
Grand Theft Auto
We’re back on track with Grand Theft Auto, with millions of searches ensuring the ever-enduring question of “Why is GTA Online so bad?” tops the suggestions. But it’s the bottom two that are so incredibly baffling. Has humanity sunk to such a state of idiocy that it has to ask google why Grand Theft Auto - a game that is literally named after a crime - is rated 18? Perhaps it needs rebranding as Drugs, Torture, and Organized Mass Murder: The Videogame.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, of our ten autocomplete samples Half-Life is the only one to return four completely positive-slanted results. People really want to know why Valve’s seminal shooter series is great, going as far as to enquire what makes it important in the gaming sphere. Important, like the Queen, the Human Rights act, and the first coffee of the morning.
Actually you’d best stop searching for that one, lest such importance go to Half-Life’s head and it decides it's above being seen in public again.
Ah, entitlement. “Waaah! Why is Overwatch not free? Waaah! Why does it cost so much? Waaah!”. Despite Overwatch being one of the best games of the year, it seems some people just don’t want to pay for it.
This opinion almost certainly comes from the fact that Overwatch is multiplayer only, and in a world where so many competitive FPS games are free-to-play its pricing is an oddity. And even if Blizzard insists on charging for the game, many see the lack of a single-player campaign reason enough that it should retail at a lower cost, similar CS:GO’s slender $15 launch price. Both solid points, but unfortunately the only real answer to these queries is: because Blizzard can and will charge money.
Despite being an incredibly popular 90s FPS with enduring qualities, Quake is not popular with searchers. Just one of the four autocomplete suggestions relates to Quake the game, with two focussing on the hearty (but apparently law-breaking) breakfast cereal, and the fourth demanding to know why comedian Earthquake is no longer DJing on radio station WBLS (if you’re one of those people don’t worry: he’s back 3-7pm every weekday).
The first and only relevant question is a good one though: Quake Live was launched as a free-to-play game, but was changed four years later into a premium paid-for Steam title. That’s quite the kick in the teeth, so no wonder it led to millions of searches. What gives, Bethesda?
Overall, Google Autocomplete paints the picture that everyone’s very grumpy about games, either because they’re bad, too easy, or cost too much. But perhaps that’s just the vocal minority, as those who actually like games are probably too busy playing them to use Google.
Have you asked these questions on Google yourself? Or perhaps you’ve come across a weird gaming autocomplete in your searching adventures? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.