1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hello! Join Us here on Mognet Central & be part of one of the best FF & RPG communities around! You can even sign up with your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Steam Account, Kupo!

Google Trends & Interest in FF

Discussion in 'Final Fantasy Discussion' started by APZonerunner, Aug 3, 2015.

Registered Members don't see ads. Sign up! It's Free!

  1. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    923
    Trophy Points:
    512
    This is going to be a bit of a difficult topic, I imagine, but I wanted to talk a little about this. Managing websites like Nova Crystallis and UFFSite, we obviously care about how much draw Final Fantasy has and how much traffic it can bring and all that. We love FF and we wouldn't stop doing what we do, but we also wouldn't want to spend a horrifying amount of money only to find that there's no interest and we can't even recoup it. Bluntly, this is how we decide where to deploy our very limited resources & budget, because we can't let our hearts rule our heads all the time.

    As such, stuff like Google Trends is pretty important to us. It gives us a great insight into what is going on across the web and how much interest there is in something.

    What Google Trends essentially does is track interest across not just google, but all of google's properties - YouTube, etcetera - and tracks interest from end users based on search & click activity. To be clear, the way any graph I show here works is this: 100%, at the top of the graph, will always be the highest point of one of your search terms. So they're relative graphs, basically, rather than absolute - rather than giving you a number, it lets you track how one thing is doing relative to another thing - which is fairly relevant to our interests.

    As I said earlier, this has a pretty great utility for us as website owners, but it's also interesting as fans and armchair pundits who're interested in how well something like FF15 might do. I'm curious what you guys'll draw from some of these things:

    FFXIII vs FFXV: Search Interest Over Time
    I figured this would be a very natural place to start. Just how much Google Interest is there in Final Fantasy XV compared to its predecessor? (skipping over MMOs, because they're really a different beast interest-wise) This can now give us an absolute answer with the industry's overwhelmingly dominant search engine. Here it is, annotated a little so we can correlate it to key dates:
    [​IMG]

    So - as you can see here, FF15 has significantly tracked below FF13. If we were to shift their announcement dates back to be at the same 'moment' the difference would be even more pronounced. Why is this? How does this bode for FF15 as a whole? This is something I leave you all to consider.

    This is one of the reasons I hope Square Enix doubles down on niche sites, fan sites and smaller websites for the FF15 promotional machine, as these are the grassroots movements that can help these things to grow; the death of many traditional FF fan sites has had an impact which you'll see later. For the record: Adding Versus XIII to this chart marks no impact of import whatsoever.

    FFXV & FF Type-0: Hand in Hand
    How did the FF15 demo impact Type-0's interest ratings? And how much more is a main release currently charting interest-wise than a spin-off - and a re-release of one, at that? Here's that. To be clear, again, this chart is RELATIVE. If you notice the high blue blips for XV from the previous chart - the XV announcement and the XV demo release, you can see where they correlate to this chart.
    [​IMG]
    Here we have interest in XV - fuelled by speculation - rising gradually. The early blue (XV) blips mark the 2011 trailer and other info drops in Famitsu and the like. The first red (Type-0) blip marks its re-announcement, with a gradual rise including a smaller peak when the demo released and a larger peak when it released on PSP in Japan. It then trails off until the HD announcement.

    You can obviously see on this graph that the announcement of the demo gave Type-0 a small boost, but a much bigger one to FF15. You can also see that when the game and demo released, Type-0 trailed off far more quickly. What I find notable, however, is how close these two have tracked in general, despite FF15 being a much bigger game. It never used to be like this, though Crisis Core did very briefly out-chart FF13's pre-release metrics around its release date.

    FFXV and FFVIIr - The Thunder Stealer?
    The performance of Final Fantasy VII after FF7's announcement at E3 is pretty interesting overall. For a start, it should be noted that FF7's announcement performs better in the Google Search metrics than any other FF announcement in recent memory, performing about a third better than FF13's announcement in 2006. It also has a much faster drop-off, however, search activity around it plummeting a fortnight after E3. It's still out-performed by the interest for FF13 around 13's Japanese and Western releases, which is three to five times as large depending on the sample you take.

    But what sort of impact did FF7 have on FF15? The slightly embarrassing thing, perhaps, is that FF7 consistently has more interest around it than FF15 even prior to the remake announcement - but on the graph we can directly see a correlation between FF7's announcement and the hardest, harshest fall FF15 has seen since its announcement. Some might also choose to put this down to users being displeased with Duscae - and in truth, it could be and probably is a bit of both.

    The question remains, though: Does the reveal of FF7 sort of slit FF15's throat? Is a casual player now going to be less interested in 15 knowing they can wait for a remake of that FF game they remember really liking on the PS1? We'll see. This data leaves absolutely no room for doubt that FF7's remake is the biggest thing to happen to FF and the biggest shot for Square Enix since FF13, however. The graph:
    [​IMG]

    Final Fantasy in General - A Rough Decade
    Google's Data is thankfully pretty smart, meaning they can combine all the games together for an overall, over-arching view from 2004, when data begins, to now - just over ten years - for FF as a whole. The picture it paints is a slightly disconcerting one, with the series in pretty much consistent decline with a big spike for FF13's release and a smaller up-tick in recent months for FF15 & FF7:
    [​IMG]

    That first big spike you see after the decline is for Advent Children, in September 2005. From there you can track peaks and troughs that correlate to announcements and releases, culminating in that big early 2010 jump for FF13's release.

    I think thje drop-off here can be attributed to a number of different things, from a decreased overall quality and satisfaction with FF titles to an increased quality in the rival titles (more on that in a little bit), but also to the slow death of the FF community online which was - it saddens me to say - a lot stronger, varied and more vibrant in the early to mid 00s. Many, many fan sites and niche operations have died or moved on from FF, and I think that's a contributing factor. No one site made a large difference, but when you add them all together it amounts to something significant.

    How does this compare to other titles? The easiest comparison to make is to FF's younger sibling. KH has also seen a slight drop-off from the heyday peaks around KH2 in particular, but the series has also been much more consistent and is more or less at the same interest level it always has been. Here's that:
    [​IMG]

    FF's general decline in search interest and internet traffic over the years is something that can be attributed to a lot of factors, but there's one specific one I want to highlight - mainly because it was us noticing this trend that led to us founding RPG Site, Nova & UFFSite's more professionally-styled sibling.

    Regional Differences - The Rise of the West
    Something that has happened since 2006 is a rise in Western RPGs that does appear to have dented one of the unique selling points of JRPGs that I believe helped propel FF to greatness in the 90s. Back then, Western RPGs were stuffy affairs, mostly on PC, and almost exclusively too trapped in the throes of D&D traditions to have a truly mass appeal. In the 2000s change started to emerge with studios like Bioware, CD Projekt RED and Bethesda finding a way to keep RPG trappings but throw off the shackles of being (dare I say it) 'too nerdy' for the mainstream. Take a look at the interest & search performance of Mass Effect, a new property, versus FF & KH:
    [​IMG]

    The interesting thing is how Mass Effect has, across its sequels, gradually managed to attain a consistency FF has failed to maintain. All three games now exist in roughly the same zone, however, and my question is if FF will 'even out' here, failing to spike back up again but also not sinking any lower. I think that's likely to be the case. Mass Effect is, however, not exactly the biggest rival. Arguably to the WRPG world what FF7 and 8 were to the JRPG world in the 90s is another series. How do they stack up?
    [​IMG]

    Red is Oblivion, Yellow is Skyrim. Crikey. The incredible thing about Skyrim: Its staying power. What on earth! What a monster.

    =================================

    Anyway, that's it for now. What do you all make of this? How do you explain these charts? What does it make you feel about the future of FF as a series? Will they ever reach FF7 levels of success and awareness again? I'm curious for your thoughts.
     
    Mistwalker, Solid Sora and Sora96 like this.
  2. Sora96

    Sora96 Sphere Hunter

    Messages:
    1,340
    Likes Received:
    241
    Trophy Points:
    224
    XIII <3

    I honestly don't think FF will ever reach that same level again. And from what I can see the interest in Versus/XV has never been that high, which does make me worry it won't even reach that 6 million level it got for IX, XII, XIII and maybe X-2 let alone getting that 8 odd million it got for VIII and X. The WRPG is simply too much a giant right now with The Witcher 3 suddenly putting CD Projekt Red on the map and you didn't even mention Fallout and dam that's going to sell like crazy.
     
  3. Wazi the pa

    Wazi the pa Samurai Legend Moderator Site Staff

    Messages:
    2,541
    Likes Received:
    851
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Right now, we're at the stage where I feel we haven't seen nothing 'real' in the legitimate version of Final Fantasy XV. Almost everything we've seen of the game has been a WIP and people like me, aren't satisfied with what's shown so far. People haven't been "WOW'D" yet like we did with FFXIII.

    If supposedly, Square drops the megaton of a bomb related to Final Fantasy XV information and I'm talking about trailers showing & depicting the final version, information regarding merchandise, retail copies (Special editions, Boxart, Collector's Edition etc.), release dates, hype-building (especially that), the regular release of information regarding FFXV after Gamescom (by every number of weeks or months), only then will I believe people's attention both fans and newcomers within the game industry will keep their ears & eyes lock on to Square Enix's most ambitious game yet. After that, the game trend related to FFXV and even FF in general will rose up in searches & interests.

    After a 'flop' of a game like FFXIII from both a majority of fans & newcomers (yes, I've actually met people who's first FF game was XIII and they weren't that fond of it, but there are some that liked it for exclusive reasons), it's only natural for them to lose faith in the franchise at this point.
    People were engrossed by FFXIII at the time because of what it's shown so far and it impressed many people with flying colours.... Though the end result was quite the opposite.

    However, one baby step at a time can the company get back on the ladder & start climbing if they hit the nail at Gamescom 2015.
     
  4. Sora96

    Sora96 Sphere Hunter

    Messages:
    1,340
    Likes Received:
    241
    Trophy Points:
    224
    LOL. Yes, a lot of people didn't like it because it was linear but the game was still well received critically and far exceeded their sales expectations.
     
  5. Wazi the pa

    Wazi the pa Samurai Legend Moderator Site Staff

    Messages:
    2,541
    Likes Received:
    851
    Trophy Points:
    403
    I'm glad critics gave the game the praise it deserved and I'm glad the company got the money they needed but it didn't settle for a bright future for them unfortunately. If people ain't impressed with they've seen now, they won't be excited by the time the game actually comes out and considering the lingering thought of FFXIII in their heads, that just gives the devs and the company a lot to prove for FFXV.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  6. Lulcielid

    Lulcielid Turk

    Messages:
    3,421
    Likes Received:
    1,958
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Some of the factors in the series decrease i think would be:
    1. Every game since FFX started to deviate from the gameplay that 4-9 had, creating a "new" one with each installment which, in my eyes it was a good thing but it seens that in the large fandom it wasn´t.
    2. The "long" gap between releases (if we take out the online FF), between FFX and XII there´s a 5 years gap, between XII and XIII there´s a nearly 4 years gap and between XIII and XV would be an over 7 years gap (if it comes out in 2016).
    3. Not having a bombastic marketing as the their competition.
    4. More competion rising in the west.
    5. Not enough AAA games being released in the console market.
    Another reason for the decrease would be the decline in quality, the easy finger pointing being XIII though the series was already in decline way before this game came out. However as far as critics and reviews go FFX-XI-XII-XIV2.0 onward were received with positive opinions and were regarded as really good games and the only ones that were considered a flop were XIII and XIV1.0. So if it has a 4 "good" games vs 2 "bad" games, how can the franchise be in declining in interest ? Does it has to do with SE general public image ? the quality of the games ? or something as BS (imo) as Sakaguichi and Uematsu not being mention as part of the game ?

    With all this i really want SE to put some big effort in their marketing with XV within the months leading to the release.
     
  7. Sora96

    Sora96 Sphere Hunter

    Messages:
    1,340
    Likes Received:
    241
    Trophy Points:
    224
    XIII has 83 Metacritic, which I might add is higher than even Dissida and other quality FF games like XIV on PS3. And sold 6.6 million copies worldwide before topping the Steam charts.

    If you want bad Final Fantasy games, look at the full Crystal Chronicles games on Wii, Dirge of Cerberus, All the Bravest and The After Years.
     
    Crystal Power likes this.
  8. Crystal Power

    Crystal Power ShinRa SOLDIER

    Messages:
    765
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    179
    I think the people that pinpoint and declare the reason of this decline solely based on FF13 are not looking at the 'big picture'.

    Not to mention many other possible contributing factors, the deviation of traditional gameplay, the introduction of MMO's and the introduction of sequels, mobile takeover, Yoichi Wada, SE general public image, etc, etc.
     
    Wazi the pa, Sora96 and APZonerunner like this.
  9. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    923
    Trophy Points:
    512
    I agree with this; I think the graphs and stats via Google fully indicate this decline was well in progress well before FF13 was even announced.
     
    Sora96 and Crystal Power like this.
  10. Crystal Power

    Crystal Power ShinRa SOLDIER

    Messages:
    765
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Yes, thank you.

    This is interesting research. As being Final Fantasy fans and how you mention a site cannot be ran just on "heart", I think this conversation should be brought up again. Seeing if the news at Gamescon tomorrow have an impact at all would be worth conversation.
     
  11. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    923
    Trophy Points:
    512
    The thing I'm interested to see regarding Gamescom is if the FF15 stuff results in an uptick for that game or if it'll stay down after the significant dent in interest following the 7 announcement at E3. 15 had been on upwards rise for 12 months fairly consistently - albeit a modest one, but as soon as 7 was announced it cratered quite a bit.
     
  12. Lulcielid

    Lulcielid Turk

    Messages:
    3,421
    Likes Received:
    1,958
    Trophy Points:
    403
    It would also be intereting to see how XV post gamescom and VIIRemake post winter news compare with each other.
     
  13. Sora96

    Sora96 Sphere Hunter

    Messages:
    1,340
    Likes Received:
    241
    Trophy Points:
    224
    Well XV you're looking at dare I say a release window. VII Remake you're looking at a title, gameplay if we're lucky and staff like Toriyama, Naora revealed to be working on it.
     
  14. Solid Sora

    Solid Sora Yevonite

    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    78
    Trophy Points:
    54
    I think there's something we should consider regarding VII's charts. VII has always been a franchise inside a franchise. In the last year we had Crisis Core, Before Crisis, Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus, Advent Children Complete, Last Order, PC ver., and G-Bike. VII is always here and it has a huge fanbase among even the people who didn't play the original games. I know a lot of people loving Advent Children, or Crisis Core, but never touched the original game.

    Overall, I think FF as a franchise got damaged a lot with the hole "reinventing itself with every game" thing. Every game since X was some kind of experience. Some people hated X's lack of world map, some hated XII's real time system, some didn't bother with XI and XIV because those are MMOs, some hated XIII's linearity, and some lost interest in XV because it's action battle system. And now it's very hard to find a two fans of the series agreeing on the definition of "Final Fantasy". So yeah I think that was a factor too.
     
  15. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    923
    Trophy Points:
    512
    @Solid Sora I think your point has merits, but FF7 is not immune to the downwards tick in interest either; it's just less impacted by it. For instance, the Google interest ratio for FF7 during the last two months since the remake announcement is still less than half of the fever pitch it was at during Advent Children promotion - FF7 is undoubtedly under less threat, but it's still the same story to a lesser degree!
     
  16. Lulcielid

    Lulcielid Turk

    Messages:
    3,421
    Likes Received:
    1,958
    Trophy Points:
    403
    FF as a franchise has always beeing that way and for that that reason we got games such as VI,VII,IX,X,XII,Tactics (just to name somes) that are considered gems, also the reinventing thing has being happening for years.
     
  17. buddhafied

    buddhafied Clan Centurio Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    133
    Trophy Points:
    137
    What great statistics! Thanks for these numbers and trends! I wonder if Square-Enix themselves pay attention to these kind of trends as well. I can imagine companies in the West pay much attentions to stuff like this but not sure if it's as critical as it is for Japanese firms.

    There are many factors to the "decline" of hype of the Final Fantasy series, in my opinions. Before I continue further, I want to make a disclaimer, since it has become a rather annoying issue in this forum:

    I like Final Fantasy, I like all of them and despite I have frustrations over some of them and my own preferences (I have openly said how much I dislike FFVIII's gameplay for example and my eyerolls every time I have to read Squall's internal dialogue,) I love and support the series whenever I can, I just try not to be too obsessed about certain aspects of it, mostly because I am growing older and there are more important things to do. I am stating this because comments like "haters gonna hate" sometimes ignore the fact the people who voice their dislike of a game actually like the game itself, they just can be more objective about them. In short, I love both FFXII and FFXIII series.

    I personally believe, aside from the industry trend, which we are slowly seeing in favor of JRPG again, a huge part of the declining of FF series can attribute to Square Enix failed to create games that are targeted for the masses after FFX. FFXII and FFXIII, despite they have their merits, were not crowd pleaser to begin with. They took a risk in directions of both of these games, which allowed some creative things to happen, but at the end, both of these games became a niche for gamers with very specific preference: if you like a single player MMO with a massive connected world you'll love FFXII, if you like fast pace slash and hack with interactive play style you'll love FFXIII.

    Final Fantasy is a brand that was, at least from FFVI to FFX, aiming for a broad audience, unlike Persona or even Dragon Quest, which I consider as niche JRPG. A game can be critically acclaimed but still fail commercially success, or, more importantly sometimes, fan's hypes. I personally think with both FFXII and FFXIII, Square heavily focusing them to be different and innovative but less on being games that the mass will love. More over, because of how significantly different these games are, they created huge camps of fans that has different expectations, different definition and different view of what a Final Fantasy game is. From a marketing point of view, that's a disaster. How do you target a new game, say FFXV, to a divided fan base that wants completely different things in terms of game play, art directions and even plot? I think this is one of the reasons why it felt like "Square-Enix can't do nothing right." Because they can't. Expect the unexpected has become their enemy.

    Of course there's nothing wrong that Square-Enix decide to take the series in this direction. After all, it's still a successful brand overall, and you don't have to please all the fans. The difference, however, is Final Fantasy is supposed to be the "pop music" of JRPG. It was the Taylor Swift of JRPG, where it was enjoying both commercially and critically success. Now it sort of become the Lady Gaga after "Born This Way", which is more niche but not what the brand was built to be.

    With FFXV, I really hope Square-Enix can define the series again. Make us fans know what we should be expecting from this series, instead of feeling "will this be one of those that will be more like FFVII, FFXII or FFXIII?"
     
  18. Squirrel Emperor

    Squirrel Emperor Nuts Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    1,702
    Likes Received:
    660
    Trophy Points:
    304
    I think this says a lot about the decline of Japanese gaming and Final Fantasy is just specific example of that. The 7th console generation has really messed things up and hurt the momentum Japan once had.

    JRPG's have always been a niche genre and part of the reason for that is how stagnant they are. They show no room for growth. They've reached their peak during the PS2 era and have regressed since. In contrast, WPRG's show progression and there is plenty of room for growth. They're not niche at all because of it. Final Fantasy used to raise the bar and set the standard and others would follow. Now WRPG's are doing that and you're seeing games like Final Fantasy XV and Xenoblade Chronicles X take a few cues from it. Why? Because that's where the money and excitement is. Final Fantasy basically has some catching up to do.

    It's hard for me to say Final Fantasy XV will change things when so many other games are doing that already and have the numbers and excitement to back it up. The IP probably could have been in better shape if Square Enix was better prepared last generation. But they weren't. So while that tight grip they once had was starting to loosen up a bit, they really lost it during the 7th generation.

    Then you have to talk about the rise of mobile gaming, which has completely taken over Japan and wrecked consumer interest in home consoles and dedicated gaming handhelds. Like some have pointed out, this amazing PS4 lineup seems like a last hurrah. If what they have doesn't change things for the home console market in Japan then what will? It's practically one of the reasons why the FFVII remake is happening.

    I've always felt that even though FFX was critically acclaimed with no development issues, it was the starting point of things to come. That's when we started to see a bigger change in how Final Fantasy games were built. I also think that's when we really started to see what fans value the most in a Final Fantasy game. For example, FFXII focuses on the world itself but not so much the characters. In contrast, FFXIII puts a heavy focus on the characters but not the world itself. There are fans who prefer one over the other and it's one way to really divide up that fan base.

    Games like FFXII and FFXIII. They didn't really start anything. They just enhanced what was already going on. FFXIII I would say was the more powerful enhancer though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
    buddhafied likes this.
  19. BladeRunner

    BladeRunner Chocobo Knight

    Messages:
    940
    Likes Received:
    632
    Trophy Points:
    216
    These seem to be the main reasons for the decline in FF's popularity. I'd add to this list one more factor that ties in with point 2. Every main title after X ran into some serious development issues which resulted in long gaps between releases and negatively impacted their quality. This started with XII which took 6 years to develop, continued with XIII and its troublesome transition into HD era, XIV which had to be recreated from the ground up, and reached its pinnacle with 10 years of XV's development.
     
    buddhafied likes this.
  20. Yause

    Yause Yevonite

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    35
    It's harder to impress these days. Years ago, Square could get by with its CG movies, superior aesthetics (western developers mainly threw together blocky character models with no motion capturing), and emphasis on narrative.

    That was cutting edge at the time, and momentum was strong for several years. However, everyone offers the same things now and more. Much more.

    Count me in as someone who has generally lost interest in Japanese gaming. I follow what's happening (albeit much less closely than a decade ago) and try a lot of games, but the excitement isn't really there anymore. I mainly see a dying industry that's either courting an aging/shrinking generation of players or failing to engage the younger generation.

    The mobile games business is a totally different story, but I have little interest in that kind of content.

    Well, the reinventing became more drastic over time, particularly once Final Fantasy emerged as a top brand on the world stage. Nevertheless, I suspect that they would eventually have lost the worldwide audience anyway had they stuck by more conservative Japanese approaches toward evolution (the other top brands, Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid, had to change drastically as well to keep up with a fast-evolving western market).
     
Registered Members don't see ads. Sign up! It's Free!

Share This Page