Ranked: The most anticipated games of 2022
According to Statista, the global gaming market was worth $178 billion in 2021, and is set to increase to a staggering $268.8 billion by 2025.
During the global pandemic many people may have turned to video games for the first time, as an escape from the uncertainty and restrictions they were experiencing in everyday life. And the popularity of video games shows no signs of decline. With an estimated 3.2 billion video gamers worldwide in 2021, it makes sense as to why there’s so much excitement surrounding the 200+ games that could be released in 2022.
But which ones are we looking forward to playing the most? Our latest research explores the global online search volumes for up-and-coming new game releases (excluding games that are re-releases for next-gen consoles). So, sit back, relax, and keep on reading to discover the releases that gamers are most looking forward to in 2022.
Elden Ring is the most highly anticipated game worldwide
With 939,000 searches a month globally, Elden Ring has topped our list as the most highly anticipated gaming release. Following several delays, it’s now due to be available on 25 February for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Windows PC.
In second position is God of War: Ragnarok, with 768,000 searches per month. Fans have been waiting for this much-anticipated sequel since 2018. With no specific release date other than 2022, gamers will have to be patient for a little while longer to experience Kratos and Atreus journeying to the Nine Realms, whilst feeling the ever-looming threat of Ragnarok returning. In third place is Monster Hunter Rise (which is available to buy now), with 691,000 searches a month.
Dying Light 2 and Horizon Forbidden West make up the top five most-anticipated games worldwide.
Elden Ring, Hogwarts Legacy and LEGO Star Wars are the most anticipated in the UK
If we break this down into the top ten gaming markets, Elden Ring still comes out on top, reaching number one in eight of the ten key countries: the USA, UK, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Canada. It seems UK gamers can’t wait for its release, with 58,000 searches each month, however, the USA is way ahead with a huge 296,000 monthly searches for the upcoming action RPG.
After Elden Ring, the UK is most looking forward to the releases of Hogwarts Legacy, and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, whereas the USA can’t wait for God of War: Ragnarok and Monster Hunter Rise. In contrast, Japan’s second and third most anticipated games are Horizon Forbidden West, and Splatoon 3, which will see several new moves, weapons and enemies introduced.
Monster Hunter Rise is the most anticipated in China and France, while it’s Elden Ring yet again that’s set to be the biggest hit in Italy, with Hogwarts Legacy coming in second. There’s no set date for the magical release, but it’s said to be set in the Wizarding World in the 1880s, with players becoming students at Hogwarts and learning to cast spells, tame beasts and create their own potions.
In contrast, the game the UK is least excited for is eFootball 2022, with 0 searches a month. Whilst Japan, China, France, and Germany are least excited for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (it received 0 searches in Japan).
With so many games set to be released over the next twelve months, it’s clear why there’s so much excitement around them. If you’ve got your eyes set on a particular release date, make sure you carry out a broadband speed test beforehand – after all, there’s nothing worse than starting a game for the first time, only to have it ruined by constant lagging and freezing.
To determine a shortlist of 2022 game releases, we consulted with the gaming experts at ebuyer.com. We then collated the online Global Search Volumes** for each new*** game via ahrefs keywords explorer [data correct as of 07/01/22].
We identified the top 10 leading gaming markets worldwide [Statista, released June 2020, published by Newzoo] and used ahrefs keywords explorer once more to obtain the search volume of each top 20 game in those markets^^. This allowed us to identify which up-and-coming gaming releases are the most anticipated by country [search data correct as of [12/01/2022]. For S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2: Heart of Chernobyl we searched for 'Stalker 2' based on ahrefs suggested top searches for the game.
**Global search volume shows how many times per month, on average, people search for the target keyword across all countries, according to the ahrefs database.
***Any games that had previously been released on any platform before 2022 have been omitted from this list, such as Cyberpunk 2077, which was released in 2020. Games released in January 2022, however, have been included.
^^Due to search data not being available for the whole of China, where China is referenced, the data was gathered for Hong Kong.