The free-to-play MMOG not only bests some of Hollywood’s top stars, but it’s also the only videogame to make Yahoo’s top ten search list for 2008.
In a year that brought us heavyweight titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Gears of War 2 and Wii Fit, Runescape managed to be the only videogame to make Yahoo’s top ten searches for 2008. The browser-based, free-to-play MMOG placed fifth in overall searches, ranking above the likes of Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie and yes, even Naruto.
Yahoo likens the results to the game’s international popularity, resting primarily on its cheap access (see: free), ability to run on a wide variety of machines and what they call “compelling play.” Having been around for nearly a decade now, the eight year old MMOG is constantly introducing new experiences, with a graphical overhaul and player-versus-player combat being the most significant additions in the past year. Although, it may be its shadier developments that have something to do with its rise in the search rankings, with an underground black market having developed to buy in-game items and gold for real-world cash. Still, what’s happening in Runescape is no more grey than what’s occurring right now in other MMOG titles.
In 2007, Nintendo Wii topped videogames for Yahoo searches, though even in its own dedicated tech category, it only landed in seventh place, quickly followed by Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.