Back in the day, you really had to work hard to pull pranks in Google search results by planting Google Bombs and such. These days, now that the Internet is run by deranged robots made of clouds, it seems Google will happily prank itself. Case in point: today, searching for Steam on Google could return a listing describing Valve’s digital store with the words “FUCK EPIC GAMES STORE” and fragments of broken ASCII art. It doesn’t seem to be the result of a hack, prank, or corporate warfare, just some robot seeing a Steam user’s review of Metro Exodus and thinking “Yeah gwan that’s probably important” in its vaporous little brain.
My fellow Alice, the Bee, saw ↑ that result when she looked after PCGamesN pointed it out. I’m in the same office today but my Google had cached something different, just listing store categories. Maybe Google thinks she’s rowdier than me. Me and my delicate sensibilities. Or the cloud hanging over my computer just drizzled a different result from its cache. It’s a fleeting thing.
As VG247 noted, the cussing and busted ASCII art quoted by Google seems to be someone’s full review of Metro Exodus. The fragments are of a big hairy hand with its middle finger extened. Rude gestures are quite popular amongst Exodus’s Steam user reviews.
The post-apocalyptic FPS launched on Steam last week after one year exclusive to the Epic Games Store. It’s the third game in a well-liked series and it’s pretty deece (see our Metro Exodus review), so this has been a long wait for fans who refuse to use the Epic Games Store.
Epic have paid to keep a fair number of games exclusive to their store — or at least off Steam — by guaranteeing a chunk of cash up front as well as a larger cut of sales. A number of devs have told us that this gives them much-needed stability in an unstable industry, but Epic exclusivity is not quite popular amongst some players. The Epic Games Store launched in December 2018 with a typical scloosie period of one year, so the first games are now hitting other stores.
Metro Exodus is selling well on Steam, and Steam’s front page has a section promoting popular games by quoting from highly-rated user reviews. While that box is currently showing a different review to me, the bird-flipping review is also rated highly by other users so… well, as VG247 speculate, it seems this chain of circumstances has conspired to make Google accidentally shout “FUCK EPIC GAMES STORE.”