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Microsoft "wins" E3 coverage race

ICO Partners finds Xbox One X helped platform holder garner most ink, with Nintendo and Ubisoft posting strong showings as well

[UPDATE]: ICO Partners' original tracking period for E3 media coverage omitted Saturday, June 10, which was when Electronic Arts held its EA Play conference. As a result, EA's games were reported as receiving less press coverage than they actually did.

"With the proper dataset, EA's performance is much more in line with the profile of the company over the past few years, with Star Wars Battlefront II as a top game, and Anthem's performing very well, in great part due to the double featuring at the EA conference and the Microsoft event," Bideaux wrote in his corrected post.

The original story follows below, but with a corrected version of the second graphic. [/UPDATE]

With E3 2017 firmly in the rear-view mirror, ICO Partners today released its annual assessment of which companies and games generated the most press coverage during the show. The firm has conducted this analysis after each of the past few E3s, but ICO CEO Thomas Bideaux noted in his blog post there was something different about this year's numbers.

"For the first time since we started measuring media coverage at E3 in 2014, Sony is not leading," Bideaux said. "It has to be said that the gap between them and Microsoft is very small, but this comes on the back of Microsoft growing for the fourth year in a row, and where Sony had its third best performance out of four [E3s] (on the back of its best performance last year).

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"Nintendo, on the other hand, has had its best E3, doubling the coverage they got last year. The Switch is clearly a commercial success and is also popular with the media. With a smaller lineup than its competitors, it is quite the performance for them. The wider third-party program, with Ubisoft's partnership at the forefront, is likely a significant contribution."

In fact, Bideaux singled out Nintendo and Ubisoft as the big winners of the show. For Nintendo, he said it was a return to the spotlight and a significant boost in their media presence, while he hailed Ubisoft for "their numerous announcements, the way they were orchestrated, and the stellar execution of the Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer release..."

As for other third-party publishers, Bideaux seemed disappointed in EA's performance, particularly in Star Wars Battlefront 2. It wasn't even the best-covered EA game (that would be the new BioWare IP Anthem), despite the popularity of the brand and excitement over this holiday season's release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He was also unsure if "the EA Play formula" hurt the publisher's coverage. EA Play kicked off with EA's press conference on the Saturday before E3 this year, and the fanfest part ended on Monday, technically before E3 officially began on Tuesday. On top of that, EA did not have a booth on the show floor for attendees to try out its games.

Ubisoft had the most covered game of the show with Assassin's Creed Origins, which Bideaux chalked up to its featured spots at two of the big conferences (Microsoft and Ubisoft), as well as being playable on the E3 show floor. Skyrim was technically second on the ICO charts, but that's a bit misleading as it includes coverage of the upcoming Switch port of Skyrim, the separate Skyrim VR project and The Elder Scrolls Legends expansion pack featuring Skyrim. Rounding out the top five were Anthem, Destiny 2, and Super Mario Odyssey.

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As for other trends, Bideaux noted that VR coverage was down across the board this year, with PlayStation VR in particular only receiving half as much coverage as it did during E3 2016.

ICO Partners runs the analysis each year, comparing the number of articles written about each platform, major game and any other key trends. Details on the company's methodology can be found here.

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Latest comments (1)

Bobby McGill Marketing Assistant, Rebellion DevelopmentsA month ago
Would be interesting to see how deep the dive is for the articles. I wonder if the introduction of the public meant smaller sites were able to access the conference, hence an increase in number of articles from E3. Really interesting read!
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