E3 (and this year's adjacent events) achieves one thing, if nothing else: it gets people talking about video games.
Every surprise reveal, every in-depth gameplay trailer and every partnership announcement has the potential to launch thousands of excitable forum discussions and convoluted fan theories, as well as tweets conveying peak levels of both hype and snark.
With the dust fully settled from last week's reveals, various platforms and companies have released their statistics on what were this year's biggest hits, which we have collated -- along with a little analysis commissioned by GamesIndustry.biz -- below.
The rapid-fire social media platform is very much the go-to destination for discussions for many in the gaming sphere, and Twitter included a section specifically about the conversations around E3 in its half-year update last week.
Focusing specifically on the official event, the company said that at one point during the four days -- June 12 to 15 -- 26 of the top 30 Worldwide Trends were related to the emerging games news.
According to Twitter, the most discussed games were:
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel
- Elden Ring
- Battlefield 2042
- Halo Infinite
- Forza Horizon 5
The company also singled out the tweet from the official Elden Ring account bearing the first gameplay trailer as the most viewed video of E3.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States was the country that produced the most E3 week tweets, followed by Japan and Spain respectively. The United Kingdom and Brazil rounded out the Top Five.
The social network dedicated a blog post to its findings from this year's E3 week, searching all posts for mentions of both new game reveals and established games that received updates and announcements during the various showcases.
Interestingly, the top five titles here are significantly different to that of Twitter, with only Microsoft's upcoming racer and EA's futuristic shooter in both lists.
The most mentioned new game reveals were:
- Battlefield 2042
- Forza Horizon 5
- Halo Infinite
- Metroid Dread
The top three above also mirrors the top three trailers on Facebook that achieved the highest views and engagement (likes, reactions, shares and so on).
Ubisoft was the most mentioned games company during the week, followed by Bethesda, Activision, Capcom and Square Enix.
All in all, Facebook claims there were 1.2 billion gaming engagements when you combine all posts, likes, shares and comments.
Market researcher Fancensus kindly prepared the tables below for GamesIndustry.biz to give us an exclusive insight into what people were watching during the week.
Nintendo's E3 2021 Direct was the most popular broadcast at more than 10 million views above what the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase achieved -- although it's worth noting the Direct was broadcast across over 100 more channels than Xbox (but don't tell Nintendo).
Here were the most viewed presentations of the week
|Product Title||Views||Channel Count||Reach||% Likes||% Influencer|
|Xbox & Bethesda||14.4m||191||44.3m||97%||7%|
|Summer Game Fest Kick Off||9.7m||172||51.5m||96%||14%|
|Square Enix Presents||3.2m||85||42.3m||89%||16%|
|PC Gaming Show||2.5m||115||26.5m||94%||26%|
|Koch Media Primetime Event||1.8m||48||22.7m||94%||6%|
Looking at individual trailers, Elden Ring was the most popular release of the week, as it was on Twitter. Again, we see Forza Horizon 5 and Battlefield 2042 performing well, as they did on Facebook, but also a lot more interest in Ubisoft and Square Enix's titles, including the debut footage of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.
Below are the most watched E3 week trailers on YouTube. '% Influencer' shows the percentage of views that came from influencer channels.
|Product Title||Views||Channel Count||% Likes||% Influencer|
|Forza Horizon 5||20.5m||125||98%||34%|
|Avatar Frontiers Of Pandora||10.2m||100||96%||27%|
|Rainbow Six: Extraction||7.1m||98||96%||45%|
|Guardians Of The Galaxy Game||6.8m||184||93%||23%|
|Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Sequel||5.1m||130||98%||78%|
|Mario and Rabbids Sparks of Hope||4m||82||97%||26%|
|Far Cry 6||2.7m||79||97%||33%|
|Just Dance 2022||2.1m||27||97%||9%|
|The Outer Worlds 2||1.9m||44||98%||4%|
|Evil Dead: The Game||1.8m||30||98%||7%|
|Back 4 Blood||1.4m||36||97%||5%|
|Age Of Empires IV||1.3m||31||96%||15%|
|Jurassic World Evolution 2||1.2m||27||99%||69%|
|Microsoft Flight Simulator||1.2m||27||99%||11%|
It's not just consumers talking about the games shown off during E3 week. Each year's reveals typically trigger a spike in media coverage for the biggest upcoming games, and ICO -- a UK-based communications, business and marketing agency for the games industry -- prepared a breakdown for us.
Below is a ranking of the games that received the most mentions -- both in the headline and the article itself -- across more than 30,000 websites over the course of the week:
|Forza Horizon 5||1,757|
|Marvel's Avengers - Updates & Expansion||1,602|
|Far Cry 6||1,512|
|Back 4 Blood||1,349|
|Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy||1,349|
|Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope||1,253|
We've already reported on GameStop's top ten most pre-ordered titles following the announcements of E3 week, but it's worth including them here since the historic function of the trade show has been to drum up interest and ultimately sales in the biggest games of Christmas.
Here's what gamers were itching to get their hands on by the end of the week:
- Metroid Dread (Nintendo)
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (Nintendo)
- Mario Golf Switch (Nintendo)
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl (Nintendo)
- Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Square Enix)
- Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft)
- Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance (Wizards of the Coast)
- Madden NFL '22 (Electronic Arts)
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo)
If you missed any of the big news during E3 2021 and all the adjacent events, be sure to check out our breakdown of all the announcements, plus a guide to all the release dates revealed during the event.