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Xbox and Cyberpunk 2077 won the battle for media coverage at E3 2019

ICO Partners' annual report indicates strong coverage for the absent Sony, and finds Square Enix was the most talked about publisher

Xbox emerged from E3 2019 as the most talked about platform holder, according to data on media coverage from ICO Partners, and CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 was the most widely discussed game in the press.

ICO Partners' technology monitored press coverage across eight days of E3 2019 -- from June 9 to 16 for all companies except Google Stadia and EA, the monitoring of which started on June 6 and June 7 respectively, due to the dates of their pre-E3 events.

This year, the console platform that received the most media coverage was Xbox. Given the amount that Microsoft packed into its press briefing, and the fact that Sony elected to skip E3 for the first time, that is perhaps not surprising.

What is a surprise is the amount of attention that PlayStation still received; 76% of the coverage of Xbox, despite the brand not being officially present at the event.

It is also worth noting the ground that Nintendo has made up relative to its main competitors since E3 2016, when it received just 26% of the coverage of that year's leading brand, PlayStation.

Indeed, while ICO Partners' analytics tools found more coverage of Xbox than PlayStation or Nintendo this year, the firm noted that Microsoft's dominance was "not quite as impressive as it could be" given the debut of Project Scarlett and an onstage appearance by Keanu Reeves.

That memorable moment was, of course, connected to CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077, which was one of the focal points of the Xbox briefing. It was also mentioned in more articles than any other game at E3, finishing comfortably ahead of the remake of Final Fantasy VII.

FromSoftware's Elden Ring, which is being made in collaboration with the author George R R Martin, is one of only two new IPs among the top 15 games. The other is Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends, which was not announced until after E3 2018, but was a known quantity going into this year's event.

The third place game is also significant: Marvel's Avengers, which means that Square Enix is the publisher of two of the three most talked about games at E3 2019.

The strength of these two products put Square Enix at the top of the list of publishers with the most mentions in press coverage -- ahead of both Ubisoft and Bethesda, which also hosted press events.

According to ICO Partners, this is the first time that Square Enix has been the dominant third-party publisher since it started tracking E3 media coverage. The GamesIndustry.biz team also selected Square Enix as Best Publisher in our annual E3 Awards.

However, while Sony did not attend the event, the strength of the PlayStation brand in the modern, multi-platform publishing environment -- of the ten most covered games, seven will be released on multiple consoles -- was evident in the number of articles that still mentioned the PS4.

In fact, while the Xbox brand was covered more by the press than Sony or Nintendo, the Xbox One was mentioned fewer times than the Switch or PlayStation 4, and Sony's platform still featured in the most articles overall.

In terms of game platforms, ICO Partners singled out Google Stadia, which "performed very well for a newcomer." Indeed, it was even ahead of Project Scarlett, the next console from Xbox and one of the big reveals of the Microsoft press briefing.

You can find more insights on E3 media coverage from ICO Partners -- and information on its methodology -- in the full article on its official blog.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.