E3 may have come and gone in the blink of an eye but the discussions will undoubtedly continue for many weeks to come. What game impressed the most? When on Earth is Cyberpunk 2077 coming out? Who exactly “won” E3?
Let’s focus on the latter question for a moment. It’s one that often means different things to different groups. If you’re a gamer then it might come down to whose conference/showcase was most fun to watch. For the press it may be judged on which company had the best line-up. For the publishers and developers though, the focus is on coverage. Whose games were being talked about on Twitter? What games were the first you see on front pages of websites?
With competition fierce it’s becoming increasingly tough to stand out from the crowd especially during one of the biggest gaming events of the year. So Fancensus has picked five of the bigger success stories of the show. The games that managed to rise above the competition and succeed at grabbing the attention of press and key influencers alike.
THE MAGIC OF DISNEY IN KINGDOM HEARTS III
New information on Kingdom Hearts III has been a long, drip-fed process for fans of the series over the years. At E3 this year though, you might argue they were truly spoilt, the game not only receiving a release date but also popping up in the Square Enix showcase as well as both the PlayStation and Xbox events too with new trailers. While games like Devil May Cry 5 and Dying Light 2 would make an appearance in either one or the other when it came to the platform holders, it was strange to see Kingdom Hearts III be the exception to this rule.
It appears to have had a positive effect though. Kingdom Hearts III had an absolutely stellar week for coverage. It was the most talked about game with the press, while also being among the top three games when it came to front page spots. It received the most shares over Facebook along with one of the highest ‘love’ emoji averages for its posts. It also managed to land in the top ten for both YouTube views and Twitter Retweets.
Kingdom Hearts III has been a long time coming and with the finish line now in sight it appears the game is truly kicking things up a gear with its online presence. In fact the game has even surpassed Final Fantasy XV for coverage during E3 2016, the year of its launch. Perhaps it’s the power of Disney’s IP that have drawn people in – Kingdom Hearts III is already teasing a franchise list that extends to Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story, Frozen to name a few. One thing’s for sure with every new trailer reveal, it appears Square Enix can do no wrong.
FALLOUT 76 NEARLY REPEATS HISTORY
When Fallout 4 made its debut back at E3 2015, it made quite the impact with both press and social media. It received the strongest share of coverage on websites as well the second highest amount of YouTube views falling just shy of Black Ops 3’s total. Not only that but it dominated Twitter, with the highest Retweet count and the official Fallout account seeing the biggest increase of followers. Three years later and Fallout 76 would also prove successful.
The game never fell below third place for any of Fancensus’ four monitored sources (third most press coverage, second most Retweets, third most Facebook shares and second highest YouTube views). While it may not have taken the crown, you might argue such a high consistency across all sources is a far better result. While some games may excel in one area such as Twitter, Fallout 76 left its mark everywhere.
Was it as successful as the Fallout 4 reveal back in 2015? Maybe not but then you have to remember the circumstances are different now than they were back then. For one Fallout 4 was a number sequel from a studio whose last entry in the series was by that point seven years old. Fallout 76 is a spin-off, coming off only a three year gap since the last release and one focused on multiplayer at that. 2015 was also Bethesda’s first year hosting a conference. It felt fresh and unexpected. In 2018 it’s now become the norm for the company.
Despite these changes though, Bethesda have managed to make sure Fallout 76 is one of the biggest games of the show. It may not have dominated in the same was as Fallout 4 did three years ago, but it’s strong performance across social and press coverage confirms lightning can strike twice for the series.
SMASH BROS ULTIMATE MAKES A LONG AWAITED RETURN
Nintendo’s Direct event may have been a little more low key than some were hoping for this year, but gamers and press could agree Super Smash Bros. Ultimate delivered in spades. An ambitious project with the biggest roster of likely any fighter to date, the game looks set be one of the biggest sellers of 2018.
So why is it one of the bigger successes of E3? Every year Nintendo is last to reveal their hand at E3, broadcasting a pre-recorded video first thing Tuesday morning (L.A. time that is). With other companies like Ubisoft and Sony or Microsoft and Bethesda all competing for the spotlight on Monday and Sunday respectively, Tuesday is left wide open for Nintendo who much like previous years with Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild absolutely dominated the press and social media for the day. In fact Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received the highest share of press and YouTube views as well as the most Twitter and Facebook interactivity (Retweets and shares) of any product on Tuesday. This day continues to be Nintendo’s.
The game’s success extends beyond just Tuesday though, performing especially strong on social media and YouTube. Interestingly the game received the highest share of positive feedback over Facebook, a statistic that may not surprise given the loyal and passionate fan base this series has gathered over the years.
It’s clear from Nintendo’s Direct that the company’s focus this year is Pokémon and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Some may claim it to be a bold move especially with twenty million Switch sales expected from Nintendo by the end of the financial year. Never underestimate the power of these series though, the latter of which is off to a fantastic start. Let’s hope Nintendo can maintain this momentum going forwards.
CYBERPUNK 2077 AMAZES
For many, the game that stole the show at this year’s event. This ‘win’ focuses more on the critical reception of Cyberpunk 2077 and the excitement surrounding its shockingly impressive behind closed doors demo. For three straight days you couldn’t listen to a podcast or skim over a “Best of” feature without seeing or hearing CD Projekt Red’s RPG epic come up.
That isn’t to say Cyberpunk didn’t perform when it came to coverage – quite the opposite in fact. The game had among the most consistent performance across all four sources (second in press activities, sixth in YouTube views and Facebook shares and eighth in Twitter Retweets). Not only that but it received the highest front page spots of any other product. Clearly this is a game the press and key influencers want to talk about.
More importantly though Cyberpunk 2077 looks to elevate the bar when it comes to what a video game can do. Word of mouth has hinted at a world packed with detail – the kind of detail that has you questioning if it’s even possible on current consoles. As far as debuts go, CD Projekt has done everything right by introducing the public to Cyberpunk 2077 via a polished, slick trailer and showing just enough to the press that word starts to spread like wildfire. The wait for this game will be a long one but it’s one gamers out there are clearly happy to wait for.
FORTNITE CONTINUES TO GROW
Of course Fortnite is here.
This year’s E3 saw a number of huge announcements and video games make their official debut. Indie projects, new IP and big sequels all peppered throughout what was a very busy week full of conferences, showcases and live streams. Amidst all the chaos though, one product that we’ve all been playing for months still continued to make headlines. Epic Games’ Fortnite may not technically be a future release but its presence at E3 made sure it wasn’t forgotten during a week where we’re supposed to be focused on the future of the industry and new products.
One might argue though that Fortnite is the perfect game to highlight when talking about the future, a point made very clear by this past week. Epic Games hosted a huge tournament consisting of a mix of both key influencers and celebrities while Nintendo Switch owners finally received their own version of the game also. And sure the kerfuffle with Epic accounts has gathered some negative attention, but it seems Sony have been placed in the spotlight for this and not Fortnite itself. The game continues to be everywhere and this is translating to a strong presence with not only the press but social media too.
Unsurprisingly YouTube channels continued to publish videos making it the most watched title not just at E3 but period with over 300 million views. Key influencers alone accounted for a majority of this figure again not surprising since the game is out there and playable. On the press side of things Fornite landed at number seven for most articles placing it above hugely anticipated AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Death Stranding. Twitter paints a similar picture too, Fortnite placing sixth overall for number of Retweets received over the time period.
In a week where I was expecting to see Fortnite fever slow a little, E3 only served to continue its success showing that even competing during an event filled with world exclusives and big announcements there is no stopping the Fortnite train.