Home Gaming Surprise! The biggest publishers in video games did just fine without E3 this year

Surprise! The biggest publishers in video games did just fine without E3 this year

2 min read

With no E3 this year, you might have wondered just how well the biggest players in the video game industry were going to do without a weeklong onslaught of gaming hype to give them free advertising. Turns out, that the long game of constant announcements over many weeks was just as effective! That’s the news according to market analysts Superdata, who detailed how fans still flocked to see regular announcements from the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft.

“Major publishers like Blizzard and PlayStation have been putting on their own events, complete with big reveals, for years, principal analyst Carter Rogers wrote.

Fans and media pay attention to these announcements no matter where or when they happen, so it makes sense for them to control the message and avoid competing with hundreds of other announcements. It’s not unlike how Apple pulled out of CES in favor of their own events. In contrast, smaller companies with less buzz surrounding them benefit from the mainstream attention E3 brings to gaming.

Big, boisterous, industry events cause people to pay attention to announcements they otherwise might miss, and livestreams are not a perfect replacement.

According to Twitch viewership data, the majority of AAA game producers saw an increase in eyeballs and engagement, with Sony walking away as the winner with the “highest average minute audience”, trumping the likes of The Game Awards and Microsoft’s events in 2019. Ubisoft’s Forward showcase was also a big win, earning far more views than its E3 2019 press conference did (1.02 million vs 0.75 million per minute and a free copy of Watch Dogs 2 probably helped).

The only real casualty at the big boy streaming table this year was the PC Gaming Show, which saw a drop in viewers due to the audience believing that there wouldn’t be any headline-grabbing announcements during the publisher livestream singularity. The end result is proof that the biggest players don’t need E3 and will continue to do just fine as they control the message of their own products on their own terms, but it does leave smaller game producers at risk as events like E3 usually allow them to claim some attention during all the week-long craziness.

“Until big in-person gaming events return, the most successful small developers will be those who can form partnerships with platform holders and top publishers,” Rogers added.

This allows them to get their games in front of consumers when they are keeping an eye out for the biggest announcements. For example, the indie game Bugsnax from Young Horses generated buzz after its trailer debuted during the PlayStation 5 reveal. For companies that aren’t AAA publishers or associated with one, the current environment will limit their exposure to potential players and has shown just how valuable these gatherings can be.

Which kind of sounds like a medieval approach to future game show events with an online flavour: Smaller companies complementing the bigger chaps, creating super-states of announcements for games of all shape and size. Has a bit of a feudal touch to it, don’t you think?

Last Updated: July 31, 2020


  1. Iskape

    July 31, 2020 at 09:17

    So, was this the final nail in E3’s coffin?


    • The D

      July 31, 2020 at 10:48

      Doubt it. I think E3 will live on, more focused on smaller games and gamer culture at least. Sort of like PAX.


  2. HairyEwok

    July 31, 2020 at 10:02

    Shocker! Been saying this for a while now, when you hint your games on social media and when you do an online reveal of some sort with exclusive goodies to get while watching it, people will flock to look at it. There is absolutely no need for big company brands to be at gaming expo’s. The only point this will be viable is for Indie companies. So let E3 happen, but let it be more for the indie game companies that need a well established port to show off their talent and passions for game development.

    To get more people into the game you also use streamers to your advantage, usually when drops on twitch go live for a certain game, that specific game gets a big influx of returning players and a small amount of new players. Hate to say it but influencers help the gaming industry.


  3. Pieter Kruger

    July 31, 2020 at 10:22

    HATED it without E3 this year! I like knowing in advance that the biggest annual gaming news will be crammed into a certain period to maximize hype/excitement, like Christmas I look forward to this every year! This year we got drip fed, it was too cluttered and ‘n moerse deurmekaar spul!


    • Pieter Kruger

      July 31, 2020 at 10:27

      And can I just add, yes I know the developers/publishers will be fine financially without E3, but it’s about me, the fan, and them putting up a big show for me, putting effort into it and showing their appreciation to fans! We deserve it!


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