The not-E3 events put on by major publishers seem to have been even more popular than normal this year, putting more pressure on E3 2021.
For years publishers have questioned the need (or rather the expense) of E3, with Sony pulling out of this year’s event long before the coronavirus ensured it was cancelled entirely.
We may never know what Sony was planning to do instead, after they initially promised ‘hundreds’ of consumer events to promote the PlayStation 5, but according to figures from analyst group SuperData both they and Ubisoft drew in many more viewers than last year, even though E3 itself never happened.
In Sony’s case, the fact that their event was the long-awaited reveal of the PlayStation 5’s initial games line-up means it would’ve been huge no matter what, while Ubisoft’s line-up of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Far Cry 6 was arguably more interesting than Watch Dogs: Legion and Ghost Recon Breakpoint last year.
Either way, the first Ubisoft Forward event (a second is planned in September) drew in more viewers than their E3 2019 equivalent, up from 750,000 last year to 1.2 million this year. Although, their offer of a free copy of Watch Dogs 2 for watching probably didn’t hurt those figures.
Sony’s event had the highest average minute audience (AMA) of any recent gaming event, including The Game Awards and the Xbox E3 2019 briefing, but then there’s nothing bigger than the unveiling of a new console.
This will certainly give Sony little encouragement to join in with E3 next year, when it returns, but then technically none of the events ever were part of E3 anyway – they just took place a few days earlier and also happened to be in L.A.
Smaller companies though, as SuperData point out, are likely to wish that E3 does go back to normal next year, as they’re the ones that miss out, since they can’t get as many people to watch their livestreams and benefit much more by being at E3 and/or being featured during one of the console manufacturer’s events.
SuperData use the example that the PC Gaming Show, which ran as usual during the time E3 would’ve been, saw its audience drop significantly from last year, from 141,000 to just 68,000, simply because it didn’t have any major announcements this time.
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