Major publishers did not suffer from E3’s absence – but indies may struggle, says SuperData

This year’s cancellation of E3 has not affected major publishers’ abilities to garner attention for their releases.

This is according to analyst firm SuperData, who used data gathered from Twitch following this year’s online showcases from Playstation and Ubisoft. According to the data, major publishers actually saw a higher level of engagement than seen in similar broadcasts associated with live events.

“The reception to the June 11 PlayStation 5 reveal demonstrated that Sony is one of the companies that is fine skipping E3,” said SuperData principal analyst Carter Rogers. “Plenty of people were eager to hear more about the successor to one of the most popular consoles of all time, and the event had the highest average minute audience (AMA) of recent similar gaming events like the Game Awards or the Xbox E3 2019 briefing.”

Indeed, Sony’s PS5 reveal stream saw an average audience of of 1.51 million people – far higher than the E3 2019 Xbox briefing, at 0.94 million people. Of course, Sony did not attend that year’s E3, nor did it intend to attend in 2020 prior to the event’s cancellation.

It was a similar story for the Ubisoft Forward stream on July 12th, had higher viewership than the company’s E3 2019 broadcast, with Ubisoft Forward seeing an average minute audience of 1.02 million, compared to E3 2019’s 0.75 million – likely a result of fans turning in to see the Far Cry 6 trailer, which was teased via a prior leak.

However, while major publishers can garner more attention outside of E3, the same can’t be said for indie titles.

“For example, the PC Gaming Show, which focuses mainly on a wide range of indie to midsize games, experienced lower live viewership on its official stream in 2020 than in 2019,” SuperData said.

“Without the likelihood of headline-grabbing announcements, some viewers may not have felt it was worth tuning in when the event wasn’t already part of wall-to-wall E3 press conferences.”

For comparison, the PC Gaming Show saw an average minute audience of 141,000 in 2019, which fell to just 68,000 in 2020.

According to SuperData, smaller companies benefit from their proximity to the larger announcements during E3, and so these smaller companies may feel E3’s absence more keenly.


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