Tech2.Games S01E06: E3 popularity contests, missing games, and the curious case of video game hardware

With the hype of E3 2017 behind us, we can take a calm and calculated look back at the games and hardware announcements as we meticulously prepare our spreadsheets to budget for the several thousand rupees we plan to spend on games this coming fiscal. It’s hard to look at everything objectively, of course, so let’s simply look at some statistics from YouTube and social media.

The popular vote

As we all know, democracy is an imperfect process, but we can confirm 100% that everything video games is quite literally a popularity contest (except in the case of Infinite Warfare or Mass Effect Andromeda, where any publicity ended up being bad publicity). So, which were this year’s most popular E3 trailers on YouTube?

Coming in at #1 is Star Wars: Battlefront 2’s gameplay trailer, which at the time of writing has 8.9 million views.

Battlefront 2 is followed by Super Mario Odyssey’s game trailer, which is also sitting pretty at 8.1 million views.

Assassin’s Creed Origins enjoyed a combined viewership of 5+ million for its gameplay reveal trailers as well across its UK and US channels combined.

YouTube has also been nice enough to aggregate the most popular games from E3. The top-5 rank as follows: Star Wars Battlefront 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, FIFA 18, Call of Duty: World War II and God of War—in that order.

Social media analytics experts Synthesio have also published some data on buzz generated online by various studios, console manufacturers and the games themselves. Instead of using the standardized “Share of Voice” to measure buzz, they use their own metric called “Social Reputation Score” (details of both are available in the blog post linked above). Look at this infographic to see how everyone ranked.

Conspicuously absent

While some games were confirmed pre-show to be absent from E3 2017 such as Halo 6 or the new Battlefield, some games were rather conspicuous by their absence. I’m certain that the whole world was looking forward to seeing some gun-slinging Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay—in the previous episode, I posted a reminder-to-self-and-the-world regarding the game’s existence. However, in retrospect, the platform would have been less than ideal for an RDR2 reveal, as Sony exclusives, Xbox One X and Nintendo caused quite the diluted ruckus.

Having said that, the absence of The Last of Us Part 2 in that one-hour barrage of trailers from the Sony PlayStation conference was quite jarring. While the initial disappointment was troubling, Spider-Man was a legitimate bonus.

Then there’s the curious case of the third-person Star Wars adventure with former Naughty Dog writer/creator Amy Hennig. She spoke late last year about taking Star Wars to a new place. Clearly, that place wasn’t E3 2017. For old time’s sake, let’s watch this 2013 trailer of the Game of the Year that never was: Star Wars 1313.

The case for a future-present next-gen isn’t rock-solid

Let me preface this by saying that this is a rant which can only be described as “incongruous”, given the general theme of this column. While the jump from 1080p to 4K in terms of sheer visual fidelity is massive (never has there been such a dramatic resolution increase in the history of games and consoles), the case for both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X isn’t completely rock-solid.

While Microsoft can take digs at Sony with the promise of “True 4K” (Sony uses a process called “checkerboarding” to produce 4K images on its PS4 Pro—the process involves using a reconstruction filter to effectively double the resolution of a given source), the initial hardware requirement cost of a 4K/HDR capable display remains prohibitive.

What’s more, the game of one-upmanship between Microsoft and Sony resulted in only one of parties flaunting its hardware capabilities while the other played an hour-length movie to “let the games do the talking” in what appeared to be an allergic reaction to the very mention of 4K.

And if you’re a frame rate snob such as myself, neither these platforms nor the games, with the notable exception of the exquisite Forza Motorsport 7 (which runs at 4K/60 frames per second), justify the investment unless you already own a 4K display—given that most, if not all first and third-party titles run at 30fps. Let’s face it: after a session of Overwatch, FIFA 17 or Street Fighter V on your PS4, even the stunning-looking Horizon Zero Dawn feels like a slideshow. Granted, most casual players couldn’t care less about frame rate, but throwing the emphasis on technology and ninja-compromising performance makes the savvy wince.

Let’s wrap this up with some good deals

Killing Floor 2 (PS4) – Free for PS Plus Members

Killing Floor 2 (PC) – Rs 364 (50% off on Steam)

PlayStation Plus Membership - Rs 2,799 (30% off)

Horizon Zero Dawn Digital Deluxe Edition (PS4) – Rs 2,750 (38% off)

Hyper Light Drifter (PS4) – Rs 665 (57% off)

Unravel (Xbox One) – Rs 375 (75% off)


Published Date: Jun 18, 2017 10:16 am | Updated Date: Jun 18, 2017 10:16 am