E3 is a bit of an anomaly – a trade show that’s managed to breach the boundary between industry and consumer interest. An indication of the obsessive nature of tech and in particular gaming fanatics, the show has grown from being industry specific to the source of reams and reams of consumer media coverage.
The 2011 event which took place last week was no exception, and as ever the big players were battling to dominate headlines. Perhaps a truer reflection of what caught consumer’s attention though, is the buzz on the social networks, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at who the big winners were there.
Firstly, a bit of methodology: I’m looking at the three big hardware players – Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, over the duration of the show with a day either side and only including mentions which mention E3 directly. See the bottom of this post for more detail on this.
It’s been fairly unanimous among the media that the big PR winner at the show was Nintendo. The announcement of their successor to the Wii, the Wii U, has dominated the headlines from the show, a new Zelda and better 3DS games on the horizon saw to that. So they dominated media, but did they dominate the social media conversations? Well, in a word, yes:
This shows mentions across all social media – blogs, forum posts, Tweets, public Facebook updates, images, videos, aggregators and comments. Nintendo marginally trumps Microsoft, with Sony lagging some way behind.
This is how the topics trended over last week:
The big peaks indicate where each brand had their press conferences. Nintendo’s peak does not hit as high as Microsoft’s but the conversation went on for longer, as there was clearly more to discuss around a new console than Microsoft’s new games.
Perhaps most surprising thing we see here is Microsoft beating Sony by such a margin. Especially considering Sony did make a big hardware announcement in the form of the new mobile gaming platform the Playstation Vita, whilst Microsoft’s main announcements were game related and not specifically included in this analysis. Xbox does have the higher market share over Playstation, and given Sony’s recent woes over their network hacking, consumer trust and engagement must be down – I’d suggest these are the two factors behind Microsoft’s position ahead of them.
So that’s just the numbers. Here’s a bit on sentiment:
Taking a rough look at sentiment of mentions – just the positive, somewhat positive, negative and mixed – the winner is Microsoft, with more positive mentions and less negative compared to Nintendo.
Having looked through the negative conversation around Nintendo, this blog post neatly sums it up. The first issue is confusion around what the new tablet based controller is supposed to be for, how it actually works. The second issue is that by nature people following E3 are generally the tech and gaming obsessives. The Wii U, like the original Wii, is aimed squarely at the family and more casual gaming market. A bigger market, but one that is less likely to have been watching the announcements over in LA last week, much less blogging and tweeting about them. The more techy online community are calling out what they see as technical trade-offs that Nintendo have made on their new console – rather than an iPad-like touch screen, in order to make it affordable the controller is plastic. There is also the slightly alarming news that Nintendo’s share price actually dropped 10% as the announcement was made.
Does any of this mean Nintendo’s new console is doomed? I don’t think so – I myself am confused as to how it will actually work, but all the reactions from media who had a hands-on experience suggest that you just need to try it. The market Nintendo are targeting are not likely to care that the controller isn’t a high spec touch screen, or that the console’s processing power will be lesser than the next generation Xbox and Playstation iterations, they just want a fun family gaming platform. It is telling that the announcement of the original Wii caused a similar reaction when announced at E3 in 2005, before going on to become the dominant console in terms of global market share.