Who Won E3? Analysing E3 2018 via Reddit Threads

As a small side project, I decided to analyse the E3 video game event held every year. Firstly, I’ve played around with different APIs including Reddit’s, YouTube’s and Twitter’s and finally settled with Reddit. The question I wanted to answer was:

The longer version of that is:

Which Publishers and Video Games gained the most positive coverage from the event?

I would answer this question by:

  1. Comparing the number of Upvotes each E3 2018 Reddit Submission had
  2. Comparing the number of comments each E3 2018 Submission had
  3. Comparing the total views each E3 2018 Trailer had on YouTube
  4. Categorising groups of Reddit Submissions by Game Title, Publisher and Conference
  5. Categorising groups of YouTube trailers by Game Title, Publisher and Conference

Based on the original question, the winners of E3 2018 via Reddit and YouTube would be:

  1. The game and publisher with the highest scores
  2. The most viewed or talked about game or publisher

The details of the report are below but here are the highlights:

  1. Cyberpunk 2077 had the highest Reddit Score
  2. Bethesda had the best Conference, running away with Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield and Fallout 76
  3. Best New Game goes to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  4. Biggest underperforming game goes to Anthem
  5. Biggest underperforming video game company goes to Ubisoft

Considerations:

  • The Reddit Extraction consisted of only the /r/Games subreddit between 10th — 13th June 2018
  • The time of Reddit data extraction was done 2 weeks after the event finished
  • The time of the YouTube data extraction done 2 weeks after the event finished
  • Submissions without the E3 2018 tag have been removed from the analysis
  • Bethesda Softworks / Bethesda have been merged as the same “Publisher” for the sake of this analysis
  • Sony / Sony Interactive Entertainment have been merged as the same “Publisher” for the sake of this analysis
  • A “Publisher” for the sake of this analysis includes all the AAA game companies that either had their own conference or showcased at the event.
  • The conferences of focus will be EA, Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, PC, Nintendo, Square Enix, Bethesda
  • How does /r/Games work?

“The goal of /r/Games is to provide a place for informative and interesting gaming content and discussions” — A Subreddit where gamers discuss video games. There is a bias towards consoles due to their popularity that should be considered when analysing the sub. Also particular tastes in certain game genres and animosity towards certain video game companies

  • What is E3?

The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018 (E3 2018) was the 24th Electronic Entertainment Expo, during which hardware manufacturers, software developers, and publishers from the video game industry presented new and upcoming products to the attendees, primarily retailers and members of the video game press. The event, organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

  • How /r/Games manages E3

/r/Games did a fantastic job of having a plan to manage the event that consequentially made data analysis much easier. Particularly the E3 2018 tag that made filtering the relevant reddit submissions a lot more convenient. I was also able to use the extra pieces of information in the individual game threads to analyse YouTube trailers.

Metrics of Measurement

  • Reddit Upvotes
  • Reddit Score
  • Reddit Comments
  • YouTube Views

The extraction was done on 27th June 2018 and returned 105 post submissions with the E3 2018 Reddit Flair. After some filtering I categorised them into Game Threads and Publisher Threads. This allowed for the results to make more sense in terms of context. For example, it’s not beneficial to compare a Megathread discussing a conference of 20 games to a thread discussing one single game.

The results

Initial Thoughts:

  • As expected Cyberpunk 2077 is a clear winner but Elder Scrolls VI performed well considering all that was revealed was a 36 seconds trailer of a scenic view. One can assume Redditors enjoy speculating more than analysing the final product.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was a huge reveal for Nintendo’s cult following and it’s growing Switch base. The trailer was brimming with information and a roster heavy release provided plenty of discussion points.
  • Trying to piece together Kojima’s mysterious concepts continues to be a high talking point as Death Stranding’s latest video gave us more questions than answers.
  • It’s not Bloodborne 2 but From Software’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice gave us a lot to chew on and even more so than The Last of Us 2’s enthralling demo.
  • You can already tell Bethesda is dominating the E3 2018 discussion without really showing us much. On the face of it, speculation seems to be the big winner here.

Conferences

E3 2018 Press Conference Schedule
  • At face value, Microsoft Xbox seemed to have had the most eventful conference whereas Playstation seemed to have under-performed, falling behind Nintendo and PC but there is a lot more to unpack from the data.
  • Bethesda has done very well upstaging Nintendo and Playstation
  • EA getting an overall Reddit Score on-par with Playstation and more than Square Enix/Ubisoft and PC combined was a minor surprise.

Looking deeper into the Xbox Conference, I pulled the scores on the related Game Threads.

  • Cyperpunk 2077 with 18,591 Score swayed the Reddit Score in Xbox’s favour.
  • Most of the overall Reddit Score seems derived from non-exclusives with Cyberpunk 2077 (35.8%), Seikiro Shadows Die Twice (11.1%) and Fallout 76 (6.32%) making up more than half of the Score.
  • It seems weird for a lot of AAA titles to opt to be Microsoft’s Conference over Playstation’s. Were they scared of being overshadowed by their first-party titles?

I realised I could pull the YouTube views from the trailers uploaded to the subreddit and here are the initial results…

  • Fallout 76 has the highest views with 29,846,597
  • Second highest is 14,083,958 views (for some reason it says 13M on YouTube right now but the YouTube API can be rough at times) for Cyberpunk 2077.
  • The breakdown looks slightly different from the Reddit Score with Sea of Thieves being second highest but this may be due to how video trailers are distributed across multiple channels. For example, Fallout 76 Trailer from Bethesda’s official channel is way higher than the Microsoft Conference version.
  • I wouldn’t look too much into these results for now, I do intend to investigate further in another blog focused solely on YouTube trailers.

So how does this look side by side?

Firstly consider that video distribution is sporadic i.e. same videos appearing across multiple channels. This chart is only of the videos within the each Reddit Conference Megathread.

  • So Reddit and YouTube audiences show similar levels of interest. Even though this analysis limited I was expecting a bigger disparity for EA between it’s Reddit Score and YouTube views when compared to the other conferences.
  • I have had time to work out succint explanation to these numbers and why we can’t take them at face value. In short, Bethesda videos are concentrated on their official channel whereas other publishers have their videos distributed across other publications like Gamespot and IGN. This makes getting the full extend of Bethesda’s viewership on YouTube super easy.

Game Threads

The Upvote Ratio for the Game Threads was 0.8 with the top games with less than 0.01 between them. The upvote ratios are so close together that I thought it would be more beneficial to look at the bottom 20. In doing so, I’ve across a few surprise entries such as Anthem.

  • After recognising that the games with the highest upvote ratio were new game announcements I checked the lowest at the other tail end.
  • Anthem, FIFA 19 and PUBG were notable finds. The negative sentiment against Anthem has been very high since Bioware announced it. PUBG’s is a recent development coinciding with the rise of Fortnite and FIFA 19 is predictable based on the preferences of /r/Games.

Now what games generated the most discussion on /r/Games?

Note: When looking at Reddit comments quantitatively, it’s important to know the difference between top-level comments and all comments (that include replies to the top comments). As it is a discussion forum, a post may contain a lot of comments due to constant back and forth but hold less than average volume of top-level comments.

Now comparing the posts with the most top-level comments and the post with the most comments overall, I see a couple trends.

  • You can see the new games warranted new (top) comments of redditors giving their verdict on the announcement. For example, Devil May Cry 5 has the highest top comments followed by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Beyond Good and Evil.
  • Whereas new information on games we’re already aware of, had Redditors discussing amongst themselves. Whereas The Elder Scrolls VI and Cyperpunk 2077 looks to involve a lot of back-and-forth but a few games buck this trend like Super Smash bros and The Last of Us II.

Publishers

By adding up the reddit scores of each game thread and grouping them by publisher, I was able to calculate the sum total of each Publisher’s showings at E3 2018.

  • Bethesda performed really well, surpassing the likes of Sony and Nintendo
  • Sony performed a lot better when looking at the individual game threads rather than the conference thread
  • CD Projekt Red got the third highest score with one game thread whilst only being known for one game (Witcher 3). Their public perception is sky high right now and the anticipation for Cyberpunk 2077 is off the charts
  • I personally find it peculiar that Square Enix beat Ubisoft and EA even with the latter’s controversial reputations as they still put out popular titles such as Battlefield and Assassin Creed.

Here I added in a chart with the number of reveals per publisher.

  • Ubisoft (11 games, 7707 score), Square Enix(9 games, 8856), EA (6, 6181), Microsoft(8, 9581) had more posts but no quality “hits”. None of them even bridged 10,000 with their combined scores
  • *EA’s score looked a bit off so I checked and “Battle Royale is coming to Battlefield V” post with 7.2K Upvotes was not included in EA’s overall score. It’s an awkward one because it’s not a discussion thread in response to the Battlefield showing at the EA Conference but a separate tweet.
  • There’s a missing label between EA and Bandai Namco, those are PC games.

I decided to breakdown further these Reddit Scores sum totals…

Broken down further, you can see which games were most popular per publisher. A few things I noticed:

  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 (2142) was Ubisoft’s big reveal as it did better than Division 2 (743) and Assassin Creed’s Odyssey (1645)
  • Xbox still seems to be missing a big anticipated title as Halo Infinite is their biggest with a score of 3251 vs. Bethesda, CDPR, Nintendo lead titles all over 10k and Sony with 2 over 5k
  • Babylon’s Fall garnered a lot of interest with a score of 2598 which may have something to do with the positive sentiment from the runaway success of Nier Automata (the last collaboration between Platinum Games and Square Enix)

Winners and Losers of E3 2018 /r/Games

Winners:

  • Cyberpunk 2077 anticipation continues at an all time high
  • Bethesda was the most talked about Publisher dominating even though the big announcements themselves contained little detail besides the mysterious Fallout 76 announcement

Losers:

  • Anthem didn’t garner much attention or positive reception even with the combined backing of Bioware and EA.
  • Ubisoft — Assassin Odyssey and The Division sequels should have done a lot more but the skepticism of Ubisoft the subreddit seems to be ever-present.
  • Microsoft — For a console, it’s IPs are becoming more and more uninteresting. Leaving very little to analyse too.

Overall, all the big hitters happened in the Xbox Conference. Bethesda was the best performing Publisher by way of mystery. Playstation had a subdued one by its standards, but maybe they were holding back for the Tokyo Game Show and Playstation Experience Event later this year. Ubisoft under-performed considering the number of reveals they had, that may hint towards skeptism of their products, even more so than EA.

This is my first time doing anything like this so any feedback would be welcome.

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Experimenting with Python and Social Media APIs using web scraping, exploratory data analysis and amateur coding.