E3 2017 by the numbers: 55% more gameplay on show than E3 2016

Matt Sayer 22 June 2017 NEWS


More gameplay and fewer teasers made for a refreshing change of pace.

Teaser trailers for games are rarely anything but a disappointment. Not only do they give you little indication of how a game is going to play, they typically promise a level of freedom and spectacle that the final product never lives up to.

From the complete farce that was the Madden NFL 06 trailer for Xbox 360, to the infamous Killzone 2 trailer from 2005, games have long been selling us snake oil on the stage of E3.

This year's E3, however, saw considerably less reliance on teaser tactics than in years past. While we still had to suffer through a Metroid Prime 4 title card and an empty announcement of a core Pokemon title coming to Nintendo Switch, the rest of the show leaned a lot harder into letting the games speak for themselves. Let's take a look at how the numbers broke down:

How do we define 'gameplay'?

For our analysis, we took 'gameplay' to mean footage of a game taken from the player's perspective, with the action representative of what players will experience when they get their hands on the game for themselves. UI elements may be turned off, so long as it's clear the footage reflects controllable gameplay.

This increase was due in part to there being twice as many ports and alternate versions of games on show at E3 2017 compared to E3 2016 (up from 13 to 26). Since titles like Rocket League for Switch, Player Unknown's Battlegrounds for Xbox One, and Skyrim VR for PSVR already exist in other forms on other systems, showing them off in action is far simpler than for wholly new games.

Even if we remove ports and VR-versions of games from the equation, we end up with 81 titles showing off gameplay at E3 2017 and 58 titles showing off gameplay at E3 2016. That's still 39.66% more gameplay on display this year than last year. More than the return of Samus or the revival of Beyond Good and Evil 2, it's this renewed emphasis on gameplay that saved E3 2017 from going down as one of the weaker years on record.

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