40% drop in new IP from major publishers at E3 2016 keynotes

Chris Stead 22 June 2016


Despite the positive buzz stemming from the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the data shows an alarming decline in original ideas.

It’s hard to catch your breath at E3, such is the flood of announcements pouring out of major publishers and indie developers during the week-long conference in Los Angeles. However, now that the tide has subsided and we’ve all had a chance to dry off, some intriguing data has begun emerging that shows the stark reality of what kinds of games were actually on show. And the reading isn’t good if you’re a fan of original ideas and new kinds of game experiences.


E3 did prove that there are lots of fantastic looking experiences coming our way, with the keynotes from the major players very solid and generally positive feedback coming out of attendees. We’re at – traditionally at least – the halfway point for the console generation, and with virtual reality arriving on the landscape, PC gaming building again and the continued rise of the mobile scene, the industry looks healthy. But if you thought the absence of stalwart annual franchises like Need for Speed and Assassin’s Creed was a sign publishers were keen to experiment with new IP instead, you’d be wrong.

A large data dump (with a neat infographic) comparing E3 2016 to E3 2015 has shown that there was a 40% decline in the amount of new IP showcased by the major publishers – Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Bethesda, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft – at their traditional pre-show keynote conferences. Here is a closer look at the analysis.

List of new IP showcased at E3 2016 press conferences

  • Sea of Thieves (Microsoft)
  • Recore (Microsoft)
  • We Happy Few   (Microsoft)
  • Ever Oasis (Nintendo)
  • Fe (EA)
  • The Last Guardian (Sony)
  • Detroit: Become Human (Sony)
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn (Sony)
  • Death Stranding (Sony)
  • Days Gone (Sony)
  • Farpoint (Sony)
  • For Honor (Ubisoft)
  • Steep (Ubisoft)

List of new IP showcased at E3 2015 press conferences

  • Battlecry (Bethesda)
  • Unravel (EA)
  • ReCore (Microsoft)
  • Sea of Thieves (Microsoft)
  • Gigantic (Microsoft)
  • Tacoma (Microsoft)
  • Ion (Microsoft)
  • Ashen (Microsoft)
  • Cuphead (Microsoft)
  • Beyond Eyes (Microsoft)
  • The Last Guardian (Sony)
  • No Man's Sky (Sony)
  • Dreams (Sony)
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn (Sony)
  • Firewatch (Sony)
  • Ronin (Sony)
  • Crossing Souls (Sony)
  • Mother Russia Bleeds (Sony)
  • Eitr (Sony)
  • The Division (Ubisoft)
  • For Honor (Ubisoft)

As much as the gaming community rallies around the big brands it has come to love, it’s in the development of new IP that gaming as an artistic endeavour has the most room to grow and capture new audiences. With no boundaries, creativity can flourish. When you take into consideration that not only was there a 40% drop in new IP deemed worthy enough for the main stage, but of those showcased, 50% were also shown at E3 2015, the data becomes even more troubling.


In fact, seen from this perspective, you could argue that only 30% of the games showcased at E3 2016’s keynotes were actually genuinely new “what the hell am I witnessing?” moments for gamers.


Is a 40% reduction acceptable? Should we be demanding better? Obviously, the minor publishers, indie developers and even the majors themselves showcased plenty more on the E3 show floor for those who were able to attend to see, but it would be nice to see more focus put into giving new IP the full, worldwide, show-stopping reveal on the keynote stage in 2017. Maybe we could push that figure up to 50% or more, and give the upcoming PlayStation Neo, Microsoft Scorpio and Nintendo Switch consoles (all working titles at this stage) something other than just hardware to get excited about.

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