Media Monitor – Q1 2015 review

In an attempt to go further with the media monitor analysis, I will change the rhythm to a quarterly review schedule, in addition to Special Editions whenever a major event has occurred like the latest GDC one. Now, because I haven’t done an analysis for December 2014, you will get a 4 months special Quarterly review.

December 2014


12_Platforms - Number of Articles - DECember 2014


We talked about it extensively, in December, Sony played a master move with the Playstation Experience.

This is very apparent in the month data, with the Playstation brand getting more than 80% more mentions than the Xbox one. It pushed December above June as the best month for media awareness for Sony, despite the incredible coverage that E3 is getting.


12_Games - Total Reach - DECEMBER 2014

Grand Theft Auto lead the charge, fresh off a November release on the PS4 and Xbox One, and the upcoming PC version in early 2015.

It is interesting and unusual to see The Crew, a game with a lower profile than many of the others in the above ranking. The early December release may have helped, it is the only listed game that released that month.

Finally, last note on my part, is the excellent performance of Hearthstone. The Goblins vs. Gnomes set was the first significant beat that month, followed by the release of the Android version, that also received extensive coverage (about 280 articles just on this).

January 2015



01_Platforms - Number of Articles - January 2015

January is usually a quiet month announcement-wise. The most significant growth in media mentions for a platform is Windows 10. It shows Microsoft ramped up its effort with the new year, mostly it’s coverage on the preview event from January 21st.

Interestingly, Oculus had a stronger-than-usual media presence thanks to Microsoft too. The Hololens announcement generated a lot of articles mentioning the Oculus device as a comparison and/or reference to the Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality arms race.



01_Games - Total Reach - january 2015


Dying Light was released end of January, getting the new release spotlight for itself. Similarly to the previous month though, most of the most mentioned games are actually not out during that month, January being relatively quiet releases-wise.

It is interesting also that it is probably the month that has the widest “spread” of news. From our usual top 15 games, we rarely see games with fewer than 2,000 mentions in the month. For example, League of Legends’ 1,751 articles is actually a pretty regular performance for the game (even if it was a good month with a few nice news items, including the release of music tracks related to the game), and not something particularly exceptional.

February 2015


02_Platforms - Number of Articles - february 2015

February saw similar numbers to January. Windows 10 dropped off, but not dramatically, entering an ongoing phase of promotion from Microsoft.


02_Games - Total Reach - february 2015

The Order: 1886, released that month, topped the ranks. It is very hard to measure how much the controversy around the lifespan of the game helped those numbers. In the past, when looking at controversies, it seemed they didn’t add that much volume though.

Dying Light being released at the end of the previous month pushed it further into February’s media presence.

And while Battlefield Hardline’s strong performance was a ramp up towards its March release, it is also notable that Mortal Kombat X picked up up nicely while its release wouldn’t be until mid-April.

March 2015


03_Platforms - Number of Articles - march 2015

March was GDC. So a lot of the extra media coverage came from the news around the event and I would encourage you to read the article written on this.

Android’s strong presence is coming from the MWC in Barcelona, with its numerous Android-related announcements. The nVidia New Shield micro console reveal at GDC also helped a little bit.

Microsoft was also quite aggressive with its Windows 10 announcements during GDC, supporting its strong media presence.


03_Games - Total Reach - march 2015

March saw a similar trend as in February, but with Bloodborne taking the top spot. The game’s excellent critical reception explains the sudden burst of media coverage, beating Battlefield Hardline despite being a new brand.

The Witcher 3 edges closer to release and re-appreared in the top 15, roughly at the same level as in January.

Hearthstone, as in December, had its upcoming expansion to thank for entering the top ranks.


Upcoming content

As I move towards quarterly reviews, I will try to use the free time to get more case studies and carry out analysis of specific events. On my list at the moment, the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided announcement and Goat Simulator. Let me know if you have specific games whose media presence you would like me to break down.


Methodology reminder: For more details on the methodology and the way the tool we are using is working, check the dedicated blog post.

PR for F2P Games – presentation from GDC15

Following up on Thomas R. post this week on PR for indies, I wanted to share the presentation I gave this year at GDC during the Free-to-Play Summit. The lectured was framed as PR for F2P games in Europe, but at the end, it was more a “PR for F2P games” in general, with a side of European specific comments in it.

As always, the slides would be better in context of the talk, but there are probably informations that are relevant without the context. Once the video is up on the GDC Vault, I will probably notify it here.

Last disclaimer before the slides: I was very much a sock puppet during that lecture. The day-to-day PR work is very much done by my team, so I ended up repeating a lot of what they told me… That’s not me covering my ass, that’s me telling you all that they are the clever knowledgeable bunch, not me.


UPDATE: Now with video – Everyone Can Do PR. CEGC Presentation on Indie Games PR

On this blog we mostly talk about topics from the video consulting part of ICO Partners, but we also have a excellent Public Relations team working on a wide range of clients and titles (from big players like SMITE or Endless Legend to indie titles like Evoland and Road Not Taken).

Read more

Media Monitor – GDC 2015 results

Coming back fresh from GDC, I thought I would do a rapid follow-up using the Media Monitor and see how well the event performed with regards to the prevalent topics in media coverage. And when I say fresh, I mean seriously jet lagged, but that’s beside the point.

GDC and other events

The GDC tracker was set in July last year, so I don’t really have any previous data I can compare properly. Next year will certainly be different, but for now I have compared GDC to gamescom and the Playstation Experience (especially as I already had some research ready from this post on Playstation Experience).

In many ways, it is not really fair as GDC is not as  media and announcement-focused as the other two, who are specifically built around getting the word about games to their audience. It does give some sense of the respective media these events get though.

Total # of articles - Event's top 3 days

Number of articles published in online media

So, strictly in terms of media coverage, GDC in the same range as the Playstation Experience event, and with about 40% of the coverage gamescom generates over its peak 3 days.


GDC week - # of articles - Platforms

As we have seen in past media coverage analysis, PlayStation is keeping its lead on Xbox, but that is actually smaller than the average observed over the course of last year (about 36% more articles for Playstation on average over the last year, against 31% more articles during the week of the GDC). Microsoft made more game-related announcements while the Virtual Reality HMD for Playstation helped in keeping Sony in the news.

Android’s strong presence in the media is due to the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, where a number of mobile manufacturers announce their new devices.

Virtual Reality

One of the most discussed announcements during GDC was, interestingly, *not* made at GDC. Instead it was at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress where on the 1st of March, HTC announced its VR HMD in partnership with Valve.

# of articles - Virtual Reality - GDC 2015


Clearly, the HTC/Valve announcement has been the most talked about VR news for the week. It is also incredibly impressive that both Morpheus and Oculus managed to keep such a high media presence with announcements were not as strong. Both were frequently mentioned in relation to the HTC Vive though, often compared to it or just referenced as much more established brand associated to VR.


Game Engines

The other very hot topic during the GDC week was the numerous announcements related to the off-the-shelf game engine offerings. With Valve now joining the fray with their Source 2 engine.

Before getting into the numbers, I want to share a tweet from Unity’s David Helgason (and which made me take a mental note to look at the media mentions of engines as soon as I got back):

# of articles - Game Engines - GDC 2015

To be fair, there are many ways to measure victory, and Unity’s booth was very crowded all week long. I am not suggesting that Unity has had a bad GDC by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I think Unreal is showing its longer experience in handling media and announcements, as well as the fact that it is a much more established brand for engine.

I wanted to check with another metric and pulled the Google trends for Unreal and Unity that cover that period:

Unity being a common word, I suspect it explains a lot of the ongoing search results associated with the game engine. But the much bigger bump seen in searches for Unreal Engine over that period (10 times more searches) in comparison to the Unity bump (25%) seems to indicate that at least that one battle was won by Unreal.

PR Monitor – 2014 in review [updated]

While I missed the traditional January window to do a “Year in Review” – I thought I should do one as the information should still have value. As usual, I encourage you to check the previous blog post explaining how the monitoring tool works. This time though, I have a couple of things to further add. First, there was a lot that has been added to the tool in February last year. Most AAA games and key platforms were already properly tracked (and had been for a few months prior) so I don’t think it should massively impact what I am going to share today.

[Update] Why the hell are the Nintendo consoles missing? Short version: I didn’t track Nintendo consoles properly until after a few months in 2014. It didn’t seem fair to compare incomplete data.  Read more

How Sony Stole Christmas – PlayStation Experience Won December’s Gaming Media

With two major events debuting this month, December was exciting, and busy, period for gaming media. These two events were Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards 2014 on the 5 December and the PlayStation Experience in Las Vegas to celebrate the 20th birthday of Sony’s console from 6-7 December.

The Game Awards seemed to have worked out pretty well in terms of viewers. However, just one day later the PlayStation Experience came along, producing an impressive amount of new announcements and earning praise in the gaming media from the likes of Polygon or Alist. The question is: How did the numbers for the PlayStation Experience add up?

Fortunately, ICO Partners has specialised in tracking the European gaming media landscape with several in-house developed tools (for more details how the tools works click here). This way we could take a closer look on how the PlayStation Experience was picked up by European media.


Graph 1: PlayStation Experience VS gamescom VS Blizzcon

To find an answer to our question we compared the number of published articles by European media for the PlayStation event with two other similar events: Europe’s biggest gaming show gamescom and Blizzard’s Blizzcon. Because the events took place at different times of the year and with different schedules, we decided to only track media coverage for the first three days after the event starter in order to make the data more comparable.


While gamescom clearly towers above the other events in coverage, it is interesting to note that PlayStation Experience only talked about a single platform in direct comparison to the varied line-up of developers and manufacturers of gamescom. The PlayStation event also clearly outperformed Blizzcon in terms of number of articles published. Not only that, the PlayStation event coverage was also generated on a weekend.

In numbers our tool tracked 15.720 published articles across all three events over their first three days, with gamescom accounting to 65% of the coverage (10.233 articles), while PlayStation Experience is responsible for 25% (3.862 articles) and Blizzcon for 10% (1.625 articles).


Graph 2: PlayStation Experience on a Country Level


Zooming in and taking a look at the data on country level over the three days and just comparing gamescom and the PlayStation Experience, gamescom generated 213 articles in the UK and PlayStation Experience respectable 138. That’s about 65% of gamescom’s coverage in the country for a single platform event.

French media also keenly reported on the announcements, with 217 articles for gamescom and 109 for the PlayStation Experience. Meaning, when the two are compared, that Sony’s single event garnered 50% of gamescom’s entire coverage in the country.

In Germany, where gamescom took place, the coverage for the event was stronger with 361 articles, but the PlayStation event numbers were still comparable to other territories with 133 published articles, totalling 42% of gamescom’s coverage.


Graph 3: PlayStation Experience Weekend vs Regular Weekends

Another factor we mentioned previously is that the PlayStation Experience took place on a weekend, where the average number of published articles is, traditionally, significantly lower compared to regular week days.

To highlight what happened on the PlayStation Experience weekend we randomly picked 5 major gaming sites across Europe, specifically Kotaku (UK), Eurogamer (UK), Gamer (NL), Gamekult (FR) and Gameblog (FR) and looked into them in more detail.

We tracked the number of published articles from the 12 November to the 12 December to see how the PlayStation Experience weekend held up compared to regular weekdays and weekends. Please note the numbers for the PlayStation Experience weekend may include overlaps from the Game Awards as they took place just one day before the PlayStation event and the data from 5 sites is of course not representative of a whole region. Still, the graph below should give an idea what the PlayStation Experience weekend looked like compared to a regular weekend.


As you can see in the charts above, the number of articles published on the PlayStation Experience weekend (marked in orange) is drastically higher than on regular weekends. Whereas an average weekend in the tracked period (excluding the PlayStation Event weekend) spawned 55 articles across our 5 sample sites, the PlayStation Experience weekend saw 254 articles. This means in comparison to an average weekend the number of published articles was almost 5 times as much due to the PlayStation event. The Saturday especially saw strong coverage by media, resulting in it even being the single strongest day of the whole tracked period in terms of published articles on 4 of the 5 sites, with Kotaku the exception.



Although Sony attended this year’s E3 and gamescom with a host of announcements and received strong media attention, it managed to pull off yet another event of similar impact seemingly out of nowhere. Obviously, that’s impressive from a lineup perspective but the real coup here is the gain in brand value: A massive mindshare grab for the PlayStation brand for a whole weekend and all that without sharing the stage with any of it’s competitors at one of the traditional big events on the calendar.

With refreshed enthusiasm for it’s consoles just before Christmas, surprisingly big announcements and equally large media coverage it could be argued the PlayStation Experience was a better operation than any other gaming event this year. Proving Sony truly knows how to throw a birthday party for itself and its fans.

PR Monitoring – October and November 2014

I just came back from Korea (and the very well attended Gstar in Busan) so I’m trying to catch up on the monthly check on media mentions of video games. Let’s have a look at October and November. You can find more about the monitoring tool in the previous blog post. Read more

PR Monitoring – September (and August) 2014

Going back to the monthly check on media mentions of video games, let’s have a look at both August (I neglected last time to check on specifically the impact of gamescom) and September. You can find more about the monitoring tool in the previous blog post. Read more

PR Monitoring – July 2014

With gamescom  behind us I now have some time again to look into the media trends in the games industry. I will do a writeup on the effect of gamescom itself, the way I did one for E3, but in the meantime here is the data for the month of July.


Overall, we can see a drop in console mentions as June was benefiting from the extra media attention E3 brings. The same trends remain though, with the PS4 getting about 30% more coverage than the Xbox One. We can notice the effect of the Google I/O effect, taking it well above of iOS for the first time since I started tracking them.

Read more

PR Monitoring – Q2 2014

Considering I was late on providing a report on April and May, I have decided to take on three months in one go,as well as  a Q2 overview for 2014.

I’ve decided to do away with the usual disclaimer and rather direct people to read this post dedicated to how the tool works, its capabilities and its limitations.

April 2014


April was the ramp up month for Watch_Dogs and the follow-up for Titanfall. Elder Scrolls Online also had a very strong performance as a follow-up to launch.


May 2014


Watch_Dogs was, predictably, THE launch of the month of May. You can also see the effects of the Wolfenstein release, Mario Kart 8 and the first preview for CoD:AW.


The gap between Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 widened as the month went on. The Wii/Wii U is benefiting significantly from Mario Kart 8.

June 2014


The month of E3 – you can see the impact the event had with four of the top five games getting massive attention during the event. The overall number of articles was also significantly higher than what we saw in the previous months.


In a similar way, the extra focus that E3 brings was a majot benefit to consoles. An interesting point to note is the Playstation 4 alone received more mentions than the whole of the Xbox brand for the first time.

Q2 2014 numbers

I thought I would provide some overall comparison for the past 3 months, looking at all the games that made it into our top 15. It helps illustrate which titles are consistently getting a lot of attention against other top tier titles. Because of the way we track data, I decided to remove some games that had false positive in some of those months (Pokemon was one of them)…



Whenever I look at the data, I find the concentration of articles on so few titles surprising. That a single title gets more than twice the amount of coverage than any other games and three times more than every game outwith the top 5 is an interesting look into what the media is focusing on.