Switch Pro or not, Nintendo still had the most people watching its E3 2021 presentation. Nintendo amassed 3.1 million peak viewers for its nearly 40 minute presentation, according to yesterday’s tweet from Stream Hatchet, a data analytics firm specializing in video game streaming.
Despite being one of the shorter showcases, Nintendo smashed the competition, gaining 800,000 peak viewers over the joint Xbox/Bethesda conference, which was the next highest watched presentation, clocking a modest 2.3 million viewers. Showing off highly anticipated titles like Breath of the Wild 2 and the first 2D Metroid in two decades likely contributed to Nintendo’s success.
And though Nintendo’s viewership numbers were high, they could have been higher had the company not killed much of the hype in a last-minute decision. Mere hours before its presentation, Nintendo tweeted that it was prohibiting co-streams of its presentation on Twitch. In response and seemingly in solidarity with streamers, Twitch said it would not host the stream on its Twitch Gaming channel. Despite losing the eyes a channel like Twitch Gaming could earn, Nintendo was still able to garner the highest peak viewership of the event.
Nintendo also tried to keep expectations more realistic saying it would focus only on software (read no Switch Pro) and mainly 2021 releases. But the rumors of an improved Switch on the horizon (which did not materialize), a leak of a new Mario + Rabbids game, and the general anticipation for titles already in the works, seemingly proved too enticing.
Still, winning all those eyeballs didn’t translate into accolades for Nintendo. The ESA, E3’s parent company, instead awarded Best Presentation of E3 2021 to the Microsoft/Bethesda conference and named the Overall Most Anticipated Game Xbox’s ludicrously pretty Forza 5 Horizons.
This was a weird E3. Sony and EA, one time massive E3 presences, skipped the event entirely, choosing instead to host independent events later in the year. The gaming industry is also still reeling from the effects of the global pandemic. Flagship games like Halo Infinite, are delayed as companies still try to manage covid-19’s disruption.
Sadly, no word yet on Bayonetta 3.