When you think about 2018’s most popular video games, you probably think of Fortnite. It’s true the game earned more digital revenue than any other game last year, and that the battle royale genre exploded in popularity as a whole. But 2018 boasted several other video game hits, as well, many of which received pre-launch hype thanks to the release of their video game trailers.
That got us thinking — what were the biggest trailers of last year? What can they tell us about the viewing habits of gamers around the world before the launch of an anticipated title, and what can gaming brands learn from these video strategies? In this article, we dive into the data surrounding video game trailers, teasers, and announcements released by brands in 2018. Before we take a look at specific trailers, here’s a quick overview of their overall performance:
2018 Video Game Trailers By the Numbers
- Brands uploaded 19.8K video game trailers in 2018 across 1800+ accounts.
- As a whole, these video game trailers generated an astounding 2.4B total views on YouTube last year, with an additional 578M views on Facebook, 66.2M on Twitter, and 38.8M on Instagram.
- Five of the top 10 most-watched video game trailers were for mobile games, with two of these trailers uploaded by PUBG Mobile.
- The top 20 most-watched trailers from 2018 were all hosted on YouTube.
- Video game trailers on YouTube earned a weighted average 30-day engagement rate (ER30) of 3x, or triple the normal engagement rate on that platform.
- The trailer with the highest ER30 was actually a GIF from the original Halo 3 trailer, celebrating the game’s ten-year anniversary; the clip, uploaded to the official Halo page on Facebook, earned a 10x+ ER30!
1. MARVEL Strike Force
Released in March 2018, the official MARVEL Strike Force trailer was created as a TV spot, but was also uploaded to YouTube where it pulled in a total of 68.4M views to become the most-watched of all video game trailers of 2018. This combined release strategy across both linear and digital undoubtedly help drive a lot more views than the trailer may have received if it was only uploaded to YouTube.
This adorably-titled game by TabTale had a hugely successful trailer last year with 38.9M total views since its upload in April. Based on a French animated series of a similar name, this mobile game was released in conjunction with the show’s season two debut in the U.S. on Netflix. So, in a very similar way to MARVEL Strike Force, Miraculous Ladybug & Cat Noir tapped into the power of television viewing along with the release of its trailer to help generate more interest in the game. This is a great lesson for media and entertainment companies and gaming brands alike: teaming up to create a larger marketing push around a title could very well result in more attention across the board.
3. Fallout 76
Hailing from the popular Bethesda Softworks game series, Fallout 76 experienced a rough launch, with mostly negative reviews pouring in from gamers and critics related to the game’s stability, in-game experiences, and even real-life merchandise. Despite these problems, Fallout 76 boasted the third most-watched trailer in 2018 with 34.3 million views since June, as well as the highest average 30-day view count (V30) of all 2018 trailers at 29.6M. Obviously, these views did not guarantee a positive reception, but they did prove the massive anticipation Fallout fans had for the newest title in the franchise.
4. Red Dead Redemption 2
Speaking of anticipation, gamers around the world waited for years for Red Dead Redemption 2 to arrive. The game is a follow-up to the much-beloved title released in 2010, and the excitement around the sequel was tangible: its third official trailer from May 2018 pulled in 28.7M views over the course of the year and claimed the highest average 7-day view count (V7) of all other trailers at 23.9M. Red Dead 2 delivered on the promises of developer Rockstar Games and consequently became the top-selling game of 2018!
To round out the top five video game trailers of 2018, we have the second official trailer for the mobile game My Talking Tom 2. Interestingly enough, this was the only foreign language trailer to land in the top ten from last year, having been uploaded in Portuguese on the Talking Tom and Friends Brazil YouTube channel. Even though the trailer was late to the game with an upload date of November 2018, it scored 22M views by the end of December to become the fifth most-watched trailer of the year!