The Game Developers Conference 2017 (GDC) is currently being held in Moscone Center, San Francisco. The conference sees developers and publishers from the world over coming to learn, to teach and to discuss game development.
As part of the event, the GDC team publishes a State of the Game Industry report. As the name suggests, the report paints a picture of the $100 billion gaming industry.
Here are the highlights from the report:
Platform of choice
As you can see from the graph below, the platform of choice for most game developers still appears to be the PC with 53 percent of developers currently developing games for the platform. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, take second place at 38 percent.
The Xbox and PlayStation have only managed to grab 22 percent and 27 percent of developer attention. VR games have also managed around 24 percent, while surprisingly, browser based games have 13 percent of developer attention. Apple’s tvOS platform sees only a 4 percent interest.
The GDC report says that this split is roughly the same as it was last year.
Another interesting highlight is that slightly more developers are focussing on Android games than on iOS. The figures for both stand at 54 percent and 51 percent respectively.
Regarding the PS4 Pro and the upcoming Xbox Scorpio, developers don’t seem to be too concerned, though the report does suggest that those that do care are more positive about it.
The brand new Nintendo Switch also has developers excited, though they seem unsure if the Switch’s ability to switch between a docked TV mode and portable mode will be a selling point for the platform.
State of VR
Virtual Reality (VR) still doesn’t appear to be as big a deal as it’s being hyped up to be. The majority of developers aren’t working on VR-related games, but those that are, have a slight preference for the HTC Vive over the Oculus Rift. The two VR headsets currently account for 24 percent and 23 percent of developer attention respectively. The PlayStation VR headset accounts for 13 percent of developer attention.
When asked which VR platform developers ware developing their next game for, 33 percent said it was the Vive. The Rift remained at 24 percent. Developer interest for the Vive is also much higher, topping off at 45 percent. The Rift remains at 30 percent, with the PSVR a close third at 29 percent.
On further investigation, the report did find that developers see VR/AR as the future and worth investing in. It must be added that a lot of the developers themselves “get sick or unsettled in VR.”
Promotion and funding
Surprisingly, the report indicates that interest in crowdfunding for games is waning. Most games are still self-funded and barely 23 percent of developers are working with publishers.
On the promotion front, digital storefronts (Steam, Play Store, etc.) are the most popular and Twitch is the least popular option.
eSports: Where is it headed?
Developer interest in eSports appears to be very high, with 90 percent looking towards it as a “sustainable business. One of the developers was quoted as saying, “We can see that for many years the interest in eSports is growing. And with more acceptance for video games in social, it could probably go as well as football someday.”
4,500 game developers were polled over three years to provide information for the report. Detailed information can be found here.