GDC Europe State of the Industry: PC and mobile reign, crowdfunding heats up

Industry watchers, take note: the organizers of the Game Developers Conference Europe have released the results of the second annual European State of the Industry Survey, which reveals trends around regional development hubs, tax incentives and platform preferences, in advance of the August conference.
The 2014 European State of the Industry Survey serves as the second in a series of yearly reports that offer insight into the evolution of the local video game industry prior to the start of GDC Europe 2014 in Cologne.

Organized by UBM Tech Game Network, GDC Europe 2014 — now in its sixth year — will run Monday through Wednesday, August 11-13 at the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany, co-located with Europe’s biggest video game trade and public show gamescom.
European developers continue to flock to PC and mobile
Top platforms for game development among those surveyed were once again PC and mobile. A full 58 percent of respondents are working on PC titles, and 60 percent expect their next game to be released on PC. In turn, 65 percent of those surveyed were currently working on mobile titles, with 64 percent planning to release their next title on mobile devices.
These percentages are higher than those pulled from respondents to the same question on this year’s GDC State of the Industry survey, which polls developers from across the North American game industry, suggesting that European developers give greater attention to PC and mobile platforms.
PlayStation 4 leads for the second year in a row as new consoles gain developer buzz
PlayStation 4 retains the lead as the most active of the two new console platforms, with 18 percent of survey respondents currently working on games for PS4, compared to 13 percent on the competing Xbox One platform. Projecting into the future, 33 percent of developers polled expect their next game to be developed on PlayStation 4, versus 23 percent for Xbox One.
Crowdfunding is gaining traction in Europe
While less than 10 percent of European developers use crowdfunding for their current project, a startling 41 percent of all respondents plan to use it for their future projects, showing the remarkable growth of crowdfunding as an important source of funding for game development — even in Europe, where legislation often makes it trickier to crowdfund. For comparison’s sake, roughly 11 percent of this year’s North American GDC State of the Industry survey respondents said they accepted crowdfunding for their current project, up from 4 percent in 2013.
Sweden comes out on top as premier European development hub
The 2014 survey saw professionals pick Sweden — home of Minecraft, the Battlefield franchise and Goat Simulator — as the current premier game development hub in Europe. The survey also shows the UK and Germany are expected to overtake Sweden as the region’s top hub in five years time.
Tax Incentives Best in the UK
47 percent of respondents felt that the UK offers the best tax breaks for local game development, with Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands tied for a distant second, with 9.5 percent of the votes each. Despite this, the UK is still seen — according to comments from many respondents — as inferior to Canada in regards to tax incentive programs, with Canada seen as a model for drawing talent both domestically and from abroad.
The GDC Europe developer survey tabulates the responses and observations of more than 400 European games industry professionals who are readers of, have attended previous GDC events, or will be attending GDC Europe 2014. We’ll have more information about the data and what it reveals about the state of the European game industry in the days ahead.
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